Get More Smarter on Wednesday (Jan. 19)

You’re gonna need a coat today. 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 

 

 

As The New York Times reports, the U.S. Senate is debating a voting rights bill that might be DOA:

Democrats are pushing forward with what appears to be a futile bid to enact voting rights protections over Republican opposition, planning a vote Wednesday evening on legislation that they say is urgently needed to counter widespread balloting suppression efforts as they move toward a showdown over the Senate filibuster rules that the G.O.P. has repeatedly used to block it.

Senators will spend the day debating the bill, which the House approved last week, and arguing over the very nature of their institution as they clash over the rights of the minority to thwart legislation, and whether the filibuster — a storied Senate tool for asserting them — needs to be weakened.

Though they brought up the legislation on Tuesday using a procedural shortcut that avoided an initial Republican blockade, Democrats were far short of the votes needed to win its passage over unified G.O.P. opposition, and lacked the votes needed in their own party to change Senate rules and enact it unilaterally.

Still, they announced that they would mount a long-shot effort to establish an exception to the filibuster for voting rights bills, requiring opponents to hold the floor for an old-style “talking filibuster” that would allow a final, 51-senator majority vote — instead of the 60 now needed — to move forward after all senators had exhausted their opportunities to speak.

If Democrats can’t get Republicans to do the right thing on voting rights, it appears that the backup plan is to at least force them to go on record with their opposition.

In related news, the progressive political group Emily’s List announced that it will no longer support Arizona Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, on account of the fact that Sinema is not really a progressive lawmaker anymore.

 

As Charles Ashby reports for The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters could soon have a lot of extra time on her hands:

About the same time the Mesa County commissioners were voting to remove Clerk Tina Peters permanently as the top election official on Tuesday, the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office filed a new lawsuit seeking to do the same thing.

Similar to its lawsuit against Peters last year that led to her being temporarily removed as the county’s designated election official for the 2021 Coordinated Election, this new lawsuit details things Peters has done and said in an effort to show she isn’t trustworthy to oversee elections.

Peters is facing numerous investigations into possible criminal misconduct and wire fraud, including a local grand jury probe into allegations she and at least four others engaged in tampering with election equipment and official misconduct.

Click here to read more about Peters and her escalating problems.

 

Colorado Republicans in the state legislature seem determined to prove to voters that they are completely unserious. This headline from The Denver Post speaks volumes:

Via The Denver Post (1/19/22)

 

Colorado will provide free KN95 surgical masks thanks in part to a federal government subsidy. Denver7 has more on where you can get your masks.

 

State Sen. Brittany Pettersen (D-Lakewood) has confirmed her status as the frontrunner in CO-07, as Ernest Luning reports for the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman:

Democratic congressional candidate Brittany Pettersen amassed more than $200,000 in the first five days of her bid for the Colorado seat held by retiring U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter, her campaign said.

The Lakewood state senator had received nearly 500 donations through Sunday since announcing her candidacy a week ago, her campaign said, bringing in $157,325 on top of the $44,773 she had left over from a previous run for the same office.

“We did it!” Pettersen said, announcing the total in an email to supporters. “Our campaign has $202,099 in the bank, and we did it in just 5 days!”

Last week Pettersen also announced a slate of 72 endorsements in a 72-hour period, including high-profile Democrats such as House Speaker Alec Garnett.

 

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Get More Smarter on Friday (Jan. 14)

If you have a few spare billion dollars in your couch cushions, you should consider buying the Denver Broncos. 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 

 

 

 Governor Jared Polis delivered the annual “State of the State” speech on Thursday. Here’s coverage from Colorado Public Radio, The Denver Post, Denver7, and The Colorado Sun, among others.

 

Congressional Democrats are hoping to add paid leave and increased sfunding for COVID-19 prevention and treatment to a new long-term spending package.

 

As CNN reports, it’s looking more and more like Russia will invade Ukraine in the coming weeks:

A senior US official warned Thursday that the “drumbeat of war is sounding loud” following a week’s worth of diplomacy between the West and Russia that wrapped up Thursday.

The effort ended without clear breakthroughs over the tens of thousands of Russian troops amassed on the Ukrainian border, leaving prospects for future diplomacy and de-escalation in doubt as Russian officials suggested they could soon turn to military options.

Both US and Russian officials sounded a pessimistic note over the talks following Thursday’s meeting in Vienna at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). It was the third session that capped a week of intensive meetings that the United States and its NATO allies hoped could spur Russia to pursue a path of “de-escalation and diplomacy” rather than mobilizing the tens of thousands of Russian troops whose presence has swelled along Ukraine’s borders.

But Russian officials reacted with frustration and impatience coming out of the meetings, suggesting they were poised to abandon discussions over the US and NATO’s refusal to entertain Moscow’s key demands: A guarantee that Ukraine will never be permitted to join NATO and that the alliance roll back its expansion in Eastern Europe. The US and its NATO allies have repeatedly said such proposals from Moscow are non-starters.

As The Washington Post reports, Russia is working on creating a reason for their own invasion: 

The Russian government has sent operatives into eastern Ukraine in preparation for potential sabotage operations that would serve as a pretext for invasion, the Biden administration said on Friday.

“We have information that indicates Russia has already prepositioned a group of operatives to conduct a false-flag operation in eastern Ukraine,” a U.S. official, who spoke on condition of anonymity under ground rules established by the Biden administration, said in an email. “The operatives are trained in urban warfare and in using explosives to carry out acts of sabotage against Russia’s own proxy-forces.”

Also on Friday, Ukraine government websites were hit by a cyberattack that sure looks like it came from Russia.

 

Democrats in Colorado’s Congressional Delegation are asking the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate local police efforts after a man with a history of noted trouble went on a shooting spree in Denver and Lakewood last month. The letter from Reps. Diana DeGette, Joe Neguse, Jason Crow, and Ed Perlmutter is aimed at trying to make sure that there were no information-sharing gaps between police agencies that might have helped prevent the tragedy. 

 

Republican State Rep. Mark Baisley has had an, um, interesting week. First he proposed wrapping voting machines in tin foil to discourage people from putting them in the microwave, or something, and then he took to the podium at a GOP press conference to inarticulately explain his upcoming legislation to ignore scientific evidence and declare that natural immunity from COVID-19 is just as good as getting vaccinated. 

 

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Get More Smarter on Thursday (Jan. 13)

Governor Jared Polis delivers his “State of the State” speech today. In Iowa, they call it the “Condition of the State.” See, you’re already 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 

 

 

The Denver Post updates on the first day of Colorado’s legislative session, which (as always) was mostly about the speechifying:

Colorado’s 2022 legislative session started Wednesday under the shadow of a still critical pandemic, and with party leaders primed to spend months debating how to apportion a historically flush state budget, and make the state safer and more affordable.

The parties identify many of the same pressing problems, but present largely opposing ideas to address them. For the fourth straight year, however, Democrats control both the state House and Senate, plus the governor’s office, so they can always claim final say if they want it.

It’s evident once again that the COVID-19 pandemic is one subject area with little common ground. The politicization of the pandemic was clear as Democrats in both chambers donned masks and all but a couple of Republicans did not. Health care workers administered rapid virus tests outside the Capitol, and guests — unlike lawmakers — were required to mask up indoors. However, partitions between lawmakers’ desks that were taken down at the end of last year’s session did not go back up.

“Health care and public health will continue to guide many of the decisions we make in this building,” House Speaker Alec Garnett of Denver said. “Despite our exhaustion and fatigue, COVID has not relented yet.”

As the Post points out, this will be the last legislative session for many familiar names who are term-limited in 2022, including House Speaker Alec Garnett, House Majority Leader Daneya Esgar, Senate President Leroy Garcia, and Senate Minority Leader Chris Holbert.

