Get More Smarter on Tuesday (July 20)

Bucks in six? 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 

*Coloradans can now get a COVID-19 vaccine at one of six locations without a prior appointment. 

 

Holy fucking shit, Texas! As The Huffington Post reports:

In a new political low in Texas, the Republican-dominated state Senate has passed a bill to eliminate a requirement that public schools teach that the Ku Klux Klan and its white supremacist campaign of terror are “morally wrong.”

The cut is among some two dozen curriculum requirements dropped in the measure, along with studying Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, the works of United Farm Workers leader Cesar Chavez, Susan B. Anthony’s writings about the women’s suffragist movement, and Native American history…

…Senate Bill 3 — passed last Friday 18-4 — drops most mentions of people of color and women from the state’s required curriculum.

That includes eliminating a requirement that students be taught the “history of white supremacy, including but not limited to the institution of slavery, the eugenics movement, and the Ku Klux Klan, and the ways in which it is morally wrong.”

Honestly…we don’t even know what to say anymore.

 

A federal judge on Monday issued an 8-month jail sentence for Paul Hodgkins, the first person to be sentenced for a felony conviction for his part in the Jan. 6 insurrection.

 

 As Saja Hindi reports for The Denver Post, confusion over DACA is causing very real problems for many people in Colorado:

After a Texas federal judge’s decision late last week, thousands of Coloradans in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program are facing uncertainty — again — about their legal status in the United States.

The Biden administration said it plans to appeal Friday’s ruling that requires the federal government to stop processing new applications for the DACA program, which helps immigrants whose families brought them into the U.S. as young children temporarily avoid deportation and become eligible for work permits and Social Security numbers.

The latest court ruling leaves immigration attorneys scrambling to figure out how best to help clients who planned to apply for DACA. Current DACA recipients — people like 25-year-old Estéfani Peña Figueroa, who says she feels like she’s been on a “roller coaster” since 2017 — worry what this could mean for the program long-term. And advocates say it’s past time for a permanent solution.

Peña Figueroa says that, “I don’t feel like I can plan for my future.”

 

 Colorado Senators Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper announced that Interior Secretary Deb Haaland has accepted their invitation to visit the headquarters of the Bureau of Land Management in Grand Junction on Friday. The BLM is reviewing a decision from 2019 to move the agency’s HQ to Western Colorado. Colorado Public Radio has more on Friday’s visit.

 

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The Get More Smarter Podcast: All-Star Alternate Universes

This week on Episode #81 of The Get More Smarter Podcast, hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii introduce our new intern, Taleen Sample, with a new segment answering her questions about politics.

But first, we dive into the very nature of reality itself…sort of. Mostly it’s just us talking about how the Republican Party is setting up the 2022 election cycle to be a battle over conflicting versions of truth. Get ready for another 18 months of “alternate facts.”

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 Monday (July 19)

Today is the 200th day of 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 

*Coloradans can now get a COVID-19 vaccine at one of six locations without a prior appointment. 

 

With the Delta variant of COVID-19 continuing to surge and the same anti-vax lines being drawn around the country, there is a new push to restrict vaccine disinformation online. As The Washington Post explains:

In the latest salvo of the social media wars, a coalition of liberal individuals and groups has written to Facebook and Twitter urging them to ban 12 people who, one study found, spread the bulk of disinformation about coronavirus vaccines.

“People are quite literally dying because disinformation about the COVID-19 pandemic, the vaccine, and public health leaders is spreading,” they wrote to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. The Daily 202 obtained an advance copy of the letter…

…Among the better-known signatories were UltraViolet, the Center for Countering Digital Hate, Alianza for Progress, GLAAD, Media Matters for America, NARAL Pro-Choice America, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and the Women’s March.

Oh, and on the subject of vaccination levels differing by political affiliation, here’s another depressing chart that reiterates what we’ve been seeing for months:

 

As Megan Schrader opines for The Denver Post, Republicans such as Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert are doing Coloradans a disservice by continuing to stoke anti-vaxxer paranoia.

On the subject of Boebert and inaccurate information, her crusade to validate “The Big Lie” in Arizona has been swiftly debunked.

 

Colorado Democrats are pushing Congress to act on immigration reform, as Colorado Public Radio reports:

This push comes as some Senate Democrats are considering whether to try to include immigration reform in the $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package they’re currently drafting. The idea being floated would include funding for a pathway to legal status for certain groups, like DREAMers or immigrants with temporary protected status.

“I have always been a strong believer that we are a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants. That is why we must build an immigration system that is humane and orderly and rooted in justice and enforceability,” Gov. Jared Polis wrote. “To ensure that, I urge you to act now on comprehensive immigration reform including a pathway to earn citizenship through the reconciliation process.”

On Friday, a federal judge in Texas ruled that former President Barack Obama acted beyond his authority in setting up DACA, the program that protects eligible young undocumented immigrants from deportation, and ordered the government to stop approving new applications. The case is expected to be appealed, but the ruling adds new urgency to the question of whether the Senate will move forward with something.

Even before the ruling, Polis wasn’t the only one seeing an opportunity at this moment. The Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition (or CIRC) also supports this push.

 

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Get More Smarter on Friday (July 16)

It’s gonna be another sunny, but very hot, weekend. 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 

*Coloradans can now get a COVID-19 vaccine at one of six locations without a prior appointment. 

 

The editorial board of The Washington Post marvels (and not in a good way) at renewed efforts from right-wing voices to attack COVID-19 vaccinations:

By slowing the uptake of lifesaving vaccines, anti-vaccination voices give the delta variant time and space to claim new victims. This is a threat to everyone because it will prolong the pandemic. Infections are on the rise in the United States. A stark scenario is unfolding in southwestern Missouri, where hospitals are beginning to surpass the level of covid-19 patients seen in December 2020. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Tuesday that new cases in St. Louis County had skyrocketed 63 percent in the past two weeks. Missouri is among several states with vaccination rates well below the national average.

Across the country, those getting sick and being hospitalized are almost exclusively the unvaccinated. For Fox News and conservative politicians to be frightening people about vaccines with words like “creepy,” “scandal” and the conspiratorial “let’s talk, comrade” is not mere pandering. It can be fatal.

Here in Colorado, we’ve noted the continued problem with low vaccination rates in Mesa County. Heath officials in Larimer County, meanwhile, are sounding the alarm about rising COVID-19 cases in Northern Colorado.

Please, people: Just get your vaccines.

 

Fox 31 Denver reports on the continuation of a troubling trend for Colorado Republicans:

There are now about 22,000 fewer registered Republicans in Colorado in July, than there were on January 1, 2021. During that same time, Democrats lost about 100 voters. Meanwhile, unaffiliated voter registrations increased by about 85,000.

Republicans have lost about 40,000 registered voters in Colorado since 2016. But yeah, stick with Trumpism!

 

We say it a lot here, but it’s always worth repeating: Elections matter. Local areas with Democratic Members of Congress in Colorado are getting a lot of federal money to assist with transportation and other community programs. If your Congressperson is a Republican…not so much.

