Get More Smarter on Tuesday (February 9)

Happy Second Impeachment Day. 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 second impeachment trial against former President Trump begins today. As The Washington Post explains, the strategy expected to be deployed by Trump attorneys is shaky at best:

The arguments by opposing lawyers in the Senate impeachment trial of former president Donald Trump this week are expected to revolve largely around a pair of constitutional questions: A First Amendment defense of his fiery speech ahead of the violent Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol and a challenge to the legality of putting a former president on trial.

Trump is the first president in U.S. history to be impeached twice, and the only one to be tried in the Senate after leaving office. While an impeachment proceeding is distinct from a typical criminal trial, with a different set of rules, Trump’s case will feature broad legal questions about whether his actions violate the Constitution.

Most legal scholars who have studied the issue think post-presidential impeachment and conviction are allowed based on history and past practice in Congress. “The overwhelming scholarly consensus supports this argument,” said Steve Vladeck, a constitutional law professor at the University of Texas School of Law.

As NBC News reports, House impeachment managers are expected to introduce some new evidence this week:

The case that House Democrats have built against former President Donald Trump in his second impeachment trial, which kicks off Tuesday afternoon, will resemble a “violent crime criminal prosecution,” a senior aide on the impeachment manager team said.

The House managers also plan to use evidence against Trump that hasn’t been seen before, aides told reporters ahead of the start of proceedings, although they did not provide any details.

In their presentation, the managers will attempt to show that Trump spent weeks laying the groundwork for the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, and that after he saw what was happening “he incited it further,” an aide said.

Colorado will be represented well during Impeachment 2.0, with both Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Denver) and Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Boulderish) serving as House impeachment managers. Ernest Luning has more on the roles for DeGette and Neguse in this story from the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman:

DeGette said the “managers,” as they’re known, intend to “finish the job” started by the House on Jan. 13, when 10 Republicans joined every Democrat to impeach Trump on a single article for “incitement of insurrection.”…

…DeGette, who worked as a civil rights attorney before election to Congress, and Neguse, an experienced litigator and former head of Colorado’s Department of Regulatory Agencies, were appointed to the high-profile positions by Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

From a more national perspective, Vanity Fair previews Impeachment 2.0 with a story featuring Congressman Neguse.

 

The news just keep getting worse for Colorado Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R-ifle), who now faces an official Congressional Ethics complaint related to her questionable campaign expenditures to herself for $22,000 of “mileage” reimbursements and related questions about whether that money was used to pay off liens on her restaurant.

 

As Meg Wingerter reports for The Denver Post, Colorado is doing a pretty good job of containing the COVID-19 pandemic:

Colorado continues to make progress in reducing new cases and hospitalizations from COVID-19, but whether that continues will depend on what people to do — and how widely more-contagious versions of the virus are spreading.

As of Monday afternoon, 535 people were hospitalized with confirmed or suspected COVID-19. That’s a little over a quarter of the number of people receiving hospital care for the virus at the worst point in December, but more than twice the number at the low point over the summer.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment reported 8,460 new cases in the week ending Sunday. It was the lowest weekly total since mid-October.

We’re nowhere close to being out of the woods yet, of course. Keep wearing those masks and practicing social distancing!

 

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

 

(more…)

Get More Smarter on Friday (February 5)

With any luck, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will lose to the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, thus sparing us many more weeks months of fawning stories about Tom Brady. 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 

 

► Senate Republicans did their best to delay and derail a badly-needed coronavirus relief plan, but Democrats stood firm as the adults in the room and got the package moving anyway. As The Washington Post reports:

The House of Representatives is poised to approve a budget plan on Friday that directs committees to start working on the details underlying President Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus package to shore up the ailing economy and strengthen vaccine distribution.

The Senate, in the early-morning hours Friday, approved the budget bill through a narrow partisan vote, by a 51-to-50 margin, with Vice President Harris (D) casting the tiebreaking vote in the chamber after more than 15 hours of debate.

The stimulus package would include checks up to $1,400 for low- and moderate-income families, extended jobless benefits and $160 billion to strengthen the public health response to the pandemic, improving the vaccine distribution and increased testing, among other measures.

The Friday votes signal a more partisan effort is underway in pursuing final passage of Biden’s relief package through a narrow majority. Top Democrats in both chambers say they are moving with an increased sense of urgency. The economic recovery — highlighted by a report on Friday — continues to show anemic jobs growth and scarring of the labor market.

Senate Republicans held up passage of the relief bill out of political spite more than anything — they never presented a reasonable plan of their own from which to negotiate a final version of the legislation. President Biden has apparently learned his lesson from watching Republicans obstruct good-faith efforts from Democrats when Barack Obama was President:

As Ezra Klein explains for The New York Times, the deliberations around the relief bill demonstrates once more that the Senate filibuster has outlived its usefulness:

“Democrats have an opportunity to restore our democracy and deliver on the promises they campaigned on,” the Rev. Dr. Stephany Rose Spaulding, founder of Truth and Conciliation, told me by email. “But they can’t do that without breaking down structural barriers to progress — that starts with eliminating the filibuster. If we allow the filibuster to block voting rights, gun violence prevention, Covid relief and more, we’re sending a clear message to millions of voters that their votes and voices don’t count in our democracy.”

To be clear, if Democrats will not get rid of the filibuster, it is better that they use budget reconciliation than that they fail the American people totally. But the fact that Democrats are using budget reconciliation at all is evidence that even Sinema and Manchin know the filibuster has gone too far, that the chamber cannot operate under supermajority rules, all of the time.

This is a terrible way to legislate. Enough with kludges. End the filibuster, and make the Senate great again.