Elsewhere, 9News previews today’s “State of the State” speech from Gov. Jared Polis.

 

As The Washington Post reports, Arizona Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema once again confirmed that the United States Senate is dumb:

Democrats’ hopes of finally pushing through voting rights legislation after months of Republican opposition appeared to be fatally wounded Thursday after Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) announced she would not support changing Senate rules that have long allowed a minority of senators to block legislation.

Sinema’s position, outlined in a midday floor speech, echoed her previous public statements where she defended the filibuster, the Senate’s 60-vote supermajority rule, as a tool to facilitate bipartisan cooperation and guard against wild swings in federal policy.

But the circumstances in which she reiterated it — as Senate Democratic leaders prepared to launch a decisive floor debate and less than an hour before President Biden was scheduled to arrive on Capitol Hill to deliver a final, forceful appeal for action — put an exclamation point on her party’s long and fruitless effort to counter restrictive Republican-passed state voting laws.

“While I continue to support these bills, I will not support separate actions that worsen the underlying disease of division infecting our country,” Sinema said.

What, exactly, is Sinema’s suggestion instead? We’ll let you know when we hear it. But at least West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin approves!

 

Grocery workers at King Soopers stores in Colorado are on strike after failing to reach agreement on fixing what the employees call “unfair labor practices.” As Axios Denver reports, the picketing could go on for several weeks at minimum. 

 

The case of Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters and her efforts to tamper with voting equipment following the 2020 election is headed to a grand jury. And, as The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel’s Charles Ashby reports:

Peters rejected the state’s offer of a settlement agreement that would allow her access back into her own Elections Division, but only under strict supervision.

Peters said in a press release Wednesday that the “deal” the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office offered her wasn’t much of a deal, in part, because it called for her to repudiate some of her statements about election integrity.

 

Senator Michael Bennet (D-Denver) continues to raise big bucks in his bid for re-election. As Ernest Luning reports for the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman:

Bennet raked in more than $2.1 million in the final three months of 2021, surpassing the Colorado Democrat’s own record for an off-year quarterly haul and boosting his re-election war chest to more than $4.7 million, his campaign said Wednesday.

The sum brings Bennet’s fundraising total for the 2022 midterm cycle to roughly $8.7 million as the primary field of his potential Republican challengers is still taking shape.

Meanwhile, Republican candidate/aspiring motivational speaker Gino Campana reported about $950,000 in receipts for Q4 — $500,000 of which came from himself.

 

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Get More Smarter on Wednesday (January 12)

Sine Hi-ya? The traditional final legislative day is called “Sine Die,” but we don’t know what the equivalent term is for the first day of session. We’ll just go with this. 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 

 

 

LET’S GET READY TO STUMBLLLEEE…

The 2022 Colorado legislative session formally kicks off today. Colorado Republicans have been using their time this week mostly to kick themselves in the ass.

House Minority Leader Hugh McKean thought it would be a good idea to compare Democratic policies to actual rape as a guest on a right-wing talk show.

McKean’s rape comments after he and other Republicans tried really, really hard to pretend that Democratic priorities laid out on Monday were all just ideas that had been stolen from Republicans, or something. In other words, as soon as Republicans start voting against Democratic bills, they’re going to have to explain why they are opposing what they claim are their own ideas.

As for the policies expected to be tacked in the legislative session, here’s a good primer from Colorado Public Radio.

 

► President Joe Biden on Tuesday used a major speech to call for changes to the Senate filibuster rules in order to pass election reform legislation. From The Washington Post:

Biden threw his full support Tuesday behind changing the Senate filibuster to ease passage of voting rights bills, using a major speech in Atlanta to endorse an idea increasingly backed by Democrats and civil rights activists seeking momentum on what has been an intractable issue.

The remarks from Biden, who was a senator for 36 years, amounted to his strongest endorsement yet of changes he had resisted for most of his career. The president made clear that he, like many others in his party, now believes the filibuster is being abused to block legislation that is fundamental to democracy.

“The United States Senate, designed to be the world’s greatest deliberative body, has been rendered a shell of its former self,” Biden told hundreds of college students, civil rights activists and elected officials at the Atlanta University Center. “I believe that the threat to our democracy is so grave that we must find a way to pass these voting rights bills.”

Whether or not this new push to change the filibuster will succeed depends in part (again) on West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, who is not making very good arguments in opposition.

 

Grocery workers at King Soopers stores in Colorado are on strike after failing to reach agreement on fixing what the employees call “unfair labor practices.” Fortunately, you have plenty of other options for grocery shopping if you want to support the workers. The Denver Post has more details in a handy “need to know” story.

 

Democratic State Sen. Brittany Pettersen jumped into the now-open race in CO-07 on Tuesday. Pettersen is the early favorite to succeed retiring Rep. Ed Perlmutter.

 

 Former President Trump cut short an interview with National Public Radio after being asked to defend his “Big Lie” nonsense.

 

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Get More Smarter on Thursday (January 6)

One year ago today, something very bad happened and it’s still too soon to joke about it. Let’s Get More Smarter anyway. 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 

► President Joe Biden spoke this morning on the anniversary of the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol seeking to overturn his victory in the 2020 elections. Politico:

President Joe Biden on Thursday marked one year since his predecessor’s supporters besieged the Capitol with a pointed rebuke of the violence — and a declaration that Donald Trump bears “singular responsibility” for the attack.

“His bruised ego matters more to him than our democracy, our Constitution,” Biden said of the former president. Trump, he added, is “not just a former president. He’s a defeated former president, defeated by a margin of over seven million of your votes in a full and free and fair election.”

…Calling out Trump and his GOP allies marks a notable tonal shift for Biden. Since taking office, he’s largely held off on sharp barbs toward the foe he could face again in 2024. But Biden hewed to one of his post-election conventions on Thursday: He did not use Trump’s name while criticizing the former president.

Colorado Public Radio’s Caitlyn Kim spoke with Rep. Jason Crow, credited with bravery by his colleagues in the face of the chaos of that day, and other Democratic members of Congress (unsurprisingly, Republicans like Rep. Lauren Boebert weren’t available to talk):

Crow said that as the House was locked down, his brain went into “Ranger mode.”

“I wasn’t really allowing myself to kind of process or think about it,” he said. “I was just triaging the information and trying to figure out our way out, because at that moment, we were trapped and surrounded by a violent mob.”

A famous photo shows Crow holding the hand of a panicked looking Representative Susan Wild of Pennsylvania, comforting her as she lays back on the floor of the gallery.

On the floor below, Rep. Joe Neguse, who had been tapped to help lead the arguments for the Democrats that day, spent those chaotic minutes reaching out to his family.

For more on the anniversary of the January 6th insurection, Axios recaps the role of ex-CU professor John Eastman and local attorney Jenna Ellis in drafting plans to overturn the 2020 presidential elections on January 20th. Here’s the latest updates on Coloradans facing charges for their role in the violence at the U.S. Capitol courtesy Westword.

 

► President Biden is headed to Colorado tomorrow to meet with Gov. Jared Polis and see firsthand the devastation from the December 30th Marshall Fire, the most destructive in Colorado history in terms of homes destroyed. Denver Post:

Accompanying Gov. Jared Polis and Democratic U.S. Rep Joe Neguse, D-Lafayette, the president will survey the damage and discuss “urgently needed federal support,” according to a news release from Neguse’s office…

“We cannot expect our communities to bear the burden of this disaster on their own,” Neguse said in a statement Wednesday. “We must bring the full force of the federal government to bear as our communities work to rebuild and recover.”

Over $25 million has been raised to support fire victims despite crass attempts to politicize the relief efforts.