 

This has been a good week for Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Denver). The child tax credit policy that he has long championed is now being instituted, and on Thursday, Bennet’s re-election campaign reported raising $1.7 million in Q2, increasing its cash-on-hand numbers to $2.3 million.

Colorado Newsline has more on the rollout of the child tax credit.

 

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Get More Smarter on Wednesday (July 14)

It was fun while it lasted; now we can go back to not having professional baseball 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 

*Coloradans can now get a COVID-19 vaccine at one of six locations without a prior appointment. 

 

 President Biden used a speech on Tuesday to make the case that Republicans are attempting an all-out assault on voting rights in this country. As The Washington Post explains:

President Biden on Tuesday delivered his most forceful condemnation yet of the wave of voting restrictions proposed in Republican-led states nationwide — efforts the president argued are the biggest threat to American democracy since the Civil War.

Biden’s speech was an attempt to inject new life into flagging efforts to pass federal legislation addressing the issue. But while he intensified his explanation of the stakes, his speech did not include a call for the Senate to change the filibuster, which is seen by advocates as the best, and perhaps only, way to usher in the kinds of changes Biden is seeking.

At the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, in a room filled with images of Benjamin Franklin and quotes from Daniel Webster and Theodore Roosevelt, Biden compared the new laws to voter suppression by the KKK and to the Jim Crow laws that disenfranchised nearly all voters who were not White or male. He railed against laws that restrict access — calling them “raw and sustained election subversion” — and said that the 2022 midterm elections could highlight the damaging impacts of the new laws.

But as The Washington Post reports in a separate story, many progressives aren’t particularly pleased with the fact that Biden left out a very key point in his speech:

“On voting rights, President Joe Biden is failing to meet the moment,” said Adam Jentleson, who worked for former Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and now heads the Battle Born Collective, a progressive group.

The problem isn’t how Biden describes the threat he perceives from Republican efforts to roll back electoral practices they blame for their 2020 White House loss, partly by empowering their partisans to oversee and overrule the results.

It’s that he hasn’t sided with the left in calling for an end, or a significant change, to the parliamentary tactic thwarting Democratic legislation in the 50-50 Senate — the filibuster, which requires 60 votes to get bills to passage.

These are legitimate criticisms. The Senate can move forward with passing a big voting rights package that has already made it through the House of Representatives, but it probably can’t happen unless the filibuster or the 60-vote threshold is changed.

 

As The Denver Post reports, a whole bunch of restaurants in Colorado got big money from COVID relief funds:

This spring and summer, 1,762 restaurants, bars, breweries, wineries and caterers in Colorado received a combined $480 million in grants from the federal government — money that doesn’t need to be repaid and can be spent on a wide array of business expenses.

Four Colorado businesses received $10 million each, the largest amount possible: Mission Yogurt, based in Westminster; The Kitchen American Bistros in Boulder, which has four restaurants and is owned by Elon Musk’s brother; Breckenridge-Wynkoop breweries in the Denver metro; and Illegal Pete’s, according to data released Monday by the U.S. Small Business Administration under the Freedom of Information Act.

Among the 75 largest beneficiaries in the state – which received a combined $191 million – 74 are along the Front Range (the other is in Aspen). In Denver, 423 companies received $183 million. In Boulder, 97 took in $47 million. In Colorado Springs, 139 businesses received $33 million.

 

As CNN’s Chris Cillizza explains, the final days of the Trump Presidency were even worse than you thought:

This is, in sum, a man deeply unfit for the presidency. (That is not a partisan statement. It is a statement of fact based on the clear portrait we have of how Trump behaved while in the most powerful office in the country.) A man who, by his inability to understand the sanctity of the office he held, threatened to destroy that sanctity for those who would follow him into the White House. And a man who was, without any question, an active danger for every single American – whether they supported or opposed him.

 

Colorado Independent Redistricting Commissioners heard from constituents at a public hearing in Arvada on Tuesday…and much of what they heard was not positive toward the initial new maps presented last month.

 

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Get More Smarter on Tuesday (July 13)

Don’t believe the rumors you might have heard: The Home Run Derby actually did come to an end. 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 

*Coloradans can now get a COVID-19 vaccine at one of six locations without a prior appointment. 

 

The New York Times reports on the first child tax credit payments going out this week, a big victory for Democrats — including longtime champion Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Denver):

With all but the most affluent families eligible to receive up to $300 a month per child, the United States will join many other rich countries that provide a guaranteed income for children, a goal that has long animated progressives. Experts estimate the payments will cut child poverty by nearly half, an achievement with no precedent…

…While the government has increased many aid programs during the coronavirus pandemic, supporters say the payments from an expanded Child Tax Credit, at a one-year cost of about $105 billion, are unique in their potential to stabilize both poor and middle-class families.

“It’s the most transformative policy coming out of Washington since the days of F.D.R.,” said Senator Cory Booker, Democrat of New Jersey. “America is dramatically behind its industrial peers in investing in our children. We have some of the highest child poverty rates, but even families that are not poor are struggling, as the cost of raising children goes higher and higher.”

Among America’s 74 million children, nearly nine in 10 will qualify for the new monthly payments — up to $250 a child, or $300 for those under six — which are scheduled to start on Thursday. Those payments, most of which will be sent to bank accounts through direct deposit, will total half of the year’s subsidy, with the rest to come as a tax refund next year.

Colorado Newsline has more on how the program will work. Democrats are trying to make the child tax credit a permanent policy.

 

At least you don’t live in Mesa County…unless you do, in which case, that sucks and we are very sorry.

 

 Voting rights are still a top issue as the Major League Baseball All-Star Game kicks off on Tuesday night. The Denver Post has more on an unusually-political meaningless baseball game.

 

Texas Republicans are once again trying to restrict voting rights, which has forced Democratic lawmakers to flee the state in a last-ditch effort to preserve election integrity.

 

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The Get More Smarter Podcast: Therapy is Cheaper Than Polling

This week on Episode #80 — yes, 80! — of The Get More Smarter Podcast, hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii talk with Andrew Baumann of Global Strategy Group to get the inside scoop on new polling data showing really good things for Democrats in Colorado.

Later, we note the 6 month anniversary of the Jan. 6 insurrection; we discuss our first look at potential new legislative and congressional redistricting maps; and an old jingle makes a brief return.

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 Thursday (July 8)

It’s really hot today. It’s going to be really hot tomorrow, too. Don’t skimp on the sunscreen. 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 

*Coloradans can now get a COVID-19 vaccine at one of six locations without a prior appointment. 

 

Western Colorado is very dry and in significant danger of suffering serious wildfires. As Colorado Public Radio reports, the federal government is trying to help:

There’s a confluence of events happening in the West this summer: extreme heat, extreme drought and the possibility of another record-breaking wildfire season, all driven by a long-term drying trend worsened by climate change. It’s so serious that President Joe Biden convened a meeting last week with Western governors to talk about wildfire preparedness and response.

“This is an area that has been under-resourced. But that’s going to change, if we have anything to do with it,” Biden said. “We can’t cut corners when it comes to managing our wildfires or supporting our firefighters.”