 

Colorado Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R-ifle) now faces an official Congressional Ethics complaint related to her questionable campaign expenditures to herself for $22,000 of “mileage” reimbursements. Boebert’s troubles in this regard could be just beginning; it sure looks like she might have used these curious reimbursements to help her pay off liens related to her restaurant in Rifle, Colorado.

In related news, Boebert picked up her first serious Democratic challenger for 2022 when State Sen. Kerry Donovan (D-Vail) formally announced her CO-3 campaign.

 

Colorado College released its annual State of the Rockies conservation polling data. Check out this press release for some of the topline numbers. The Denver Post summarizes the data:

A 61% majority of voters across Colorado and seven other western states are more worried than hopeful about nature, pointing to climate change impacts, and 57% plan to get outdoors more often when the COVID-19 pandemic abates, a new opinion poll has found.

Uncontrollable wildfires, loss of pollinators, and low water in rivers ranked among top concerns, according to results unveiled Thursday from the Colorado College State of the Rockies Project poll.

The poll also found strong support for protecting nature — 85% favor restoring Clean Water Act coverage for smaller streams and wetlands and 93% support requiring oil and gas companies to pay all costs of cleanup and land restoration. The results show 84% of respondents want the government to create new national parks, monuments, wildlife refuges, tribal protected areas at historic sites and other recreation areas.

“We’re seeing strong voter concern for nature, which is translating into calls for bold action on public lands in the West,” said State of the Rockies Project director Katrina Miller-Stevens, a Colorado College economics professor. “If federal and state policy leaders are looking for direction on public lands, the view from the West is clear.”

TL;DR: Pollution is not popular.

 

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

 

(more…)

Get More Smarter on Wednesday (February 3)

Happy Setsubun. Please celebrate responsibly. 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 

 

► Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell finally reached agreement on an operating structure for the new Congress. As POLITICO reports:

The final agreement on the so-called organizing resolution for the evenly-split Senate allows Democrats to take control of committees and comes after weeks of negotiation between the two leaders…

…The lack of an organizing resolution had created an unusual situation in the Senate, where Republicans still technically held committee gavels and were overseeing the confirmation process for President Joe Biden’s nominees, even though Democrats hold the majority. It also meant that new members of the Senate had not yet received their committee assignments. Schumer announced new committee assignments for Democrats on Tuesday.

McConnell initially asked that Senate Democrats commit to protecting the legislative filibuster as part of the agreement, which Schumer rejected.

Just remember this when you hear Senate Republicans whining about bipartisanship; Democrats had to scratch and claw to take the control that voters already awarded to them.

 

As Meg Wingerter reports for The Denver Post, Colorado will soon expand the eligibility requirements for receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. And as The Colorado Springs Independent notes, the state is pushing quickly to ramp up a new at-home testing program.

 

As The New York Times reports, the House of Representatives will vote to strip Georgia Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of her committee assignments after Republicans leaders dithered on the subject:

The House will vote on Thursday to strip Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene of her committee assignments, a top Democrat announced, forcing congressional Republicans to take a public stand on the Georgia freshman who endorsed conspiracy theories and calls to execute Democratic politicians before she was elected.

Representative Steny Hoyer of Maryland, the No. 2 Democrat, said on Wednesday that he had spoken with Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, the Republican leader, and that “it is clear there is no alternative to holding a floor vote on the resolution to remove Representative Greene from her committee assignments.”

House Democrats, incensed by a series of social media posts made by Ms. Greene before she won her seat in November, threatened earlier this week that they would take the unusual step of moving unilaterally to remove Ms. Greene from the education and budget committees if Republicans themselves did not take action. Party leaders generally have authority over who represents them on committees.

The vote will make Republicans go on the record for the first time on whether Ms. Greene should be rebuked for her past comments.

This is not great news for Colorado Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert, who faces a lot of the same problems as Greene as well as some that are all her own. Boebert’s latest issue involves new questions about writing herself a $22,000 check from her campaign account for “mileage reimbursements.” As The Denver Post explains:

Boebert’s former campaign manager and her finance director declined to comment or provide evidence Boebert drove nearly 39,000 miles last year.

As we’ve noted previously, Boebert claims that she drove enough in 9 months to circle the earth 1.5 times.

 

As The Washington Post reports, the Biden White House may release visitor logs from former President Trump’s tenure:

The Biden administration is looking at whether it could make public White House visitor logs from early last month, a step that could reveal whether people connected with the Jan. 6 storming of the Capitol visited 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

“I’m not even sure if it is technically possible. That feels like the first question. So let me talk to our technical gurus and see what I can find out,” said White House press secretary Jen Psaki.

We already know that some of the most prominent people spreading the baseless conspiracy theory that Trump was cheated out of reelection darkened the West Wing’s doorstep in his waning days: My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell, retired general Michael Flynn, and Sidney Powell. But the logs could flesh out more fully who was bending the president’s ear and shaping his mind in the run-up to the deadly Capitol riot.

Also…we may find out that 90% of the Trump White House visitor logs are GrubHub deliveries.

 

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

 

(more…)

Get More Smarter on Tuesday (February 2)

The Groundhog has spoken (er, whatever): There will be six more weeks of winter. 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 

 

► House impeachment managers — a group that includes Colorado Reps. Diana DeGette (D-Denver) and Joe Neguse (D-Boulderish) — have provided a first glance at the arguments that will be presented next week in former President Trump’s second impeachment trial. As The Washington Post reports:

House Democrats made their case to convict former president Donald Trump of inciting the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol in a sweeping impeachment brief filed with the Senate on Tuesday that accused Trump of whipping his supporters into a “frenzy” and described him as “singularly responsible” for the mayhem that ensued.