 

As the drama over the Build Back Better legislation continues in D.C., Sen. John Hickenlooper joined with a group of Democratic Senators insisting that climate change funds be preserved in the rewrite of the bill currently underway.

 

Meanwhile, the renewed push to get voting rights legislation through the Senate by any means necessary continues.

 

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The GMS Podcast: Quick Hits to End a Long Year

This week in episode 95 of the Get More Smarter Podcast — the final episode of 2021 — hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii dedicate an entire show to a bunch of “quick hits.” In other words, we talk about a lot of different subjects but spend a shorter amount of time on each topic.

Among those topics, we discuss the filibuster; Republican gubernatorial candidate Hiedi Heidi Ganahl; the Colorado Attorney General’s race; Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert; Rep. Doug Lamborn; calling the cops on the El Paso County Republican Party; former Sen. Cory Gardner; and the single most important “achievement” of the Trump Presidency.

Listen to previous episodes of The Get More Smarter Podcast at GetMoreSmarter.com.

Questions? Comments? Complaints? Let us have it at AngryRants@getmoresmarter.com.

Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher | TuneIn

Get More Smarter on Monday (Dec. 20)

It’s (still not) beginning to look like a white Christmas. 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 

 

The Associated Press reports on the big political news over the weekend: The big reveal from West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin that he would no longer entertain negotiations over the Build Back Better bill:

Manchin said Sunday he cannot back his party’s signature $2 trillion social and environment bill, dealing a potentially fatal blow to President Joe Biden’s leading domestic initiative heading into an election year when Democrats’ narrow hold on Congress was already in peril.

Manchin told “Fox News Sunday” that after five-and-half months of negotiations among Democrats in which he was his party’s chief obstacle to passage, “I cannot vote to continue with this piece of legislation. I just can’t. I’ve tried everything humanly possible. I can’t get there.”

Manchin’s choice of words seemed to crack the door open to continued talks with Biden and top congressional Democrats over reshaping the legislation. But the West Virginia senator all but said the bill would die unless it met his demands for a smaller, less sweeping package — something that would be hard for many Democrats in the narrowly divided Congress to accept.

The bill would provide hundreds of billions of dollars to help millions of families with children by extending a more generous child tax credit, creating free preschool and bolstering child care aid. There is more than $500 billion for tax breaks and spending aimed at curbing carbon emissions, which experts consider the largest federal expenditure ever to combat climate change.

Other provisions would limit prescription drug price increases, create hearing benefits for Medicare recipients and bolster aid for the elderly, housing and job training. Nearly all of it would be paid for with higher taxes on the wealthy and large corporations.

The Washington Post takes a deeper look at how negotiations between Biden and Manchin went sideways. The White House says that Manchin broke his word; Manchin is (vaguely) blaming White House staff, indicating that they might have been mean to him. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, meanwhile, is vowing to bring the BBB bill to a vote in 2022.

 

Perhaps anticipating Manchin’s uselessness, Senate Democrats had already started shifting priorities toward advancing election reform measures. As The New York Times reports:

Schumer on Monday gave the clearest sign yet that he would try to force a fundamental change in Senate rules if needed to enact federal laws to offset voting restrictions being imposed by Republican-led legislatures around the country.

In a letter to colleagues, Mr. Schumer, the New York Democrat and majority leader, said that the Senate would take up stalled voting rights legislation as early as the first week of January and that if Republicans continued to filibuster, the Senate would “consider changes to any rules which prevent us from debating and reaching final conclusion on important legislation.”

But it is not clear how far Democrats will be willing or able to go in working around the 60-vote requirement for most legislation and finding a way to pass voting rights legislation with a simple majority. While several formerly reluctant senators have in recent weeks endorsed rules change for voting issues, at least two Democratic senators — Joe Manchin III of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona — have resisted.

Alarmed by state laws being enacted in the aftermath of the 2020 election that seem aimed at making it more difficult for people, particularly minorities, to vote, Democrats have tried repeatedly this year to set federal standards for early and mail-in voting and curb partisan gerrymandering, among other provisions. But they have been consistently thwarted by a Republican blockade.

 

President Biden is boosting fuel economy standards that had been decimated under President Trump. From The Associated Press:

In a major step to fight climate change, the Biden administration is raising vehicle mileage standards to significantly reduce emissions of planet-warming greenhouse gases.

A final rule being issued Monday would raise mileage standards starting in the 2023 model year, reaching a projected industry-wide target of 40 miles per gallon by 2026 — 25% higher than a rule finalized by the Trump administration last year and 5% higher than a proposal by the Environmental Protection Agency in August.

 

Democrat Yadira Careveo announced a slew of new endorsements in her bid for Congress in CO-08, including support from House Speaker Alec Garnett and State Rep. Mary Young.

 

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Get More Smarter on Friday (Dec. 17)

Welcome to the halfway point between one of Rep. Lauren Boebert’s birthdays. 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 

 

Scientists are racing to understand the true threat of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 as cases of infection are rising around the world. As David Leonhardt writes for The New York Times, it is red America that should be most worried about the spread:

In the U.S., partisanship is the biggest factor determining vaccination rates. If Democratic voters made up their own country, it would be one of the world’s most vaccinated, with more than 91 percent of adults having received at least one shot. Only about 60 percent of Republican adults have done so.

This vaccination gap has created a huge gap in death rates, one that has grown sharply during the second half of the year.

One telling detail is that Covid deaths in both swing counties and heavily Biden counties have not risen over the past two months, even as nationwide case numbers have surged. In heavily vaccinated communities, rising caseloads don’t automatically lead to rising death tolls.

In hundreds of U.S. counties, though, most adults still have not received a Covid vaccine shot. “Just since this summer, 150,000 unvaccinated Americans have needlessly lost their lives despite the widespread availability of vaccines,” Dr. Peter Hotez of the Baylor College of Medicine, in Houston, said yesterday.

The difference in COVID-19 survival rates between Blue and Red parts of the country has been evident for awhile now, but the data is still astonishing.

 

Here’s another reason why you should ignore right-wing narratives pushing back against COVID-19 precautions.

 

Meanwhile, as The Hill newspaper reports, new information demonstrates that former President Trump actively sought to undermine the nation’s COVID-19 response:

The Trump administration deliberately undermined the nation’s coronavirus response for political purposes, including by weakening testing guidance and championing widespread “herd immunity,” according to a new report from the House panel investigating the pandemic response.

The Democratic staff report released Friday was a summation of the year’s work investigating political interference in the pandemic response from Trump officials and the former president himself.

In interviews with officials and from uncovered emails and other documents, the committee found that the former administration failed to heed warnings about supply shortages, blocked public health officials from speaking publicly and neglected the pandemic response in order to focus on the 2020 presidential election and on promoting the lie that the election was “stolen” from Trump through widespread fraud.

 

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis is warning that the Omicron variant of COVID-19 will soon become the dominant strain of the virus in Colorado. Good thing there is a FREAKING VACCINE YOU CAN TAKE. You are 47 times less likely to be hospitalized by COVID-19 in Colorado if you get vaccinated. 

 

Senate Democrats continue working on efforts to pass some sort of major election reform legislation, if West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin will let them do it. 

 

 

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Get More Smarter on Wednesday (Dec. 15)

Today is probably an inside day. 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 

 

Be safe out there today. The weather is bananas, as this video of a freaking dust storm near Pueblo demonstrates. 

 

The brief, sad era of the Bureau of Land Management’s headquarters move to Grand Junction is finally over. As The Hill newspaper reports:

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will move several of its leadership positions back to Washington, D.C., after a controversial Trump-era move to send leadership to Grand Junction, Colo.

An email sent out by BLM Director Tracy Stone-Manning that was obtained by The Hill states that the agency will “consolidate” most of its directors in Washington.