Members of Colorado’s Congressional delegation have their own ideas for how to deal with the twin problems of drought and wildfires.

[Cattle rancher Mark] Roeber says he’s talked to Democratic Sens. Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper, as well as his local representative, Republican Lauren Boebert, about the need for financial assistance for the ag industry, in particular flexibility in some existing programs, as well as better water efficiency policies and water infrastructure — from storage to piping.

Western Slope leaders probably shouldn’t count on much help from Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert, who remains more interested in scoring political points than policy victories:

Boebert backs increasing water storage capacity, something she hit on during a recent hearing.

“I support efforts to streamline cumbersome and bureaucratic policies in order to allow the construction of new water storage projects,” she said.

Boebert sits on a water subcommittee in the House, but when it held a public hearing on the subject, she did not ask any drought-related questions. Instead, she focused on potential conflicts of interest by Elizabeth Klein, the Interior official testifying at the hearing.

As CPR notes, supporting more water storage isn’t an idea that’s going to do much to help with severe drought conditions NOW.

 

Congressman Ken Buck (R-Greeley) is worried enough about a potential Republican Primary opponent that he’s gone full “election truther.” Buck is spinning a strange tale about Google somehow manipulating search engine results to allow Democrat Joe Biden to defeat Republican Donald Trump, or something like that. This doesn’t make a lot of sense, but then, that isn’t the point, is it?

 

The Denver Post reports on a law signed by Gov. Jared Polis — inspired by the death of Elijah McClain in Aurora — that restricts the use of ketamine by first responders.

 

New data again shows the importance of receiving both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine in order to protect against rising strains of the “Delta Variant.” The “Delta Variant” is overwhelming medical response teams in unvaccinated areas such as Southwest Missouri. As POLITICO reports, the “Delta Variant” is probably much more widespread than federal officials can even estimate.

In related news, a Colorado mother of four is the final winner of a $1 million lottery for receiving her COVID-19 vaccination.

 

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Get More Smarter on Wednesday (June 30)

Peace out, June. 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 

*Coloradans can now get a COVID-19 vaccine at one of six locations without a prior appointment. 

 

We’re not done with the coronavirus just yet, friends. As The Washington Post reports:

Los Angeles County public health authorities are urging unvaccinated and vaccinated people alike to don masks again inside restaurants, stores and other public indoor spaces because of the growing threat posed by the more contagious delta variant of the novel coronavirus.

The high-profile move by the county of 10 million marks an abrupt shift in tone after states and localities have dropped most mask mandates and social distancing requirements in recent weeks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in mid-May rescinded almost all masking recommendations for fully vaccinated people.

But the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health cited a growing share of new cases linked to the delta variant, which was first detected during India’s catastrophic surge of infections and has upended reopening plans across the globe, in “strongly recommending” a return to masking. Los Angeles dropped its mask mandate for vaccinated people with the rest of California on June 15, with limited exceptions for public transportation, hospitals and schools.

Here in Colorado, 35 counties are still below a vaccination rate of 50%. Axios looks at how Colorado is adjusting its vaccination rollout.

 

As Colorado Newsline reports, President Biden will announce new resources for fighting Western wildfires:

President Joe Biden will announce measures to expand the federal government’s wildfire response and mitigation efforts and increase pay for wildland firefighters during a meeting with Western governors and Cabinet officials on Wednesday, a senior administration official said.

Fueled by climate change, extreme heat and drought across much of the West have led to a highly active start to the 2021 wildfire season, with more than 1 million acres already burned across 12 states, according to the National Interagency Fire Center. In Arizona, the Telegraph Fire has burned more than 193,000 acres since igniting on June 4, while officials in northern California on Tuesday issued evacuation orders amid the rapid growth of several fires in the Mount Shasta area.

Biden will meet virtually on Wednesday with governors from Western states, who are gathering for the annual meeting of the bipartisan Western Governors’ Association, based in Denver. He is expected to announce a series of actions aimed at expanding the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s wildfire response capabilities, as well as “critical new investments” in federal grant programs that help communities mitigate fire risks, a senior administration official said in a call with reporters Tuesday.

 

Multiple news outlets are reporting that the Trump organization will be charged with tax-related crimes as soon as this week. From The Huffington Post:

News of the looming criminal charges, reported by NBC News and The Wall Street Journal, come after prosecutors reportedly gave former President Donald Trump’s attorneys until this past Monday to convince them not to file the charges over the company’s financial dealings.

It has been previously reported that the investigation relates to non-monetary corporate perks and gifts awarded to the company’s longtime chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg. The WSJ and The Associated Press reported he is also expected to be charged.

 

Nonpartisan staff from Colorado’s Independent Legislative Redistricting Commission released a PRELIMINARY set of maps for redrawing State House and Senate districts. Justin Wingerter of The Denver Post has more on the map release, including this very important quote:

The proposed maps are only preliminary and are certain to change.

“These will never be approved by anyone,” Jessika Shipley, the legislative redistricting commission’s staff director, told commissioners. “They are merely a baseline starting point for conversations across the state.”

 

The New York Times published an exhaustive look into the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

 

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Get More Smarter on Monday (June 28)

Happy Tau Day, which is like “Pi Day,” but different. 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 

*Coloradans can now get a COVID-19 vaccine at one of six locations without a prior appointment. 

 

Oh, look: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is trying to derail an infrastructure bill because…um…well…as POLITICO reports:

Mitch McConnell is pressuring President Joe Biden and congressional Democratic leaders to further weaken the link between a bipartisan infrastructure deal and a bigger liberal-leaning spending bill, warning Monday that Biden’s party wants to “hold a bipartisan bill hostage over a separate and partisan process.”

The Senate GOP leader called on Biden to request that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Speaker Nancy Pelosi decouple passage of the bipartisan bill from a second, Democrats-only effort set to raise corporate taxes while spending on education, child care and fighting climate change. Biden on Saturday reversed a vow to not sign the bipartisan bill until he also has the separate, more progressive bill in hand.

McConnell’s gambit raises fresh doubts about whether the Senate minority leader will ultimately support the package negotiated by five of his rank-and-file members.

Performative obstruction. This is the Republican brand. There is no broader goal — just getting in the way of anything supported by Congressional Democrats.

 

The Associated Press reports on the passage of new methane rules as part of legislation sponsored by Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Denver):

Congressional Democrats have approved a measure reinstating rules aimed at limiting climate-warming greenhouse gas emissions from oil and gas drilling, a rare effort by Democrats to use the legislative branch to overturn a regulatory rollback under President Donald Trump.

The House gave final legislative approval Friday to a resolution that would undo a Trump-era environmental rule that relaxed requirements of a 2016 Obama administration rule targeting methane emissions from leaks and flares in oil and gas wells.

The resolution was approved, 229-191, and now goes to President Joe Biden, who is expected to sign it. Twelve Republicans joined 217 Democrats to support the measure.

Democrats and environmentalists called the methane rule one of the Trump administration’s most egregious actions to deregulate U.S. businesses and said its removal would help launch a broader effort by the Biden administration and Congress to tackle climate change. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming, packing a stronger punch in the short term than carbon dioxide.