In the brief, the nine House impeachment managers argue that Trump is not protected by the First Amendment’s freedom of speech provision, which was never intended, they wrote, to allow a president to “provoke lawless action if he loses at the polls.”

“If provoking an insurrectionary riot against a Joint Session of Congress after losing an election is not an impeachable offense, it is hard to imagine what would be,” the brief states.

Democrats also rejected the claim embraced by many Republicans that it is unconstitutional to convict a president after he has left office — an argument that Trump’s lawyers are expected to make in his defense.

“There is no ‘January Exception’ to impeachment or any other provision of the Constitution,” the House Democrats wrote. “A president must answer comprehensively for his conduct in office from his first day in office through his last.”

Trump’s legal team is expected to file its initial response to the impeachment trial summons later today.

Meanwhile, as Aaron Blake writes for The Washington Post, Trump’s new lawyer and his Senate lapdog, South Carolina Republican Lindsey Graham, are making some rather odd threats about the upcoming trial:

They suggested that holding a lengthy trial including witnesses could open up “Pandora’s box,” in Graham’s words, because Trump’s team could then call its own. But the types of witnesses they floated don’t seem to pose much of a threat.

Graham focused on the idea that Trump’s defense would then call witnesses that could reinforce that certain elements of the Capitol siege planned and coordinated the attack beforehand…

…This is a strategy that has been floating around in conservative circles for weeks. The suggested implication: If these people preplanned it, that means they couldn’t possibly have been incited by the president. (“If these federal law enforcement agencies had prior knowledge that this was a planned attack then POTUS didn’t incite anything,” Donald Trump Jr. claimed a few weeks back.)

It’s the very definition of a straw-man argument.

Don’t make us call our own witnesses who will corroborate…the case for impeachment!

 

If you don’t know anything else about Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R-Fox News), you are probably aware of her carefully-crafted image as an everywoman who carries a gun around with her. On Monday, Q*Bert popped that bubble when she made it clear that she has never take a gun onto the House floor despite weeks of insinuations otherwise.

The word you’re looking for is “poser.”

 

 The El Paso County Republican Party is literally partnering with armed militia groups.

 

Senate MINORITY Leader Mitch McConnell is speaking out against bonkers Georgia Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene. As Chris Cillizza explains for CNN:

“Loony lies and conspiracy theories are cancer for the Republican Party and our country,” McConnell said of the conspiracy-loving Greene. “Somebody who’s suggested that perhaps no airplane hit the Pentagon on 9/11, that horrifying school shootings were pre-staged, and that the Clintons crashed JFK Jr.’s airplane is not living in reality. This has nothing to do with the challenges facing American families or the robust debates on substance that can strengthen our party.”

See, McConnell knows that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-California) is set to meet with Greene this week to talk about her views — and, likely, to dole out some sort of punishment. According to Politico, McCarthy remains undecided about the best way to deal with Greene — and whether stripping her of committee assignments, for example, for comments she made prior to coming to Congress would set a dangerous precedent.

McConnell’s comments are designed to push McCarthy right off the fence on which he is currently sitting. It’s aimed at forcing McCarthy’s hand. It’s McConnell saying, essentially: This is not what the Republican Party is going to be in the future — and it stops now.

Whether or not House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has the stones to actually reprimand Greene is another story entirely.

 

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

 

(more…)

Get More Smarter on Monday (February 1)

“Black History Month” kicks off today with “National Freedom Day.” 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 Biden will meet today with 10 Republican Senators who are pushing a much more modest coronavirus relief proposal than the $1.9 trillion plan favored by the White House. As The Washington Post reports:

Ahead of Biden’s meeting Monday with GOP senators, White House press secretary Jen Psaki stressed that the president remains committed to robust coronavirus relief legislation and that the size of the package should be “closer to what he proposed” than what Republicans are advocating.

“What this meeting is not is a forum for the president to make or accept an offer,” Psaki told reporters during a briefing at the White House.

Biden has proposed a $1.9 trillion package, with includes a new round of checks sent directly to most Americans. The group of 10 GOP senators have countered with $618 million proposal.

“It’s important to him that he hears this group out on their concerns, on their ideas. He’s always open to making this package stronger,” Psaki said. “But his view is that the size of the package needs to be commensurate with the crises we’re facing. … Hence why he proposed a package that’s $1.9 trillion.”

Senate Republicans now whining about “bipartisanship” is rich indeed.

Meanwhile, it seems that more Republicans are increasingly losing their patience with other Republicans in Congress who are trying to pretend that they are once again worried about the federal deficit when they should be focused on helping Americans:

 

As Alex Burness reports for The Denver Post, Colorado is planning to ease COVID-related restrictions in a plan that could be rolled out this week.

The state is plotting Dial 3.0 in March, with another possible dial update to follow a few months later.

Colorado has a color-coded dial, ranging from Green (most lenient) to Purple (most severe), which determines capacity levels and social behaviors in counties, depending on the level of virus transmission in those counties. The restrictions that correspond with each color are not set to change in Dial 2.0, but the state does plan to relax the metric requirements.

For example, to qualify for Level Orange — the current level for most Colorado counties, and the third most restrictive on the dial — a county must have an incidence rate of new positive COVID-19 cases between 175 and 350 per 100,000 people. Any higher than 350 per 100,000, and a county qualifies for Level Red. Under Dial 2.0, counties would qualify for Level Orange if their incidence rates climbed as high as 499 per 100,000. The current Level Red threshold is defined as above 350 per 100,000 people, and in Dial 2.0 it would be bumped up to 500.