Specifically, it states that the director and deputy director of operations have already returned to the district, joining the deputy director for policy and programs. It said that 8 additional leaders including “most assistant directors and deputy assistant directors” will also return to D.C.

The message also said that 30 vacant headquarters senior positions will be based in D.C.

Another one bites the dust, eh Cory Gardner?

 

► Greg Sargent of The Washington Post devotes a column to the ridiculous arguments being made by John Eastman, the former visiting scholar at the University of Colorado who advised former President Trump on how to execute a coup:

Eastman has just sued the Jan. 6 committee and Verizon over the committee’s subpoena of his phone records, which the committee is seeking to shed further light on the plot to overturn the election. The lawsuit asks the court to block the subpoena.

Underlying this dispute is something larger than this particular lawsuit’s legal complexities, and larger than the battle between the committee and Trump’s co-conspirators. What’s really at stake is whether this effort to overturn U.S. democracy through extraordinary corruption and then mob violence merits a political and policy response of any kind.

The answer to this question from Trumpworld, and indeed from many congressional Republicans, is essentially “no.”

Eastman’s lawsuit captures the absurdity of this. One of its leading arguments is that the committee is “attempting to exercise a law enforcement function, rather than genuine legislative activity.”…

…In fact, there may be no human being alive who underscores the committee’s legislative purpose more clearly than John Eastman does. [Pols emphasis]

 

Weld County Commissioners came to their senses — somewhat — on Tuesday and decided to stop censoring social media postings about how residents can find access to COVID-19 vaccines.

In related news, more than 10,000 Coloradans have now died from COVID-19.

 

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Get More Smarter on Tuesday (Dec. 14)

One year ago today, the first shipment of COVID-19 vaccinations arrived in Colorado. 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 

 

In case you missed that first sentence, today marks the one-year anniversary of the arrival of the first COVID-19 vaccines in Colorado. As the Governor’s office explains in a press release, here’s how the first year of vaccines has gone in our state:

♦ 76.2% of Coloradans age 5 and older vaccinated with one dose of COVID-19 vaccine (4,142,280 people).

♦ 68.8% of Coloradans age 5 and older now fully vaccinated against COVID-19 (3,739,632 people).

♦ 25.9% of children age 5-11 in Colorado vaccinated with one dose of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine (119,738 people).

♦ 64% of children age 12-17 in Colorado vaccinated with one dose of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine (284,659 people).

♦ 1.2 million eligible Coloradans have received a booster dose (43.5% of those fully vaccinated).

In other COVID-19 news, studies are indicating that a new COVID-19 pill is successful in protecting against severe infections from the virus.

Researchers are also finding that the rapidly-spreading Omicron variant is resistant to monoclonal antibody treatments (and also, presumably, ‘monicronal antibiotics‘). In other words, you should definitely get vaccinated.

 

Congressman Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) was first elected in 2006 and has regularly made it back to Congress every two years despite the fact that he usually faces a Republican Primary (Lamborn has only avoided a Primary fight twice). State Rep. Dave Williams of Colorado Springs is the latest Republican challenger who will attempt to knock out Lamborn. 

 

As The Aurora Sentinel reports, Arapahoe County commissioners will vote today on whether to become the third (and final) county to withdraw from an agreement to continue funding the Tri-County Health Department:

The demise of what was once the largest health department in the state, during the biggest public health crisis in state history, puts Aurora in a precarious position. If split-up is completed, Aurora, which straddles three counties, will be under the auspices of three health departments.

Officials in all three counties have signaled an openness to contract some services from what remains of or could be rebuilt from Tri-County Health. The department, like others across the state, is responsible for a vast array of services and regulatory tasks, mostly mundane and uncontroversial.

Aurora Mayor Mike Coffman was adamantly opposed to the split, saying earlier that the breakup of Tri-County would be “just awful” for Aurora.

 

As Colorado Newsline reports, Democratic governors are pushing the U.S. Senate to act quickly on voting rights legislation.

 

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The GMS Podcast: Ahead to the Future!

This week in episode 94 of the Get More Smarter Podcast, hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii foretell the future.

No, seriously: We tell you what’s going to happen in the 2022 election here in Colorado one year ahead of timeAll predictions are guaranteed to be accurate until proven otherwise.

Listen to previous episodes of The Get More Smarter Podcast at GetMoreSmarter.com.

Questions? Comments? Complaints? Let us have it at AngryRants@getmoresmarter.com.

Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher | TuneIn

Get More Smarter on Monday (Dec. 13)

On this day in 2003, former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was captured by U.S. troops near his hometown of Tikrit. 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 

 

If you haven’t yet read Alex Burness’s weekend story about the Colorado Republican Party for The Denver Post…well, just stop what you’re doing and read it now.

Via The Denver Post (12/13/21)

There’s a LOT to unpack in Burness’s story, including the fact that State Republican Party Chair Kristi Burton Brown was heading up an actual militia before being elected to her position earlier this year:

Much more than signing on to a loyalty pledge, Burton Brown, the Republican party chair, actually led FEC United last year. In sworn court depositions this fall, Oltmann and another leader of the group, Stewart Butler, testified about it, and Burton Brown has confirmed it in statements to the press. Oltmann characterized her work as “basically the foundation of what we’re doing as an organization.”

In a three-minute interview with The Post, [Pols emphasis] Burton Brown said her time with the group was “very brief” but declined to say when exactly it began and ended. She said she only had a “verbal understanding” and that she never signed a contract with FEC United.

 

Congressperson Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R-ifle) may have finally vomited out enough nonsense to convince Republicans to challenge her in a Primary Election. Charles Ashby of The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel has more on a potential campaign from State Sen. Don Coram (R-Montrose).

Meanwhile, Colorado Public Radio reports on the more pressing question about what Congress might do about its Boebert problem. Democrats remain frustrated that Republican leadership seems to have no interest in engaging on the subject of Boebert’s recent anti-Muslim rhetoric.

 

More than 800,000 Americans have now died from COVID-19 — more deaths than any country in the world. As The New York Times reports, that figure includes 1 out of every 100 elderly Americans:

All along, older people have been known to be more vulnerable, but the scale of loss is only now coming into full view.

Seventy-five percent of people who have died of the virus in the United States — or about 600,000 of the nearly 800,000 who have perished so far — have been 65 or older. One in 100 older Americans has died from the virus. For people younger than 65, that ratio is closer to 1 in 1,400…

…Since vaccines first became available a year ago, older Americans have been vaccinated at a much higher rate than younger age groups and yet the brutal toll on them has persisted. The share of younger people among all virus deaths in the United States increased this year, but, in the last two months, the portion of older people has risen once again, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 1,200 people in the United States are dying from Covid-19 each day, most of them 65 or older.

The death toll in the U.S. went from 700,000 to 800,000 over the course of just 74 days. The total number of U.S. deaths from COVID-19 could reach 1 million by spring 2022.

Here in Colorado, we’re seeing a decline in the number of COVID-19 cases being recorded…but experts point to other data indicating that the state is experiencing far more positive cases than are being officially reported.

 

 

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Get More Smarter on Thursday (Dec. 9)

On this day in 1979, smallpox was officially declared to have been eradicated. 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 

 

 Congressperson Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R-ifle) may have done significant damage to her political future with her recent anti-Muslim rhetoric. On Wednesday, the editorial board of The Durango Herald straight up called for Boebert to be defeated in 2022, using some of the strongest and most direct language we can recall from a local media outlet. This came just days after Republican Rep. Dan Crenshaw blasted members of the House Freedom Caucus, which includes Boebert, as “performance artists” with no interest in doing the hard work of governing. 