 

Nonpartisan staff from Colorado’s Independent Legislative Redistricting Commission will release a first look at potential new maps for state house and senate districts on Tuesday — a day later than planned. These maps were originally slated for release today.

 

As CNN explains, the U.S. Supreme Court essentially ruled in favor of a transgender student who just wanted to use the bathroom:

The Supreme Court on Monday left in place a decision that allowed a transgender student to use the bathroom that corresponded to his gender identity, a victory for the LGBTQ community that has been fearful the high court would take up the case and reverse a lower court opinion.

The case concerns the scope of Title IX that prohibits schools from discriminating “on the basis of sex.” It began when Gavin Grimm, a transgender male who was then a high-school student, challenged the local school board’s decision to require him to use either a unisex restroom or a restroom that corresponds to the sex, female, he was assigned at birth.

 

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The Get More Smarter Podcast: Libertarians (ft. Jon Murray of The Denver Post)

This week on Episode #79 of The Get More Smarter Podcast, hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii talk with Jon Murray of The Denver Post about his profile of the Libertarian Party and its roots in Colorado.

Later on, we talk about the one person on the Republican bench in 2022; we do some prognosticating on the statewide races this cycle; and we introduce a new segment called “Stuff We Tweeted.”

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 (June 25)

That went fast — today is the last Friday of June. 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 

*Coloradans can now get a COVID-19 vaccine at one of six locations without a prior appointment. 

 

The search for survivors of a building collapse in Miami, Florida continues, with 159 people still unaccounted for. Among the missing is Cassandra Stratton, wife of longtime Colorado Democratic political consultant Michael Stratton.

Meanwhile, authorities continue to investigate the reasons behind the collapse of the condo building. As USA Today reports, it may very well be an issue related to a changing climate:

A Florida high-rise that collapsed early Thursday was determined to be on unstable land a year ago, according to a researcher at Florida International University.

The building, which was constructed in 1981, has been sinking at an alarming rate since the 1990s, according to a study in 2020 by Shimon Wdowinski, a professor in the Department of Earth and Environment.

When Wdowinski saw the news that the Champlain Towers South condominium in Surfside collapsed, he instantly remembered it from the study, he said.

“I looked at it this morning and said, ‘Oh my god.’ We did detect that,” he said.

Meanwhile, owners of units in the building have already filed a lawsuit against the Champlain Towers South condo complex association.

 

As The New York Times reports, the U.S. Justice Department is suing the State of Georgia over a new voting law:

“The rights of all eligible citizens to vote are the central pillars of our democracy,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a news conference at the Justice Department. “They are the rights from which all other rights ultimately flow.”

The lawsuit is among the highest-profile enforcement actions to be brought under the Voting Rights Act since the Supreme Court in 2013 gutted a key provision that allowed the Justice Department to stop states from passing laws viewed as facilitating voter discrimination.

The lawsuit shows that the Justice Department under the Biden administration intends to use the remaining tools it had to aggressively fight state actions that it sees as potentially disenfranchising minority voters. Mr. Garland vowed earlier this month that the department would deploy all of its available law enforcement options to combat voter discrimination.

The lawsuit comes days after congressional Republicans blocked the most ambitious federal voting rights legislation in a generation, dealing a blow to Democrats’ efforts to preserve voting rights. President Biden and Democratic leaders pledged to continue working to steer federal voting rights legislation into law.

 

Colorado’s Independent Redistricting Commissions will be touring the state in July and August to elicit feedback on potential new maps for 2022. The first look at a potential Congressional redistricting map came out this week, with an initial version of the legislative redistricting version due out on Monday.

Here’s what you need to know about the PRELIMINARY first map released this week. Justin Wingerter of The Denver Post has more on a first map that appears to be very favorable for Republicans.

 

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin’s request for a new trial in the killing of George Floyd was rejected by a judge. Chauvin is expected to be sentenced for his crimes today.

 

Vice President Kamala Harris is visiting the U.S.-Mexico border today. Republicans have long complained that Harris didn’t visit the border sooner so that she could…look at stuff, or something.

 

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Get More Smarter on Wednesday (June 23)

Today is the Grand Duke’s Official Birthday in Luxembourg, so send him a Starbucks gift card or something. Let’s Get More Smarter; if you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

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

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

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

*Coloradans can now get a COVID-19 vaccine at one of six locations without a prior appointment. 

 

As The Washington Post reports, Senate Republicans have killed a massive voting rights bill proposed by Congressional Democrats:

Senate Republicans banded together Tuesday to block a sweeping Democratic bill that would revamp the architecture of American democracy, dealing a grave blow to efforts to federally override dozens of GOP-passed state voting laws.

The test vote, which would have cleared the way to start debate on voting legislation, failed 50-50 on straight party lines — 10 votes short of the supermajority needed to advance legislation in the Senate.

It came after a succession of Democrats delivered warnings about what they said was the dire state of American democracy, accusing former president Donald Trump of undermining the country’s democratic system by challenging the results of the 2020 election in a campaign that prompted his supporters in numerous state legislatures to pass laws rolling back ballot access.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell had long ago promised to torpedo S.1 (the “For the People Act“), so Tuesday’s actions weren’t a huge surprise…but a disappointment to many nevertheless.

 

Colorado’s Independent Redistricting Commissions will be touring the state in July and August to elicit feedback on potential new maps for 2022. Things will get a LOT more interesting on the redistricting front this afternoon, when nonpartisan staffers will introduce the first look at a potential new map of Colorado’s Congressional districts.

Click here for more on the redistricting commissions.

 

The El Paso County Republican Party announced that Georgia Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene will be the featured speaker at its big annual fundraising dinner in August. Yes, really.

 

As Colorado Newsline reports, President Biden will soon meet with Western Governors to talk wildfires — which are already exploding in Colorado — and he’s taking up the cause of firefighters as well:

Biden said Tuesday that he will host a meeting next week of Western governors, Cabinet members and Federal Emergency Management Agency officials “to prepare for heat, drought and wildfires in the West.”

Biden at a White House FEMA briefing also sharply criticized the low salaries paid to federal wildland firefighters.

“There’s an old expression: God made man. Then he made a few firefighters. They have a higher incidence of severe injuries than police officers do. They are incredibly, incredibly brave at what they do…. And I just realized — I didn’t realize this, I admit — that federal firefighters get paid 13 dollars an hour,” Biden said.

“That’s gonna end in my administration,” he said, banging the table for emphasis, according to a pool report. “That’s a ridiculously low salary to pay federal firefighters.”

Meanwhile, 9News is tracking the status of various wildfires in Colorado. The smoke from some of these fires is now visible (and smellable) in the Denver Metro Area.

 

 Governor Jared Polis will sign 14 different pieces of legislation into law at various stops in Colorado today.

 

 An Indiana woman will today become the first person to be sentenced for taking part in the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

 

 

Click below to keep learning stuff…

 

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Get More Smarter on Monday (June 21)

Happy Summer Solstice; 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 

*Coloradans can now get a COVID-19 vaccine at one of six locations without a prior appointment. 