 

Congresswoman Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R-Fox News) cancelled a “town hall” meeting in Montrose over the weekend that she had only really announced a few hours beforehand. The cancelled event would have been her first forum with constituents since winning election in November 2020.

 

As CNN reports, many of the terrorists who attacked the U.S. Capitol on January 6 DIDN’T EVEN BOTHER TO VOTE in 2020.

 

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

 

(more…)

Get More Smarter on Friday (January 29)

By the time you return to your desk on Monday, January will finally be over. Probably. 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 

 

Democrats in Congress are moving ahead with a broad coronavirus stimulus package while Republicans disingenuously complain about “bipartisanship.” As Greg Sargent explains for The Washington Post:

Republicans have settled on the story they’re going to tell about the current moment: If President Biden and Democrats act ambitiously and use their power to address these crises and the mass suffering they are causing, then it’s a personal affront to them.

Republicans are now fanning out en masse to claim that if Democrats use the “reconciliation” process to move all or parts of Biden’s proposed $1.9 trillion economic rescue package by a simple Senate majority, then it will constitute a “betrayal” of his promise to seek “unity.”

Two new reports — one from the New York Times, and the other from Politico — neatly capture the absurdity of this spin. As the Times notes, Biden is reaching out to Republicans for support for his rescue package, which includes $1,400 stimulus checks, extended unemployment insurance and large expenditures to scale up a national coronavirus response, among many other things…

Until we know that 10 GOP senators are willing to support something remotely close to what Biden and Democrats want, there simply isn’t anything to talk about. What’s the Republican plan? There isn’t one. With whom are Democrats supposed to negotiate? Over what, exactly? [Pols emphasis]

 

► As The New York Times reports:

Via The New York Times (1/29/21)

 

It’s no surprise that hostilities between Democrats and Republicans in Congress are reaching new heights. As House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Thursday:

“The enemy is within the House of Representatives, a threat that members are concerned about, in addition to what is happening outside.”

 

Denver will host a couple of mass COVID-19 vaccination events this weekend, but you’ll still need an appointment. The City of Denver, meanwhile, is reopening its emergency operations center in order to better facilitate the distribution of vaccinations.

 

Congresswoman Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R-Fox News) is a cyberbully. Here’s more from The Denver Post and The Daily Beast, among others.

 

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

 

(more…)

Get More Smarter on Wednesday (January 27)

Today is “International Holocaust Remembrance Day.” 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, the U.S. Justice Department is moving closer to charging several individuals involved in the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol with sedition. 

U.S. authorities have opened case files on at least 400 potential suspects and expect to bring sedition charges against some “very soon” in the sprawling investigation of the Jan. 6 breach of the U.S. Capitol, officials said.

Acting U.S. attorney Michael R. Sherwin said Tuesday at a news conference that while new arrests in the nationwide manhunt will soon “plateau” after an initial wave of 135 arrests and 150 federal criminally charged cases, investigations continue into whether different “militia groups [and] individuals” from several states conspired and coordinated the illegal assault on Congress beforehand.

In charging papers, prosecutors have already identified a dozen members or affiliates of militant right-wing groups, including the nativist Proud Boys and the anti-government Oath Keepers and Three Percenters, the latter two of which recruit heavily among former military and law enforcement personnel.

As The Denver Post examined last weekend, Colorado has more than its share of militia members from groups such as Oath Keepers and Three Percenters.

 

► Colorado’s Congressional delegation is pushing for President Biden to reconsider a move from the Trump administration to make Huntsville, AL the permanent home of the Space Force. From a press release issued by all Colorado members:

Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet and the entire Colorado Congressional Delegation urged President Joe Biden to suspend the Trump Administration’s decision to move U.S. Space Command from Colorado Springs, Colorado, to Huntsville, Alabama until the administration conducts a thorough review.

On January 13, the Air Force announced that Huntsville, Alabama, would be the permanent headquarters of U.S. Space Command. Following this announcement, reports surfaced that President Donald Trump politicized the process, choosing to relocate U.S. Space Command from its provisional headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

In a letter to President Biden, the lawmakers detailed how the Trump Administration’s announcement raises questions of national security, personnel, and undue political influence. They also describe the seemingly arbitrary changes to the selection process and the lack of transparency and sufficient data to justify the relocation decision.

The Denver Post has more on this request. If you’re trying to read the tea leaves here, Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Jefferson County) still thinks the Space Force will remain in Colorado.

 

As Meg Wingerter reports for The Denver Post, a new COVID-19 model shows that Coloradans can save 4,000 lives by continuing to take safety precautions:

In the best-case scenario, the public maintains roughly the level of precautions they’re practicing now, efforts to vaccinate older people stay on track and a more-contagious strain of the new virus never takes hold. Even if everything goes right, however, the pandemic’s death toll could reach 6,000 by June 1, according to the projections from the Colorado School of Public Health.

The state reported about 5,500 COVID-related deaths as of Tuesday afternoon.

Under the worst-care scenario, where people start mixing freely and the more-contagious B.1.1.7 strain takes off, the death toll could reach 10,900 by June, according to the new projections. The state has found 10 cases of the new strain out of hundreds tested, indicating it isn’t yet widespread in Colorado.

Just wear the damn mask, please.

 

Senate Republicans are bracing for a wave of potential retirement announcements as they strategize on how to take back control of the U.S. Senate in 2022.