“The woman is an embarrassment – to her district and her party…Boebert is not representing Western Colorado. Nor does she seem interested in doing so. Enough is enough.”

     — Editorial in The Durango Herald (12/8/21)

 

The publisher of the Montrose Daily Press and the Delta County Independent also recently called for Boebert’s ouster in 2022, for the same basic reasons. Writes Dennis Anderson: “She’s become a national embarrassment, but, more importantly, she’s become an embarrassment to western Colorado.”

For her part, Boebert responded to the latest criticism in a very predictable manner: She set herself up as the victim in this saga.

 

Meanwhile, The Associated Press reports that progressive Democrats continue to push House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to take some sort of punitive action against Boebert. A resolution was introduced on Wednesday to remove Boebert from her House committee assignments.

 

We say it all the time in this space: Elections matter.

Look no further than Aurora for the latest example.

 

 As Colorado Public Radio reports, we may get a better look at a prominent “dark money” group that has been operating in Colorado:

The Colorado Secretary of State’s office on Tuesday ordered a nonprofit organization to reveal its donors and pay a $40,000 fine, saying it violated Colorado law by contributing millions of dollars to conservative causes in the 2020 election.

The group, Unite for Colorado, paid for signature gathering and digital advertisements related to several ballot initiatives last year, according to documents in a complaint that prompted the fine. As is common with “dark money” nonprofits, it did not disclose where its funding came from.

Critics of the group argued that Unite for Colorado crossed the line between nonprofits and political groups. A complaint filed in August 2020 argued that the group was spending so heavily — and was so closely involved in politics — that it should have registered as a political issue committee and reported more detail on its financial activities.

 

 

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Get More Smarter on Monday (Dec. 6)

Happy Day of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technologies of Azerbaijan. Please celebrate responsibly. 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 

 

The Associated Press takes a deep dive into the madness of the modern Republican Party:

The path to power for Republicans in Congress is now rooted in the capacity to generate outrage. The alarming language, and the fundraising haul it increasingly produces, is another example of how Donald Trump, the former president, has left his mark on politics, changing the way Republicans rise to influence and authority.

Success in Congress, once measured by bills passed and constituents reached, is now gauged in many ways by the ability to attract attention, even if it is negative as the GOP looks to reclaim a House majority next year by firing up Trump’s most ardent supporters.

That has helped elevate a group of far-right lawmakers — including Reps. Lauren Boebert of Colorado, Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Paul Gosar of Arizona — whose inflammatory comments once would have made them pariahs.

Rather than face punishment for personal attacks that violate longstanding norms of Congress, they’ve been celebrated by conservatives, who have showered Boebert and Greene with campaign cash.

“We are not the fringe. We are the base of the party,” Greene, who has previously endorsed calls to assassinate prominent Democrats, said last week on a podcast hosted by former Trump adviser Steve Bannon.

It’s not hard to find local examples of this Republican indifference to horribleness. Krista Kafer basically shrugs off Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert’s anti-Muslim rhetoric in her latest column for The Denver Post.

Elsewhere, Colorado “conservative” leaders have been taking to right-wing radio shows to say that Democratic politicians should literally be hanged.

 

Governor Jared Polis is taking aim at COVID-19 misinformation campaigns, as The Denver Post reports:

Gov. Jared Polis on Friday lamented that “misinformation and targeted lies” are creating resistance to vaccine science and killing Coloradans.

Polis was presenting to the legislative Joint Budget Committee about state spending in the 2022-23 fiscal year. He prefaced his budget proposal with a commentary on COVID-19.

“(O)ur hospitals are now filled, largely with unvaccinated Coloradans, many of whom are victims of misinformation campaigns and targeted lies that are being spread about the lifesaving vaccine,” he said.

“Unfortunately it’s that misinformation that’s making these unprotected Coloradans fall victim and get very ill and in some cases die from the virus, as well as making them into vessels for new mutations, like omicron. Not only does this misinformation pose a danger to our public health, but with every new mutation the economy here and across the world is impacted.”

 

 The Senate is pushing to complete a vote on President Biden’s Build Back Better Act before Christmas, as The Washington Post reports:

Senate Democrats are aiming to vote and approve a roughly $2 trillion package to overhaul the nation’s health care, education, climate, immigration and tax laws before Christmas, hoping to muscle through a jam-packed schedule to deliver the remaining piece of President Biden’s economic agenda.

Writing to lawmakers on Monday, Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) affirmed the aggressive timeline, warning that there are “more long days and nights, and potentially weekends,” ahead of the chamber in order for it to finish a fuller array of legislative legwork before the end of the year.

The $2 trillion proposal, known as the Build Back Better Act, aims to expand Medicare coverage, invest new sums to combat climate change, authorize universal prekindergarten and provide new aid to low-income families, all financed through tax hikes targeting rich Americans and corporations. House Democrats adopted the bill in November, teeing it up for the Senate, where party lawmakers at times have been divided over its size and scope.

 

As Colorado Public Radio reports, Colorado is on track for record employment growth in 2022.

 
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The GMS Podcast: Boebert Finds a New Low (ft. Sara Loflin)

Sara Loflin, Executive Director at ProgressNow Colorado

This week in episode 93 of the Get More Smarter Podcast, hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii discuss the persistent problems for Republican gubernatorial candidate Hiedi Heidi Ganahl; a new low for Congressperson Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R-ifle); and more weirdness from Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters.

Later, we talk with Sara Loflin, the new Executive Director of ProgressNow Colorado, about her perspective on Ganahl — and the idea that Colorado should elect a woman as Governor — as well as her thoughts on Boebert’s awfulness and her vision for leading ProgressNow Colorado into 2022.

Listen to previous episodes of The Get More Smarter Podcast at GetMoreSmarter.com.

Questions? Comments? Complaints? Let us have it at AngryRants@getmoresmarter.com.

Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher | TuneIn

Get More Smarter on Friday (Dec. 3)

December 3 has generally not been that interesting of a day in modern history. 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 

 

As The Washington Post reports, some Congressional Democrats are pushing for action to be taken against Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert for her anti-Muslim comments in recent weeks:

Five House Democratic caucus chairs, along with 36 other members of the Progressive Caucus, are calling for Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) to be stripped of her committee assignments, citing her repeated “anti-Muslim” attacks against Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.).

“There must be consequences for vicious workplace harassment and abuse that creates an environment so unsafe for colleagues and staff that it invites death threats against them,” the Democratic chairs wrote in a letter, alluding to threats Omar has received after the attacks by Boebert.

“There must be consequences when Members of Congress demonize an entire religion and promote hate from their positions of public trust,” they wrote.

The letter — signed by Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), Congressional Black Caucus Chair Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio), Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus Chair Judy Chu (D-Calif.), Congressional LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus Chair David N. Cicilline (D-R.I.) and Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chair Raul Ruiz (D-Calif.) — also criticized House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), saying he has not properly disciplined Boebert for her attacks.

Congressional Republican leaders, meanwhile, are much more concerned about internal caucus relationships than racist comments from members. From a separate story in The Washington Post:

House Republicans have decried the public feuding this week among a small group of GOP lawmakers as detrimental to the party’s ability to win back the House in the 2022 midterm elections because it distracts from their attacks on Democrats’ agenda.

But little has been said publicly by party leaders or rank-and-file members about whether they find the source of this feuding problematic: Islamophobic attacks by some Republicans against a Democratic congresswoman who is Muslim.

The party’s focus on the political ramifications of the infighting rather than the substance of the disagreement has led civil rights groups and Democrats to charge that Republicans are embracing, or at least enabling, bigotry.

“The GOP has made it very clear that they are not condemning this bigotry, this violent rhetoric, and in fact they are allowing this to become the political foundation to raise more money and to get more clout — and if there is any remaining traditional moral leadership within the GOP, I’m asking where it is,” said Nihad Awad, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).