 

As John Ingold writes for The Colorado Sun, the Delta coronavirus variant is exploding in Colorado…which is bad news for anyone who is still unvaccinated against COVID-19:

The Delta variant, which is believed to have originated in India and is also known as the B.1.617.2 variant, was first identified in Colorado in late April. By the first week of this month — a period of about six weeks — it had grown to account for an estimated 40% of all new infections in Colorado.

For comparison, it took eight weeks for the Alpha variant — also known as the B.1.1.7 or United Kingdom variant — to reach 40% of the state’s total cases. As of early June, that variant made up an estimated 48% of total cases in Colorado, but its share is falling as Delta’s rises.

Nationwide, the Delta variant is believed to account for about 10% of new cases.

Dr. Rachel Herlihy, the state epidemiologist, said the Delta variant is believed to be about 50% more transmissible than the Alpha variant, which itself was 50% more transmissible than the original form of the virus.

Fully-vaccinated people don’t have to worry much about contracting the new variant.

Meanwhile, Westword looks at how the COVID-19 pandemic is still raging in Mesa County, Colorado, thanks primarily to a stubborn reluctance from many to get vaccinated.

 

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in favor of student athletes in the debate over whether athletes should be compensated for the revenue they help generate for their respective universities.

 

New polling data from Colorado-based conservative pollster Magellan Strategies shows that 60% of Coloradans approve of the way that Gov. Jared Polis has handled the COVID-19 pandemic. The Colorado Sun has more on the Magellan poll, and so does Colorado Pols.

 

According to an account published in a new book, former President Trump suggested moving Americans infected with COVID-19 TO GUANTANAMO BAY in Cuba. From The Washington Post:

In the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, as White House officials debated whether to bring infected Americans home for care, President Donald Trump suggested his own plan for where to send them, eager to suppress the numbers on U.S. soil.

“Don’t we have an island that we own?” the president reportedly asked those assembled in the Situation Room in February 2020, before the U.S. outbreak would explode. “What about Guantánamo?”

“We import goods,” Trump specified, lecturing his staff. “We are not going to import a virus.”

Aides were stunned, and when Trump brought it up a second time, they quickly scuttled the idea, worried about a backlash over quarantining American tourists on the same Caribbean base where the United States holds terrorism suspects.

Read those paragraphs one more time.

 

 

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Get More Smarter on Tuesday (June 15)

Happy Global Wind Day; 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 

*Coloradans can now get a COVID-19 vaccine at one of six locations without a prior appointment. 

 

New information is emerging showing the depths to which former President Trump and his minions sank in their efforts to overturn the 2020 election results. As The Washington Post explains:

President Donald Trump’s staff began sending emails to Jeffrey Rosen, the No. 2 at the Justice Department, asking him to embrace Trump’s claims of voter fraud in the 2020 election at least 10 days before Rosen assumed the role of acting attorney general, according to new emails disclosed by the House Committee on Oversight and Reform in advance of a hearing to probe the causes of the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.

On the same day as the electoral college met to certify the election results — which was also the day Trump announced that William P. Barr would be stepping down as attorney general — his assistant sent Rosen an email with a list of complaints concerning the way the election had been carried out in Antrim County, Mich.

The file included a forensic analysis of the Dominion Voting Systems machines the county employed, alleging they were “intentionally and purposefully” calibrated to create fraudulent results, and “talking points” that could be used to counter any arguments “against us.”…

…The claims were false.

The email — one of several previously undisclosed records released by the Oversight Committee Tuesday morning — sheds light on the type of pressure Trump was putting on the Justice Department to take up his crusade against Joe Biden’s 2020 victory.

The good news here is that DOJ official seem to have responded to Trump’s demands with the appropriate level of dismissal:

 

As The New York Times reports, the Biden administration is putting together plans for combatting domestic extremism:

The Biden administration is aiming to bolster information sharing with technology companies, potentially expand hiring of intelligence analysts and improve screening of government employees for ties to domestic terrorism as part of a much-anticipated plan expected to be released on Tuesday detailing how the federal government should combat extremism.

President Biden ordered the review of how federal agencies addressed domestic extremism soon after coming into office, part of an effort to more aggressively acknowledge a national security threat that has grown since the Capitol riot on Jan. 6.

The 32-page plan synthesizes steps that have been recommended by national security officials — including bolstering relationships with social media companies and improving information sharing among law enforcement agencies — into one blueprint on how to more effectively identify extremists in the country after years of heightened focus on foreign terrorists.

 

Things are getting weird(er) in Grand Junction, as COVIDiots come out to yell at the Mesa County Commissioners.

 

Governor Jared Polis is holding bill signing ceremonies in Northern Colorado today, with stops in Longmont, Greeley, and Ft. Collins on the schedule.

 

Click below to keep learning stuff…

 

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Get More Smarter on Monday (June 14)

Happy Flag Day; 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 

*Coloradans can now get a COVID-19 vaccine at one of six locations without a prior appointment. 

 

As The Washington Post reports, Congress returns to session this week with the looming presence of a proposed deal on infrastructure legislation:

At the center of the debate is an infrastructure compromise brokered by 10 Senate Democrats and Republicans. The bloc, largely composed of moderates, now faces the new, tough task of selling their deal to both fellow lawmakers and the White House, just days after talks between President Biden and another group of GOP leaders reached a political impasse.

“We’re talking to folks, one by one, and just asking folks to be open,” said Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) in advance of the new plan’s release.

Some Democrats already have expressed discomfort with the early details of the nearly $1 trillion, five-year package, arguing it should be bigger and more robust in scope. Republicans, meanwhile, signaled there may not be widespread support for it within their own party, either. And the White House said at the end of last week it has “questions” about lawmakers’ approach, as fresh concerns emerged over the potential changes to the gas tax that could help finance the new proposal.

But congressional Democrats have said they are not willing to wait much longer in courting Republicans. They’ve already started laying the groundwork to proceed on infrastructure potentially on their own, relying on a process known as reconciliation that might allow them to advance their favored fixes with only 51 votes, not the 60 that are typically required in the nearly deadlocked Senate.

 

Colorado lawmakers passed 502 new pieces of legislation in the 2021 session. The Colorado Sun narrows down the list to 65 bills you should know about.

 

 Israel will have a new Prime Minister for the first time in 12 years.

 

Governor Jared Polis is holding bill signing ceremonies across the Denver Metro area today. Among the bills that will get his signature are SB21-251 (General Fund Loan Family Medical Leave Program); HB21-1253 (Renewable And Clean Energy Project Grants); and HB21-1265 (Qualified Retailer Retain Sales Tax For Assistance).

In related news, Alex Burness of The Denver Post explains how bills that didn’t make it through the 2021 legislative session may be returning in 2022:

Before the 2021 session ended Tuesday, the party coalesced on policies that will be felt for years to come in the state’s tax code and transportation system, at marijuana dispensaries and gun shops, in courtrooms and classrooms. Lost in the mix were several big-ticket proposals on things like policing, school discipline and workplace harassment.