 

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

 

(more…)

Get More Smarter on Tuesday (January 26)

Happy “Australia Day.” Please celebrate responsibly. 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 

 

Meg Wingerter of The Denver Post updates Colorado’s battle with the COVID-19 pandemic:

Colorado is making progress beating back the coronavirus, but residents likely will need to keep wearing masks and practicing social distancing into the summer, a member of the state’s COVID-19 modeling team said Monday.

Overall, the news is good as January comes to a close, though virus-related hospitalizations aren’t dropping as fast as they were a few weeks ago, said Beth Carlton, an associate professor of environmental and occupational health at Colorado School of Public Health.

The percentage of COVID-19 tests coming back positive fell below 5% last week, indicating there probably weren’t large numbers of undetected cases, though it popped above that threshold again Sunday.

“Colorado is in a good place compared to our neighbors,” Carlton said.

This is certainly encouraging, though being better than Wyoming, Kansas, and Nebraska is a pretty low bar.

Elsewhere, Colorado Public Radio reports on a new toll-free number for COVID-19 vaccine information in Colorado: 1-877-CO-VAX-CO or 1-877-268-2926. CBS4 Denver has more on a mass vaccination effort at Coors Field in Denver.

 

President Biden is expected to sign new executive orders on housing, voting, and police practices. Biden will also reopen federal marketplaces selling health insurance coverage through the Affordable Care Act.

 

 Congresswoman Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R-Fox News) claimed not to know some prominent anti-government militants. The Internet remembered for her

Boebert is also in hot water for apparently accepting a firearm as a gift from a “Bikers for Trump” group.

 

As POLITICO reports, big investors are trying to get through to Congressional lawmakers about the fallacy of worrying over the national debt:

The debt poses no imminent danger to U.S. finances, they say, so the more pressing concern should be jump-starting the economy to avoid the type of sluggish recovery that persisted for years following the Great Recession.

“Without further action, we risk a longer, more painful recession now — and long-term scarring of the economy later,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told senators last week at her confirmation hearing.

The U.S. government spent its way to a record-busting $3.1 trillion budget deficit in fiscal 2020 — and that was before Congress passed another $900 billion coronavirus relief package in December. But interest rates have barely budged from their rock-bottom levels, signaling that investors — the people who actually finance the debt — aren’t the least bit concerned about all that government borrowing.

More than a decade of historically low rates, coupled with surging demand for safe investments like U.S. Treasury bonds, ensure that Biden can probably spend as much as he wants to revive the pandemic-battered economy and concentrate on the debt later, despite new alarms being raised by Republicans in particular.

In other words, Republicans who are suddenly worried about the national debt again should go back to pretending that Donald Trump is President.

 

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

 

(more…)

Get More Smarter on Monday (January 25)

Happy “Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day.” Please celebrate responsibly. 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 House of Representatives will send an article of impeachment targeting former President Trump to the U.S. Senate today

Colorado Newsline, Colorado Public Radio, and CBS Denver have more on Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Denver), who will be joined by Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Boulderish) as House Members who will ultimately prosecute the case in front of the U.S. Senate. The Senate trial is expected to begin the week of February 8.

As The Associated Press reports in a separate story, many lawmakers are receiving threats of violence in advance of Trump’s second impeachment trial. It’s pretty hard for Trump’s attorneys to argue that he did NOT incite an insurrection when legions of Trump followers are threatening the lives of lawmakers who are considering impeachment for that very reason.

 

The Denver Post examines the rise of extremist militia groups in Colorado:

Before Robert Gieswein donned goggles, grabbed a baseball bat and stormed the U.S. Capitol, he posed for photos across Colorado flashing a hand sign associated with an extremist militia ideology that he and hundreds of other Coloradans buy into.

The far-right militia movement has gained visibility in Colorado over the past year after its members appeared at protests across the state.

Men wearing patches for the Three Percenter movement as well as identifiers of other far-right groups appeared at Black Lives Matter protests in Denver last summer. Dozens of men in military-style gear provided security for a Jan. 6 rally at the Colorado Capitol for people who falsely believe President Donald Trump won the 2020 election.

In 2019, Three Percenter militia members guarded a rally against Colorado’s red flag law where state lawmakers spoke. And political candidates have aligned themselves with militias, including newly-elected U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert, who declared, “I am the militia.”

Speaking of Q*Bert, she picked a bad time to accept the gift of a handgun from one of these militia-type groups.

 

 President Biden reversed an Executive Order from former President Trump that prevented transgender Americans from enlisting in the military.

 

This seems like a big deal:

Here’s more from a press release out of the office of Gov. Jared Polis:

Today, the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy & Financing (the Department) released an Invitation to Negotiate (ITN), soliciting multiple vendors to help operationalize Colorado’s Canadian Drug Importation Program including aspects such as compliance, safety and prescription drug distribution. In 2019, the Colorado General Assembly passed SB19-005, which authorized the Department to seek approval from the federal government to establish an importation program that will provide access to Canada’s lower priced drugs to Colorado employers and consumers. Since then, the Department has been working diligently on this initiative to help save Coloradans money on health care.

“The U.S. pays the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs, and we are sick and tired of being ripped off. Almost one in three Coloradans do not take their prescription drugs as directed because they can’t afford to,” said Governor Jared Polis. “My administration will lead the way in changing that. Safely importing prescription drugs from Canada is one of the ways we can help Coloradans save money on health care.”

Importation of certain prescription drugs was made possible through a change in federal policy in November 2020. The federal final rule implements a provision of federal law from 2003 that allows FDA-authorized programs to import certain prescription drugs from Canada to Colorado. Colorado is one of several states implementing state-led importation programs.