As The Denver Post reports, some Republican supporters of Boebert are falling back on the trope that “there’s no such thing as bad publicity.”

 

Meanwhile, Boebert is facing a different problem that has serious legal implications. As Ernest Luning reports for the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman:

A comedy writer and documentary filmmaker is asking federal and state authorities to investigate U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert, accusing the Silt Republican of abusing her position to squelch a political critic.

In letters delivered in late October to the acting U.S. attorney for Colorado and Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser, Toby Morton, a Tulsa, Oklahoma, resident, said he wants them to determine whether Boebert improperly used a congressional staffer and the assistance of law enforcement officials in an attempt to shut down a satirical website he maintains and discourage him from producing a film about the freshman lawmaker…

…Morton’s complaints focus on what he described as a threatening email allegedly sent to him in May by Boebert’s press secretary and an encounter in July between Boebert and Morton’s cameraman outside Shooters Grill, the restaurant she owns in Rifle, that culminated in a social media account linked to Boebert posting an image of the cameraman’s license plate and name.

A Boebert spokesman didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Richard Painter, the chief White House ethics lawyer under former President George W. Bush and one of Morton’s lawyers, told Colorado Politics that he was alarmed by Morton’s allegations suggesting potential abuse of police power.

 

 The Omicron variant of COVID-19 has been detected in Colorado. As Colorado Public Radio notes, experts still aren’t clear on risks of Omicron compared to other variants.

 

Republican Matt Knoedler, a former Colorado lawmaker, discussed the nonsense idea that Democrats are “rigging” elections with John Eastman, the former visiting professor at CU who advised former President Trump on legal strategies for stealing the 2020 election.

Eastman, meanwhile, has asserted his right to avoid self-incrimination by invoking the Fifth Amendment in response to a Congressional subpoena.

 

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Get More Smarter on Thursday (Dec. 2)

On this day in 1954, the U.S. Senate voted to censure Republican Sen. Joseph McCarthy for accusing pretty much everyone of being a communist. 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 

 

The U.S. Supreme Court appears likely to deal a significant blow to abortion rights after a hearing on Wednesday related to a case in Mississippi. Opponents of abortion rights in Colorado seem to be confident that the Supreme Court will act in the favor, but as The Denver Post reports, Colorado Democrats are prepared to take action in the upcoming legislative session:

Democratic state lawmakers want to ensure abortion access remains legal in Colorado even if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade.

On the day the Supreme Court heard arguments over a Mississippi law that bans abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, a group of state legislators signed a proclamation to uphold Coloradans’ rights to abortion. They plan to introduce a bill next year codifying abortion rights into state law.

“Coloradans have affirmed over and over again that politics has no place in private medical decisions that belong between a pregnant person, their family and their provider,” Rep. Meg Froelich, a Democrat from Englewood, said in a news release. “Four times we have rejected political attempts to ban abortion on the ballot. It’s time to stop playing defense and move Colorado beyond the bans.”

You can read more on Wednesday’s announcement at Colorado Newsline, Colorado Public Radio, and CBS4 Denver.

 

Congressional leaders say that they may have a deal that would avert a government shutdown. From The Washington Post:

House and Senate leaders on Thursday announced they had reached a deal on a bill to fund the government into mid-February, opening the door for lawmakers to narrowly avoid a shutdown entering this weekend.

The agreement on a new stopgap spending measure set the House on a path to vote before the end of the day, though swift action still seemed uncertain in the Senate, where some Republicans have threatened to grind the government to a halt as they protest President Biden’s vaccine and testing mandates.

Both chambers must pass identical bills by midnight on Friday to avert a shutdown. Lawmakers from both parties have warned that a failure to fund the government could be disruptive, especially at a time when the country is responding to a new, potentially more dangerous variant of the coronavirus.

“If there is a shutdown, it will be a Republican, anti-vaccine shutdown,” Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said on the chamber floor, touting the fact that the new funding deal carries broad bipartisan support.

 

Supporters of Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters and right-wing activist Sherronna Bishop held a rally of some sort in Grand Junction to air the same old grievances about how they should have a right to break the law. As Charles Ashby explains for The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel:

A rally in support of embattled Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters on Wednesday was more about bashing the media and government institutions, with speakers saying the American public isn’t being told the truth and their leaders are helping to destroy the nation.

But while the event was a peaceful one, many of the speakers repeated numerous falsehoods, such as the claim that the U.S. Constitution made sheriffs the ultimate authority in their counties.

The word “sheriff” doesn’t appear anywhere in the Constitution.

Those speakers, which included Peters, also repeated claims that they have proof of election fraud, but repeated the same debunked evidence, such as that 29,000 election files were deleted during a computer upgrade of election machines.

The Colorado Times Recorder has more on Wednesday’s nonsense. 

 

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Get More Smarter on Wednesday (Dec. 1)

Yeah, we know there isn’t much snow right now in Colorado; we’re trying to suggest it into existence. 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 

 

All eyes are on the U.S. Supreme Court as the nation’s top judges debate, potentially, the fate of legal abortion in the United States. From The New York Times:

The Supreme Court seemed poised on Wednesday to uphold a Mississippi law that bans abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, based on sometimes tense and heated questioning at a momentous argument in the most important abortion case in decades.

Such a ruling would be flatly at odds with what the court has said was the central holding of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that established a constitutional right to abortion and prohibited states from banning the procedure before fetal viability, or around 23 weeks.

But the court’s six-member conservative majority seemed divided about whether to stop at 15 weeks, for now at least, or whether to overrule Roe entirely, allowing states to ban abortions at any time or entirely.

Elections matter.

 

Congressperson Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R-ifle) has become a YUGE story nationwide. Consistent with her brand, however, Boebert is making headlines for the wrong reasons.

Boebert continues to generate news coverage for her disgusting comments suggesting that Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar is a terrorist/suicide bomber. The Denver Post editorial board felt compelled to apologize for Boebert’s behavior, while former President Donald Trump decided to see if he could say things about Omar that were even WORSE.

Boebert inspired TWO separate columns from Chris Cillizza of CNN, one on Tuesday and another on Wednesday. Today, Cillizza ultimately comes to a conclusion that we’ve discussed for years in this space:

As ugly and unsavory as Boebert’s actions are, they do provide insight into just how radically the mission of serving in Congress has changed — particularly for those, like Boebert, who have come into politics in the age of Donald Trump…

…Gone is the idea that politics is about making the country (and its people) better through compromise. Or even that passing any sort of legislation — or sponsoring any — matters at all.

In its place is politics as performance. Running for office and being in office are about promoting your personal #brand (barf). The best way to show “effectiveness” is not in bills passed but in appearances on Fox News…

…The unfortunate thing for our politics is that there are a whole lot of Republican politicians like Boebert in the pipeline. She’s the rule, not the exception, in the modern Republican party.

Performative Obstruction. That’s what this is. That’s what it has always been with Boebert. Whether or not she actually believes the crap that comes out of her mouth is secondary to the overall goal of just being the center of the discussion. Boebert also doesn’t seem to care that her persistent lies about Rep. Omar might literally be life-threatening accusations.

Republicans aren’t universally thrilled with Boebert, either. Here’s former Republican State Representative Cole Wist:

 

Congressional Republicans, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, are doing NOTHING in response to Boebert’s hateful rhetoric. McCarthy is instead trying to prevent GOP caucus members from tearing each other apart over Boebert’s horribleness.

Elsewhere, Robin Givhan of The Washington Post weighs in on The exhausting, soul-sapping meanness of Lauren Boebert.

Dana Milbank of The Washington Post writes that Boebert “is what George W. Bush called ‘the worst of humankind.'”