“In the grand scheme of things, obviously these are very important issues and they’re very personal to a lot of people and it feels very urgent,” Senate Majority Leader Steve Fenberg, a Boulder Democrat, said of the few big Democratic policies that died this year. “Grand scheme of things, getting some of these bills done and making sure we get the policy right over the course of two or three years I think is probably better than rushing something before it’s ready in one year.”

 

More news is available right after the jump…

 

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The Get More Smarter Podcast: Stop Trying to Make “Gerrymandering” Happen

This week on Episode #77 of The Get More Smarter Podcast, hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii explain why Republicans aren’t going to get “Gerrymandering” to stick in Colorado; we bid farewell to Donald Trump’s sad blog; and we revisit two popular segments in “Legislating With Crayons” and “The Boebert Report.”

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

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

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

Get More Smarter on Friday (June 4)

The Denver Nuggets have advanced to Round 2 of the Western Conference Playoffs after dispatching the Portland Trailblazers on Thursday; Game One is scheduled for Monday evening in Phoenix. 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 

*Coloradans can now get a COVID-19 vaccine at one of six locations without a prior appointment. 

 

As The Washington Post reports, Congressional Democrats unveiled an ambitious new transportation funding plan:

Democrats on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee unveiled a $547 billion transportation funding package Friday that would ramp up spending on rail and transit, while encouraging states to repair existing roads rather than build new ones.

The biggest chunk of the bill is $343 billion for road and bridge construction, as well as highway safety, a boost of more than 50 percent over the last transportation bill Congress passed in 2015. It also calls for $109 billion for transit and $95 billion for rail — including a tripling of funding to Amtrak.

Rep. Peter A. DeFazio (D-Ore.), chairman of the committee, said the proposed legislation embodies a core piece of President Biden’s infrastructure plans, “seizing this once-in-a-generation opportunity to move our transportation planning out of the 1950s and toward our clean energy future.”

 

As The Associated Press reports, COVID-19 is still very much a danger to Coloradans — particularly those who refuse to get vaccinated:

About 500 people remain hospitalized in Colorado with COVID-19 even though the pandemic seems to be receding, and health officials say almost all of the patients share a common trait: They’re unvaccinated.

“We’ve taken a deep look at this,” Dr. JP Valin, chief clinical officer at SCL Health, told Colorado Public Radio. “Ninety-five percent of the patients who have been hospitalized since February are unvaccinated.”

After more than a year of dealing with the pandemic, the near-constant churn of unvaccinated patients is wearing on front-line doctors and nurses, and their frustration arises in part because at least some of the cases may have been avoidable.

“We are tired,” said Dr. Sandeep Vijan of Parkview Medical Center in Pueblo. “We’ve been doing this for a year. We are emotionally tired; tired of seeing people die. We are physically tired.”

The CDC is again encouraging teenagers to get vaccinated quickly.

Get your damn shot, people. Help our first responders out.

 

The 2021 legislative session needs to end by June 12, though lawmakers are hoping to gavel out sometime next week. In the meantime, Democrats keep passing major pieces of legislation that will positively impact nearly everyone in Colorado. Here’s what’s happening in the last few days of the session…

Women in the Colorado legislature are focusing their efforts on ending discrimination in the workplace, as The Denver Post reports. CBS4 Denver has more on how Sen. Faith Winter is working on sexual harassment changes that are guided in part by her own experiences.

House Bill 1325 seeks to provide more resources for the education of higher-needs students.

As Colorado Public Radio reports, legislative Democrats think they have reached a deal with Gov. Jared Polis that will allow a significant climate change bill to move forward.

A massive transportation funding bill is on its way to the desk of Gov. Polis.

Legislation that allows local governments to make their own gun control measures is headed to the desk of Gov. Polis. It will be joined by a bill that prevents HOAs from getting all up in your business, and legislation that bans the use of Native American mascots.

Fox 31 reports on the passage of five economic stimulus bills.

Marianne Goodland of the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman reports on the progress of a late bill dealing with property tax changes.

Westword has the latest on potential changes related to Colorado’s legal marijuana industry.

 

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

 

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Get More Smarter on Tuesday (June 1)

One year ago today, then-President Trump ordered peaceful protestors to be tear-gassed so that he could do a photo op with an upside-down Bible. 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 

*Coloradans can now get a COVID-19 vaccine at one of six locations without a prior appointment. 

 

Texas Democrats did their part in trying to stop the latest Republican effort to severely restrict voting rights. Now they’re calling on Congress to join the battle, as The Washington Post reports:

Texas Democrats who defeated a Republican effort to pass a suite of new voting restrictions with a dramatic late-night walkout from the state House chamber on Sunday have a message for President Biden and his allies in Congress: If we can protect voting rights, you can, too.

The surprise move by roughly 60 Democratic lawmakers headed off the expected passage of S.B. 7, a voting measure that would have been one of the most stringent in the nation, by denying Republicans a required quorum and forcing them to abruptly adjourn without taking a vote.

The coordinated walkout just after 10:30 p.m. Central time jolted the national debate on voting rights, putting the spotlight on Democratic-backed federal legislation that has been stalled in the Senate all spring, even as state Republicans move to enact new voting rules…

…Republicans control every branch of Texas government and hold firm majorities in both the House and Senate. While Gov. Greg Abbott (R) vowed late Sunday to bring the voting measure back at a special legislative session for redistricting later this year — and threatened to defund the legislature in a tweet on Monday — the walkout represented an unmistakable and shocking defeat for Republican leaders who had assumed the bill would pass ahead of the House’s midnight deadline to finish its 2021 business.

 

We’ve seen and heard the conspiracy theories — including from the “MyPillow Guy” — but this is the first time we’ve seen a real reporter confirming that Donald Trump actually buys into this crap. As Maggie Haberman reports for The New York Times, Trump apparently REALLY BELIEVES that he will be “reinstated” as President in August.

 

The Denver Post reports on changes to health restrictions related to COVID-19:

Planners of large indoor events will no longer need the state’s approval to host more than 500 people according to a public health order issued Monday by Colorado’s state health department.

The amended order from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment goes into effect on Tuesday as transmission of COVID-19 and hospitalizations due to the disease level off. The order is scheduled to expire July 1.

“Individuals are encouraged to remain at least 6 feet away from non-household contacts, wash their hands, and wear a face covering to reduce the likelihood of disease transmission,” the order states. “As we continue to combat COVID-19 in our communities, continuing some limited requirements to mitigate disease spread remain appropriate.”

In related news, you may want to double-check that your name is included for a $1 million COVID vaccination award drawing.

 

Let’s catch you up on state legislative news…

Colorado Public Radio looks at how Democrats are moving forward with important new programs for Coloradans.

Colorado could become just the third state in the country to pass a data privacy law.

A bill that would give Colorado more power in restricting charter schools was voted down in a committee hearing.

Denver7 ponders what might happen to the 200 bills still on the legislative calendar with less than two weeks left in the 2021 session.

Republican lawmakers call vaccine requirements “discrimination,” because of course they do.

Democrats are working on legislation that could cut the cost of prescription drugs by as much as 40% in Colorado. This includes a bill that would fix a hole in Colorado’s insulin price cap.