 

 

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

 

(more…)

Get More Smarter on Friday (January 22)

Happy “National Blonde Brownie Day.” Please celebrate responsibly. 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 

 

► Senate Republicans seem unwilling to even discuss President Biden’s proposal for additional COVID-19 stimulus relief.

This discussion could have larger repercussions by pushing Democrats further toward abolishing the filibuster altogether. As CNN reports, Senate MINORITY Leader Mitch McConnell is making it difficult for Democrats to argue against ditching the filibuster:

The tense standoff over the issue is stalling a power-sharing agreement between the parties in the 50-50 Senate, where Vice President Kamala Harris has a tie-breaking vote. Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, now in the minority, is insisting language assuring the protection of minority rights — through the requirement that 60 votes are needed to overcome filibusters of bills — be added to a must-pass organizing resolution.

“Mitch McConnell was fine with getting rid of the filibuster to a United States Supreme Court nominee for a lifetime appointment, but he’s not okay getting rid of the filibuster for unemployment relief for families that are out of work because of COVID-19,” said Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. “I’ve just had enough of Mitch McConnell.”

Hear! Hear!

To put it more plainly:

 

► Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer says that the article of impeachment against former President Trump will be delivered to the Senate on Monday. As The Washington Post reports:

Schumer pushed back on arguments by some Republicans that a trial of a president who has already left office would be unconstitutional. Democrats are seeking to convict Trump and bar him from holding federal office again.

“It makes no sense whatsoever that a president or any official could commit a heinous crime against our country, and then be permitted to resign, so as to avoid accountability and a vote to disbar them from future office,” Schumer said. “Makes no sense.”

 

President Biden is moving along at warp ludicrous speed in his first days in office, from strengthening LGBTQ protections and appointing new directors to oversee the FCC and FTC, to ousting Trump-appointed officials at “Voice of America” and pushing forward with federally-operated COVID-19 vaccination sites.

 

Thursday was yet another strange day in the world of the new House Republican Qaucus.

Meanwhile, Rep. Steve Cohen uses an Op Ed in The Denver Post to…clarify?…his accusation that Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert aided insurrectionists.

 

 

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

 

(more…)

Get More Smarter on Thursday (January 21)

Today is the 21st day of the year 2021. Make a wish, or something. 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 is doing more in his first 24 hours than former President Donald Trump accomplished in the last three months (BTW, we enjoyed typing “former” as much as you enjoyed reading it). Here’s a quick (and by no means comprehensive) list thus far:

♦ As part of an aggressive effort to slow the COVID-19 pandemic, Biden signed executive orders mandating the use of masks in all federal buildings as well as requiring masks on airplanes and many trains, buses, and other forms of intercity transportation.

♦ Biden is seeking to extend a nuclear treaty with Russia just days before it expires.

♦ Biden has dispatched Dr. Anthony Fauci to begin the process of rejoining the World Health Organization.

♦ Biden extended moratoriums on foreclosures and evictions, and set a freeze on student loan collections.

POLITICO has a pretty thorough list of everything Biden accomplished on his first half-day in office.

For more on Biden’s inauguration, check this story from The Associated Press. For more reaction from Colorado elected officials, peep The Denver Post.

 

Meg Wingerter of The Denver Post has more on the status of the COVID-19 pandemic here in Colorado:

Outbreaks at schools and universities are back at levels last seen before COVID-19 surged throughout Colorado in November, but it’s not clear what will happen as more students return to their classrooms.

As of Wednesday, 78 schools serving K-12 students and eight university settings reported current coronavirus outbreaks, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Most of those are ongoing and predate students’ return to school this month.

The state defines an outbreak as two or more cases linked to a place or event, so students testing positive at the start of a semester don’t count as a school-based outbreak — though they could be tied to a different outbreak if they attended the same party, for example.

Outbreaks in Colorado’s K-12 schools generally have tracked with the overall number of cases in the state. Only three schools reported outbreaks in August, but the number accelerated throughout the fall, with 203 buildings reporting clusters of COVID-19 cases in November.

Check this separate story in The Denver Post for more information on the status of vaccinations in Colorado.

 

► You’re going to be seeing a LOT more of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders after Wednesday’s meme-riffic appearance.

 

 A pro-Trump rally that was supposed to take place at the State Capitol on Wednesday kinda fizzled out. For more on the Denver “protest,” check out Colorado Newsline.

 

 

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

 

(more…)

Get More Smarter on Tuesday (January 19)

Donald Trump will cease to be President of the United States at 10:00 MST tomorrow. Please celebrate responsibly. 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 

 

► Today is the last full day for Donald Trump to play President of the United States. The Big Orange guy is setting a new record on his way out of the White House, as CNN reports:

Trump ends his term with the lowest average job approval rating — 41% — of any president in the last seven-plus decades, according to Gallup. That’s four points worse than the next, uh, worst — Harry Truman, who averaged a 45% job approval score throughout his time in office. Barack Obama averaged 47.9% job approval in his eight years, while George W. Bush averaged 49.4.

There are other “firsts” for Trump in the Gallup data. Trump is the first president to never break 50% job approval in any single poll conducted by the organization over his term. (The final Gallup poll pegged Trump’s job approval at a dismal 34%.) Trump is also the most polarizing president as measured by Gallup; the average gap between his job approval ratings among Republicans and Democrats was a whopping 81 points — 11 points higher than Obama’s partisan gap, which is now the second-highest ever. (Trump’s average job approval rating among Democrats for his term was 7%.)

President Trump is planning to pardon a whole bunch of people today before he leaves office; thus far, that list does not include pre-emptive pardons for family members.