 

 As Jason Salzman writes for The Colorado Times Recorder, Boebert is throwing everything she can imagine at Rep. Omar — including completely unsupported claims that Omar denigrated Jews when she moved into her congressional office.

 

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Get More Smarter on Monday (Nov. 29)

Omicron is coming. Also, Happy Hanukkah! 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 

 

The Omicron variant of COVID-19 is causing great concern worldwide. As The Washington Post reports:

President Biden on Monday described the omicron variant of the coronavirus as a “cause for concern, not a cause for panic” as cases continue to emerge around the globe.

In an address from the White House, the president pressed Americans to get the coronavirus vaccines and boosters, calling the shots “the best protection against this new variant or any of the various out there.”

The comments came a day after the variant was detected in Canada, making its first identification in North America. Omicron, designated a “variant of concern” by the World Health Organization, has also been found in countries ranging from Australia to Israel and Botswana to Britain.

Get those booster shots, friends!

If you’re wondering where the new COVID-19 variant name comes from, you’re not alone. As The New York Times explains, it has something to do with the Greek alphabet.

 

 The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to take up a case on Wednesday that could end legal abortion in this country.

 

Congressperson Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert might have finally stuck her own foot too far down her throat. 

Boebert is getting drilling by Democratic leaders for public comments in which she basically called Rep. Ilhan Omar a suicide bomber. Omar is among those calling for repercussions for Boebert’s comments after initially responding by pointing out that Boebert had completely invented the story because she won’t even make eye contact with her colleague. House Democratic leaders are expected today to discuss potential sanctions for Boebert. Notable Republicans are even speaking out against Boebert.

9News reporter/anchor Kyle Clark has been getting national attention for calling out Boebert and her antics. Clark was on CNN on Sunday warning about journalists not covering Boebert’s comments because there is so much to discuss. “When we ignore the bigotry, we normalize the bigotry and we abandon our neighbors who are the targets of the bigotry,” said Clark.

Colorado Republican Party Chair Kristi Burton Brown, meanwhile, is responding by alleging that Clark is sexist. You might recall that KBB was the “policy director” for Boebert’s 2020 campaign.

But wait, there’s more…in the same video in which Boebert compares Rep. Ohan to a suicide bomber, she also makes some blatantly anti-gay comments when the conversation turns to Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg. From Business Insider:

Boebert has so far not responded publicly to criticism over comments she made at an event this month about Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg trying to “chest feed” and about Rep. Ilhan Omar, whom she implied was a terrorist.

“Meanwhile, you have Secretary of Transportation, good ol’ Mayor Pete. He wasn’t even put in charge of the supply-chain crisis. Someone else was tapped for that because Mayor Pete is still at home trying to figure out how to chest feed,” Boebert said, to laughs from the crowd.

“Somebody ought to tell him so he can get back to work,” she added.

Classy.

This is the point where could point out the successful policy or advocacy work that Boebert is doing in Congress, but, you know, there isn’t any.

 

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The GMS Podcast: What the Hell Is Going on in Mesa County? (ft. Charles Ashby)

For this week’s 92nd episode of the Get More Smarter Podcast, a whole episode dedicated to Mesa County Madness! Jason Bane and Ian Silverii welcome Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reporter Charles Ashby back to the show who gives us the definitive rundown of the continuing scandal surrounding Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters and what role Lauren Boebert’s former campaign manager Sherronna Bishop has in it all.

There are too many wild stories to link in this episode description, but you can scroll through Charles’ recent articles here.

Listen to previous episodes of The Get More Smarter Podcast at GetMoreSmarter.com.

Questions? Comments? Complaints? Let us have it at AngryRants@getmoresmarter.com.

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Get More Smarter on Friday (Nov. 19)

Today is the greatest news dump day of the entire year, so keep your eyes peeled. 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 

 

President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better plan passed out of the House of Representatives on Friday, and there was much rejoicing:

From The Washington Post:

House Democrats delivered on that promise, voting to approve more than $2 trillion in spending initiatives that would overhaul federal health care, education, climate, immigration and tax laws.

The measure adopted Friday amounts to a dramatic re-envisioning of the role of government in Americans’ daily lives. It sets aside in some cases historic sums to aid workers, families and businesses, seeking to rewire the very fabric of an economy still recovering from the financial devastation wrought by the coronavirus pandemic.

In bearing the name of the president’s 2020 campaign slogan, the successful 220-to-213 House vote on the Build Back Better Act marks the second legislative milestone for Democrats this month. It comes about two weeks after they joined with Republicans to finalize a separate, sweeping bill to improve the nation’s roads, bridges, pipes, ports and Internet connections, delivering long-sought infrastructure investments that Biden signed into law Monday.

The bill still needs to get through the U.S. Senate, where West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin will hem and haw for awhile.

As Jonathan Weisman writes for The New York Times, the combination of income inequality, economic stagnation and a pandemic helped Democrats muscle through a big social spending effort more easily than former President Barack Obama was able to finish off The Affordable Care Act in 2010. As POLITICO notes, Democrats say they learned plenty of important lessons from 2010.

 

Vice President Kamala Harris makes history (again) today when she becomes the first woman in U.S. history to officially take the top job in the country. As CNN reports:

President Joe Biden on Friday will temporarily transfer power to Vice President Kamala Harris while he is under anesthesia for a routine colonoscopy, White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters.

The nation’s first female, first Black and first South Asian vice president will break yet another barrier when she temporarily steps into the acting role. Harris will work from her office in the West Wing while Biden is under anesthesia, Psaki said in a statement.

Biden, who turns 79 on Saturday, arrived Friday morning at Walter Reed Medical Center to undergo his first routine annual physical since taking office.

It’s routine for a vice president to assume presidential powers while the president undergoes a medical procedure that requires anesthesia. Then-Vice President Dick Cheney did so on multiple occasions when then-President George W. Bush underwent routine colonoscopies.

Just remember us when you win a trivia contest with this answer 20 years from now.

 

Governor Jared Polis will provide an update on the state’s COVID-19 response this afternoon. You can watch the 1:00 livestream on the Governor’s Facebook page.

 

The Denver Post reports on an historic agreement between Gov. Jared Polis and the state’s employee union, Colorado WINS:

Colorado’s state employees’ union and Gov. Jared Polis have agreed on a new contract that promises the more than 30,000 people who work for state government across-the-board raises, a minimum-wage hike and more paid time off.

This is a first for the state, as the union, Colorado WINS, only recently won collective bargaining rights. That was a result of a 2020 bill Polis signed after scuttling a similar proposal the year prior.

The union, Colorado WINS, said that over 99% of members voted to ratify the contract. Polis supported it, too, and the two sides held a press conference Thursday at the Governor’s Mansion in Denver to mark the agreement.

“Every Coloradan should be able to live (in) and enjoy our great state of Colorado,” Polis said Thursday, flanked by union leaders. “We aren’t just saying that we value our workers; we’re showing it.”

Colorado state employees have generally been significantly underpaid compared to private sector counterparts.

 

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Get More Smarter on Monday (Nov. 15)

Happy National Recycling Day. Please do some recycling. 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 

 

Several Colorado politicians — including Gov. Jared Polis, Sen. John Hickenlooper, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, and Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Boulderish) — will be at the White House today to witness President Biden sign his name to the recently-passed infrastructure bill

The editorial board of The Denver Post, meanwhile, is very happy about the infrastructure bill:

To put it lightly, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will address some of Colorado’s largest needs if the money is used wisely.

Samantha Silverberg, special assistant to the president for transportation and infrastructure, told reporters on a call last week that Biden’s administration learned a lot of lessons from the American Recovery Act of 2009, which pumped about $800 billion into the economy between 2009 and 2019 in an attempt to prevent economic disaster from the 2008 financial crisis.