Lawmakers are pushing ahead with a bill that would tell HOAs to stop being so damn bossy.

 

 

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

 

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The Get More Smarter Podcast: Legislating With Lunatics

Rep. Ron Hanks (R-Crazytown)

This week on Episode #76 of The Get More Smarter Podcast, hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii try to understand what it means that so many Republicans think Donald Trump is still President; we explain why Rep. Ken Buck (R-Greeley) is full of crap; and we hear firsthand why Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) will have a hard time making a case for re-election. Also, our popular segment “Legislating With Crayons” gets its own mini-segment called “Legislating With Lunatics.”

This episode of The Get More Smarter Podcast won’t get you all the way through your Memorial Day Weekend road trip, but it’s a start…

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 Thursday (May 27)

Governor Polis has ordered flags to be flown at half staff in remembrance of eight people killed during yet another mass shooting — this time in San Jose, California. 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 

*Coloradans can now get a COVID-19 vaccine at one of six locations without a prior appointment. 

 

President Biden is proposing a whopper of a federal budget, as Jim Tankersley reports for The New York Times:

President Biden will propose a $6 trillion budget on Friday that would take the United States to its highest sustained levels of federal spending since World War II, while running deficits above $1.3 trillion throughout the next decade.

Documents obtained by The New York Times show that Mr. Biden’s first budget request as president calls for the federal government to spend $6 trillion in the 2022 fiscal year, and for total spending to rise to $8.2 trillion by 2031. The growth is driven by Mr. Biden’s two-part agenda to upgrade the nation’s infrastructure and substantially expand the social safety net, contained in his American Jobs Plan and American Families Plan, along with other planned increases in discretionary spending.

The proposal shows the sweep of Mr. Biden’s ambitions to wield government power to help more Americans attain the comforts of a middle-class life and to lift U.S. industry to better compete globally in an economy the administration believes will be dominated by a race to reduce energy emissions and combat climate change.

Mr. Biden’s plan to fund his agenda by raising taxes on corporations and high earners would begin to shrink budget deficits in the 2030s. Administration officials have said the jobs and families plans would be fully offset by tax increases over the course of 15 years, which the budget request backs up.

 

Congressman Jason Crow (D-Aurora) is speaking out (again) about Republican efforts to ignore the January 6 insurrection. Via Talking Points Memo:

Rep. Jason Crow (D-CO), who served as an impeachment manager in the first impeachment of ex-President Donald Trump, warned on Wednesday night that failing to investigate the Capitol insurrection that Trump incited would be dangerous.

“We have a domestic terror movement in America,” the Democrat told CNN. “It has been enabled, it has been furthered, it has been legitimized by leaders at the highest levels of our country, starting with Donald Trump. That’s the sad reality.”

“If we are not honest about what it is we’re dealing with, if we’re not honest about the dangers of that movement, we will not address it in a way that we need to and we will be at risk,” he continued.

The Democrat asserted that the House’s bill to create a bipartisan commission to study the insurrection is “not just an exercise in history and making sure that the history books accurately reflect on January 6.”

“We have a current problem we have to address and we have to be honest about that and we have to do what is necessary to keep ourselves safe,” he said.

Crow could be referring to any number of Republicans, but his comments seem particularly well-suited for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. As Dana Milbank explains for The Washington Post:

The Senate minority leader told Republican colleagues that they should oppose the creation of a Jan. 6 commission, no matter how it is structured, because it “could hurt the party’s midterm election message,” as Politico’s Burgess Everett reported.

And so, as early as Thursday, McConnell will use the filibuster to thwart a bipartisan effort to prevent further attacks on the U.S. government by domestic terrorists — because he thinks it’s good politics for Republicans…

…McConnell, asked this month about the ouster of Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) from GOP leadership, and whether he was concerned that many Republicans believe Donald Trump’s election lie, replied, twice: “One hundred percent of my focus is on stopping this new administration.”  [Pols emphasis] True to his word, McConnell has blocked everything — even if it means undercutting Republican negotiators.

Performative obstruction is the Republican brand.

 

Is it any wonder that Republicans and Americans want very different things in 2022 and 2024? At least some Republicans are privately worried that Donald Trump really will attempt to run for President again in 2024.

 

The artist formerly known as “The Colorado Option” is on the verge of passing through the legislature after a few more tweaks. As Colorado Public Radio reports:

A proposal to create a new government-backed insurance plan passed another significant hurdle as Democrats voted to advance the “Colorado Option” through the state Senate on Wednesday.

The approval means that the bill is nearly guaranteed to become law. Once it’s in effect, new health insurance plans would be offered on the individual and small-group markets. That includes up to 15 percent of the state’s population, including hundreds of thousands who don’t have insurance right now. It would not directly affect employer-provided insurance…

…Democrats claim that the bill could lower insurance premiums 15 percent by 2025, allowing more people to afford a new insurance plan that is also designed to lower out-of-pocket costs. The bill would force insurance companies to sell the Colorado plan across the state, and it would allow the state to regulate the price of medical services to achieve those savings. Instead of a true “public option,” it’s more like a public-private option.

You may call it whatever you’d like; the bottom line is that the bill will cut health care premiums by at least 15% for Coloradans.

Here are a few more updates on news from the state legislature as Sine Die draws ever closer…

Legislation that limits the ability of emergency responders to use the drug ketamine is heading to the desk of Gov. Jared Polis.

Republicans who make opposing abortion their central tenet are trying to derail a bill that seeks to provide better maternal care services for women.

Colorado Public Radio reports on the latest iteration of a bill seeking to reform sentencing and prison populations in Colorado.

Legislation to speed up the process of bond hearings is nearing the finish line.

A bill to fund early childhood education made it out of a committee hearing.

Governor Polis signed a bill that ends a requirement for colleges in Colorado to use ACT or SAT scores as a guideline for admitting new students. The bill also ends “legacy admissions” for higher education institutions in the state.

 

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

 

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Get More Smarter on Monday (May 24)

The end is near…for the 2020-21 school year, that is. 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 

*Coloradans can now get a COVID-19 vaccine at one of six locations without a prior appointment. 

 

Colorado officials are announcing plans for spending $3.8 billion in federal stimulus money. As Alex Burness writes for The Denver Post:

Colorado’s top Democrats, both state and congressional, assembled on the steps of the State Capitol Building on Monday morning to explain their plan. About $2 billion will be allocated in the coming weeks, while the remainder will be spent next session.

“We don’t need to passively look toward better days,” Gov. Jared Polis said. “We have to actively bring them into existence.”

Some of the bigger spending proposals include $1 billion to fortify the state budget via K-12 spending; $817 million on COVID-19 recovery and relief; roughly $550 million to “build housing supply” and “remove barriers to increase housing affordability and address homelessness”; approximately $550 million to address mental and behavioral health; and $414 million for “shovel-ready” transportation, infrastructure, parks and agricultural projects.

 

Carrot or stick? Governor Jared Polis chose the carrot as his preferred method for encouraging more Coloradans to get back to work. In related news, Colorado’s most recent unemployment numbers are about the same as they were in March.