 

► As The New York Times reports, several of President-elect Joe Biden’s cabinet nominees are getting started on their confirmation hearings today:

The Senate has a jam-packed schedule of hearings on Tuesday to begin considering President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s nominees for his Cabinet, but the process has been badly delayed, likely making Mr. Biden the first president in decades to take office without his national security team in place on Day 1.

The delay by congressional Republicans in recognizing Mr. Biden’s election victory, coupled with two Georgia runoff elections that left the Senate majority up in the air until Jan. 5, held up confirmation hearings for Mr. Biden’s team. That has made it impossible for the Senate to move quickly to fill top national security posts, including the secretary of defense, a job normally filled immediately after the president takes office to illustrate continuity of American power.

Hearings for five nominees — Lloyd J. Austin III to be secretary of defense; Antony J. Blinken to be secretary of state; Janet Yellen to be Treasury secretary; Alejandro N. Mayorkas to be secretary of homeland security; and Avril D. Haines to be director of national intelligence — are scheduled for Tuesday. But it will be difficult for them to get floor votes by Wednesday, after Mr. Biden is sworn in at the Capitol.

 

► Pro-Trump protestors hinted at doing something over the weekend, but not much happened. Nevertheless, some high-profile Denver buildings will be operating much differently ahead of Wednesday’s Presidential inauguration.

 

► Colorado’s COVID-19 numbers are still moving in the right direction, but as Meg Wingerter writes for The Denver Post, it’s not yet clear if we have reason to feel more optimistic about the pandemic locally.

 

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

 

(more…)

Get More Smarter on Friday (January 15)

Happy “National Booch Day.” Please celebrate responsibly. 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 

 

► Operation Warp Speed WTF:

Via The Washington Post (1/15/21)

As The Washington Post reports:

When Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced this week that the federal government would begin releasing coronavirus vaccine doses held in reserve for second shots, no such reserve existed, according to state and federal officials briefed on distribution plans. The Trump administration had already begun shipping out what was available beginning at the end of December, taking second doses directly off the manufacturing line.

Now, health officials across the country who had anticipated their extremely limited vaccine supply as much as doubling beginning next week are confronting the reality that their allocations will not immediately increase, dashing hopes of dramatically expanding access for millions of elderly people and those with high-risk medical conditions. Health officials in some cities and states were informed in recent days about the reality of the situation, while others are still in the dark…

…These officials were told that Operation Warp Speed, the Trump administration’s initiative to speed the development of vaccines and therapeutics, stopped stockpiling second doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at the end of last year, instead taking second doses directly off the manufacturing line. The last shots held in reserve of Moderna’s supply, meanwhile, began shipping out over the weekend.

As The Washington Post reports in a separate story, expect more problems with the rollout of a COVID-19 vaccine because Trump administration officials are literally REFUSING TO CONSULT with staff for President-elect Joe Biden.

Click here for more on the response to this news from Gov. Jared Polis.

Also worth noting: The global death toll from COVID-19 has surpassed 2 million.

 

► As The New York Times reports, Vice President Mike Pence is doing his best to pretend to be President since Donald Trump is no longer interested in the work:

Vice President Mike Pence telephoned Vice President-elect Kamala Harris Thursday to congratulate her and offer his belated assistance — filling a leadership role all but abdicated by President Trump, who is planning to fly out of the capital shortly before Joseph R. Biden Jr. is sworn in next week.

The Pence-Harris conversation, relayed by two officials briefed on the call, was described as gracious and pleasant. The discussion is the first time Mr. Pence and Ms. Harris have spoken since they debated each other last fall.

It also represents the only one-on-one interaction between the dueling 2020 presidential tickets: Mr. Trump has refused to call President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. and has not even fully conceded defeat.

As for Trump, he plans to leave Washington D.C. the morning before Joe Biden’s inauguration because he has the emotional stability of a toddler.

 

► Senator Michael Bennet (D-Denver) says that the U.S. Senate can “walk and chew gum at the same time” in response to questions about handling both President Trump’s impeachment and confirmation of President-elect Joe Biden’s top appointees.

 

► The Aurora Sentinel reports on how the Colorado legislature is wrapping up a brief return to the State Capitol before taking a recess until February 16.

 

► Federal prosecutors say that a number of terrorists who attacked the Capitol last week planned to “capture and assassinate” elected officials.

 

 

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

 

(more…)

TRANSCRIPT: Rep. Jason Crow on The Get More Smarter Podcast

Earlier this week we noted an interview for The Get More Smarter Podcast with Rep. Jason Crow (D-Aurora).

In the interview with hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii, Crow discussed the events of January 6; his confrontation with a fellow House Member the morning before the attack; how Crow explains last week’s events to his children; and why impeaching President Trump was unavoidable after he incited an insurrection.

You can listen to the full 15-minute interview below. After the jump, we have included a transcription of Crow’s comments.

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

 

(more…)

Get More Smarter on Thursday (January 14)

Happy “Feast of the Ass.” Please celebrate responsibly. 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 

 

► We witnessed history on Wednesday when Donald Trump became the first President in American history to be impeached TWICE — thereby cementing his place as the worst President we’ve ever had.

Congress has voted to impeach three different Presidents, but none with as bipartisan a vote as occurred on Wednesday. Chris Cillizza of CNN looks at one of the more surprising YES votes from the GOP caucus:

When Tom Rice voted “yes” on the impeachment of Donald Trump over the President’s role in inciting the riot that led to the storming of the US Capitol, most close congressional watchers assumed he had made a mistake.