“We are going to really rigorously track in a very transparent way with dashboards and online documents how every dollar is being spent,” Silverberg said. “We want to make sure every dollar is spent efficiently, transparently.”

 

The Colorado Supreme Court has approved redistricting maps for the State House and State Senate.

 

 Governor Jared Polis is warning that Colorado’s rising COVID-19 cases present an unsustainable problem. Other news outlets, including The Colorado Sun, are wondering why Polis is still reluctant to issue a mask mandate. Polis avoided the question during a Sunday appearance on “Face the Nation.”

Meanwhile, 6 Denver Metro counties will require proof of vaccination at large indoor events.

 

 State Sen. Barbara Kirkmeyer made the long-expected announcement that she plans to seek the Republican nomination for Congress in CO-08.

In related news, Congressman Ed Perlmutter (D-Jefferson County) tells Colorado Public Radio that he plans to seek re-election in the newly-drawn CO-07.

 

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The GMS Podcast: Charles “Chaz” Tedesco Gets More Smarter

Adams County Commissioner Charles “Chaz” Tedesco

This week on Episode #91 of The Get More Smarter Podcast, hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii talk with Adams County Commissioner  Charles “Chaz” Tedesco about his decision to run for Congress in CO-08 and about why Republican Lori Saine should never have access to a tank.

Jason and Ian also discuss “infrastructure week” (for real this time); more nuttiness from Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters; and whether a bald white dude from Louisiana is right about the problem facing Democrats in 2022.

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

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

Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher | TuneIn

Get More Smarter on Friday (Nov. 12)

There are only 49 days left in 2021. 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 

 

Could Colorado be forced to start rationing health care as it battles against a surge of COVID-19 infections? We could be close to that point, as The Denver Post reports:

If the current acceleration in COVID-19 hospitalizations continues, the state could run out of hospital beds by the end of December, though Gov. Jared Polis has called on facilities to find space for 300 to 500 more patients. It’s not clear how hospitals would find enough staff for those additional beds, though.

State officials have estimated Colorado has 2,000 to 2,200 beds that could potentially be used for COVID-19 patients, and as of Thursday afternoon, 1,466 of them were full. If all of those beds were filled with people who have the virus, it would leave very little room for anything else to go wrong, from a bad flu season to traffic injuries during a snowstorm.

Dr. Eric France, the state’s chief medical officer, said at a Thursday meeting of the Governor’s Expert Emergency Epidemic Response Committee that it’s possible Colorado will need to activate its hospital crisis standards of care, which allow for rationing, in the next few weeks. [Pols emphasis]

It doesn’t need to be this way — just get vaccinated, people!

Colorado Public Radio takes a deeper look at why COVID-19 cases in Colorado have gotten so bad lately. Governor Jared Polis is providing a live COVID-19 update at noon on Friday.

 

This is a totally normal thing for a former President of the United States to say out loud. From The Washington Post:

Former president Donald Trump said he considered it “common sense” for his supporters to chant “Hang Mike Pence!” during the Jan. 6 insurrection but that he never feared for his vice president’s safety. [Pols emphasis]

Audio of Trump’s comments to ABC News’s Jonathan Karl were published Friday by Axios in advance of a forthcoming book by Karl.

In the exchange, Trump again took issue with Pence for not intervening to change the results as he presided over the count of electoral college votes by Congress. The count was ultimately interrupted after rioters breached the Capitol and Pence was whisked out of the chamber amid threats on his life.

Asked by Karl if he was worried about Pence’s safety, Trump said: “No, I thought he was well-protected.”

In related news, former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows failed to appear for a deposition on Friday in front of the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection.

 

The Aurora Sentinel digs into the story of the pending breakup of the Tri-County Health Department:

After more than seven decades of collaboration, the Tri-County Health Department is disbanding over increasingly difficult to reconcile approaches to public health, leaving Aurora — a city of almost 400,000 people with land in Adams, Arapahoe and Douglas county — in an awkward position.

As the three counties prepare to go their own separate ways, Aurora will either have to navigate being served by three public health agencies or embark on the ambitious task of forming its own health department, similar to Denver and Broomfield, which each operate as both cities and counties.

Local elected and public health officials have mixed feelings on the best approach…

…Douglas County voted to leave Tri-County in September after clashing with other members of the department over public health measures during the pandemic. Things came to a head in August, when the other board of health members overruled Douglas County’s representatives to impose a mask mandate in all K-12 schools.

A month later, Adams County voted to leave the department as well, a decision that left the Arapahoe County’s board of commissioners in the lurch.

 

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Get More Smarter on Veterans Day (Nov. 11)

Go thank a Veteran today. 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 

 

Declaring the state to be at high risk of COVID-19 exposure, Gov. Jared Polis signed an Executive Order ensuring that every Colorado adult can receive a COVID-19 booster shot six months after their last dose. The Colorado Sun and Colorado Public Radio wonder why Polis is still resisting another mask mandate, though vaccine requirements for large indoor events could be just around the corner. 

The New York Times, meanwhile, looks at the research and data about waning COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness:

As tens of millions who are eligible in the United States consider signing up for a Covid-19 booster shot, a growing body of early global research shows that the vaccines authorized in the United States remain highly protective against the disease’s worst outcomes over time, with some exceptions among older people and those with weakened immune systems.

But while the vaccines’ effectiveness against severe disease and hospitalization has mostly held steady, even through the summer surge of the highly transmissible Delta variant, a number of published studies show that their protection against infection, with or without symptoms, has fallen.

Public health experts say this decline does not mean that the vaccines are not working. [Pols emphasis] 

 

The Colorado Sun looks at how the big infrastructure deal in Congress will help speed up the process of increasing broadband internet access in Colorado:

Colorado’s efforts to end its rural digital divide could finally happen with the $1 trillion U.S. infrastructure bill, currently awaiting President Joe Biden’s signature.

At least $100 million for broadband infrastructure will end up in Colorado, but it could be much more, said Tony Neal-Graves, chief information officer and executive director of the Colorado Office of Information Technology.

“When we go through it and try to estimate how much money could potentially flow to the state of Colorado, directly or indirectly depending on the type of grant program it is, it could be north of a billion dollars,” Neal-Graves said.Congress passed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act this week. In it, $65 billion has been set aside to pay for the cost to extend broadband service to those who still don’t have it in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and U.S. territories.

President Biden, meanwhile, is promising that the infrastructure deal will start to ease a growing pressure on the economy.

 

 The Washington Post examines two figures defining the economy in the Biden administration: Inflation and job-creation numbers.

The Associated Press explains the inflation problem:

Much of it is the flipside of very good news. Slammed by COVID-19, the U.S. economy collapsed in the spring of 2020 as lockdowns took effect, businesses closed or cut hours and consumers stayed home as a health precaution. Employers slashed 22 million jobs. Economic output plunged at a record-shattering 31% annual rate in last year’s April-June quarter.

Everyone braced for more misery. Companies cut investment. Restocking was put off. And a brutal recession ensued.

Yet instead of sinking into a prolonged downturn, the economy staged an unexpectedly rousing recovery, fueled by massive government spending and a bevy of emergency moves by the Fed. By spring, the rollout of vaccines had emboldened consumers to return to restaurants, bars and shops.Suddenly, businesses had to scramble to meet demand. They couldn’t hire fast enough to plug job openings — a near record 10.4 million in August — or buy enough supplies to fill customer orders. As business roared back, ports and freight yards couldn’t handle the traffic. Global supply chains became snarled.

Costs rose. And companies found that they could pass along those higher costs in the form of higher prices to consumers, many of whom had managed to sock away a ton of savings during the pandemic.

 

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