 

 The number of COVID-19 outbreaks in Colorado fell last week for the first time since late March. In an effort to get more Coloradans vaccinated, the state appears to be leaning toward implementing a lottery-type sweepstakes that has proven popular in Ohio.

 

Time is running out on the 2021 legislative session, and Republicans are working hard to waste every last minute. Here’s more on what’s happening in state legislative news:

Colorado Public Radio examines discussions underway around a big climate change bill in the legislature — particularly how it pertains to a ginormous coal plant in Pueblo.

Governor Jared Polis will sign the following bills on Monday: HB21-1099 (Policies And Procedures To Identify Domestic Abuse); HB21-1212 (Diversity Of Governor’s Appointments To Boards); HB21-1056 (Cost Thresholds For Public Project Bidding Requirements); and HB21-1186 (Regional Transportation District Operation).

Colorado Newsline looks at changes to legislation attempting to “de-populate” Colorado’s prison system.

CBS4 Denver takes credit for legislation dealing with regulations in assisted living centers.

Westword is tracking the progress of all the weed bills.

 

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

 

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The Get More Smarter Podcast: The Big Lie is The Only Truth

This week on Episode #75 of The Get More Smarter Podcast, hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii discuss why “The Big Lie” is The Only Truth for Republicans. We also preview the remaining few weeks in the 2021 state legislative session; find a reason to discuss Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs); and consider the prospects of the most likely Republican candidate for…something in 2022.

But the big news this week is the return of “Canadian Jason Bane,” who tells us whether or not he might move back to the United States now that Donald Trump is no longer President.

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 (May 21)

On this day in 2017, the Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus performed for the final time. 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 

*Coloradans can now get a COVID-19 vaccine at one of six locations without a prior appointment. 

 

Colorado is seeing a rise in the number of younger people hospitalized because of COVID-19, which is why officials such as Gov. Jared Polis are making a renewed push to promote vaccinations. Westword takes a closer look at Colorado’s vaccination numbers, particularly among younger residents.

Colorado Public Radio has more on the shift toward targeting a younger demographic.

In related news, the World Health Organization says that worldwide deaths from COVID-19 could actually be triple the current number. The W.H.O. estimates as many as 8 million people have now died from the coronavirus pandemic.

 

Congressperson Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R-ifle) is not like most people. You see, most people would not repeat something that is quite obviously false without pausing to consider the plausibility of their statement. This week, Boebert claimed in an interview on something called Real America’s Voice that Texas has not seen a single COVID-19 death since dropping mask restrictions two months ago. Thousands of people have died from COVID-19 in Texas in the last two months, which is something that would not surprise 99% of the people reading this sentence.

 

Let’s get caught up on more news from the state legislature, which has just a few weeks left in the 2021 session…

The Denver Post looks at some of the big bills that still have progress to make before the end of the legislative session.

The Associated Press reports on proposed legislation that would study the response of law enforcement officials during police protests.

Denver7 reports on the latest discussions over a big health care savings bill.

Democrats are pushing a bill that would require ballot measures seeking to raise or lower taxes to clearly explain the programs that would be effected by fiscal changes.

Colorado Newsline reports on the consistent progress of legislation seeking to give more rights to agricultural workers.

 

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

 

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Get More Smarter on Thursday (May 20)

For some of you, the end of the 2020-21 school year is just one week away. 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 

*Coloradans can now get a COVID-19 vaccine at one of six locations without a prior appointment. 

 

It has been 198 days since Election Day in 2020. So much time has passed since the 2020 election that we are much closer to November 2021 than we are to 2020. But as The Washington Post reports, the concept of time is irrelevant if you are a true believer in The Big Lie:

At a public meeting last week in Cheboygan County, Mich., a lawyer from Detroit told county commissioners that the voting machines they used in 2020 could “flip” votes and throw an election. She offered to send in a “forensic team,” at no charge to the county, to inspect ballots and scanners.

In Windham, N.H., supporters of former president Donald Trump showed up to a town meeting this month chanting “Stop the Steal!” and demanding that officials choose their preferred auditor to scrutinize a 400-vote discrepancy in a state representative race.

And at a board of supervisors meeting May 4 in San Luis Obispo County, on California’s Central Coast, scores of residents questioned whether election machines had properly counted their votes, with many demanding a “forensic audit.”

The ramifications of Trump’s ceaseless attacks on the 2020 election are increasingly visible throughout the country: In emails, phone calls and public meetings, his supporters are questioning how their elections are administered and pressing public officials to revisit the vote count — wrongly insisting that Trump won the presidential race.

Why are Trumpians only concerned about the 2020 election? If time isn’t relevant, then why not demand a recount of Barack Obama’s 2008 victory? Hell, Jimmy Carter in 1976 — let’s start that one all over again!

Americans voted. Your guy lost. No matter how many times you count the ballots, your guy will have still lost. Move on.

 

Fighting continues to rage in Israel, though as The Associated Press reports, there is some hope for a cease-fire:

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has pushed back against calls from the U.S. to wind down the Gaza offensive, appearing determined to inflict maximum damage on Hamas in a war that could help save his political career. Still, officials close to the negotiations say they expect a truce to be announced in the next 24 hours…

…With hundreds already killed in the worst fighting since Israel and Hamas’ 2014 war, U.S. President Joe Biden told Israel on Wednesday that he expected “a significant de-escalation today on the path to a cease-fire” — but Netanyahu pushed back, saying he was “determined to continue this operation until its aim is met.” It marked the first public rift between the two close allies since the fighting began and poses a difficult test of the U.S.-Israel relationship early in Biden’s presidency.

Still, an Egyptian intelligence official said a cease-fire was likely late Thursday or early Friday, after the U.S. appeal bolstered Cairo’s own efforts to halt the fighting. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the delicate talks.

 

As The Colorado Sun reports, the artist formerly known as the “Colorado Option” is still moving along through the state legislature:

The bill would require the state to create a standard health insurance plan that companies would be required to offer at rates eventually 18% less than the plans they currently offer. If the 18% price reduction targets aren’t met by 2025, the state could dictate prices that hospitals and doctors charge to patients covered by the standard plan. The bill would require hospitals and doctors to accept the plan, resulting in fines and possible sanction on their licenses if they do not.

The goal is to make coverage cheaper for several hundred thousand Coloradans and also to chip away at Democrats’ long-held goal of reducing the underlying costs of health care.

Insurance companies are countering that they already have extremely thin profit margins — an argument that nobody with a functioning brain actually believes. It’s hard to believe that when you consider that Colorado Hospitals have the highest profit margins in the entire country.

 

Let’s get caught up on more news from the state legislature, which has just a few weeks left in the 2021 session…

The Colorado Times Recorder reports on bipartisan legislation dealing with information sharing between ICE and state agencies.

Colorado Newsline looks at potential new restrictions for medical marijuana patients.

The State House advanced legislation seeking to fund a transition program for coal miners.

Charles Ashby of The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reports on the latest regarding a bill that would alter the timing of bond hearings.

Colorado could become just the second state in the country to cap prices for insulin.

 

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

 

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