After all, there was little to indicate that the reliably conservative South Carolina Republican would join nine other colleagues in breaking with the President (and the party) to back impeaching Trump. Unlike Reps. Liz Cheney (Wyoming) and Adam Kinzinger (Illinois), Rice hadn’t been an outspoken critic of Trump. And unlike Reps. John Katko (New York) and David Valadao (California), Rice doesn’t represent a swing district.

“Compared to the often raucous members of the state’s congressional delegation, Rice has been more low-profile and focused on his legislative work,” wrote the Almanac of American Politics of Rice, who has represented eastern South Carolina’s 7th district since 2012.

But Rice hadn’t made a mistake or accidentally pressed the wrong button. His vote to impeach was real — and without question, the most surprising of the 10 Republicans who bucked the President.

Dana Milbank of The Washington Post ponders the thought process of the 10 Republicans who voted in favor of impeachment.

You probably don’t need us to tell you how Colorado’s Congressional delegation voted on impeachment. The four Democrats voted YES, while the three Republicans voted NO. We double-checked that Rep. Ken Buck (R-Greeley) voted NO, since he seems to change his mind on a topic at least once every 24 hours.

 

► Trump’s impeachment trial now moves to the U.S. Senate, where it won’t likely be taken up until late next week at the earliest. As The Washington Post and others have reported, outgoing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has signaled that he might support impeachment, if only to expedite the process of removing Trump’s presence from the Republican Party.

 

9News reports on local law enforcement efforts to secure the area around the State Capitol building in advance of planned “protests” in the next week.

 

► If you thought Colorado Republicans might have learned a lesson from their second consecutive drubbing at the polls in 2020…well, they didn’t. Led by new House Minority Leader Hugh McKean, House Republicans tried a bunch of pointless shenanigans on Wednesday as the state legislature briefly gaveled into session before a recess until Feb. 16 for coronavirus safety precautions.

As Alex Burness of The Denver Post notes:

 

 

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

 

(more…)

EXCLUSIVE: Rep. Jason Crow on The Get More Smarter Podcast

Rep. Jason Crow comforts a fellow House Member during last Wednesday’s attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Our first podcast episode of 2021 is a big one: We have an EXCLUSIVE interview with Rep. Jason Crow (D-Aurora), detailing the harrowing moments surrounding last week’s siege of the U.S. Capitol.

Hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii talk with Rep. Crow about the events of January 6; his confrontation with a fellow House Member the morning before the attack; how Crow explains last week’s events to his children; and why impeaching President Trump was unavoidable after he incited an insurrection.

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 (January 11)

President Trump will be out of the White House in less than 9 days. 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 

 

► Congresswoman Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert has officially been in office for a little more than a week, and she is already facing significant pressure to resign or be expelled from Congress because of her open support of rejecting results of the Presidental election and inciting attacks on the U.S. Capitol. As Westword explains:

Only a few days into her term as U.S. Representative for Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District, Lauren Boebert is already being inundated with calls for her to resign the position or risk being expelled by her new colleagues for allegedly helping to incite the violence that took place in Washington, D.C. on January 6. And these efforts are getting national attention, with CNN putting a report about the controversial firebrand in heavy rotation over this past weekend.

Trending on Twitter (1/11/21)

Boebert is being identified as a key voice responsible for inciting last week’s attack on Congress — and fellow Republican Rep. Ken Buck (R-Greeley) has even acknowledged her role in stirring up Trump terrorists. Here’s more from Wyoming Public Media:

Their messaging – and the president’s – is what got us here, said Thomas Zeitzoff, a scholar of political violence and political psychology at American University.

GOP lawmakers like Lummis, Boebert, Daines and others acted as Trump’s “coordinators,” Zeitzoff said.

By buoying Trump’s false claims of election fraud, they essentially told their supporters: “Here are the enemies who did it and here are the actions that should be taken,” he said.

Zeitzoff said they created this narrative anchored by a shared set of grievances and Wednesday was the culmination of that.

Trending on Twitter (1/11/21)

A story from Raw Story over the weekend pointing to Boebert’s social media posts on Wednesday is picking up a lot of traction, as is the previously mentioned story from CNN (video). Celebrities such as Debra Messing, Patricia Arquette, and Patton Oswalt are amplifying the concerns about Boebert. A petition calling for the resignation of Boebert and fellow election results-denier Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) is apparently getting a lot of traction.

How is Boebert reacting to these claims? Well, she isn’t even trying to pretend that she had nothing to do with last week’s attack. This is pretty much the only thing she’s said even addressing the issue. Perhaps she’s taking the advice of fellow Rep. Eric Swalwell and shutting the hell up. She may also want to familiarize herself with the 14th Amendment.

 

► As POLITICO reports, the House of Representatives has enough votes to impeach President Trump for inciting last week’s violence in Washington D.C.:

Key members of the House Judiciary Committee introduced a single article of impeachment Monday that has already gathered at least 218 cosponsors, according to a congressional aide involved in the process, meeting the majority needed in the House. Pelosi signaled Sunday night that the House would vote on that article if Trump refuses to resign and Vice President Mike Pence won’t initiate other procedures to remove him…

…At a brief House session on Monday morning, the House formally accepted the resignation of Sergeant-at-Arms Paul Irving, who was partly responsible for security arrangements on Jan. 6. And moments later, Rep. Alex Mooney (R-W.Va.) blocked unanimous consideration of a resolution from Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) that would have urged Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment process to remove Trump from power. The House intends to vote on the resolution Tuesday.

Because Republicans blocked a resolution to encourage invoking the 25th Amendment, the House will almost certainly vote on impeachment on Wednesday. A Senate trial on impeachment would not conclude before Trump’s last day in office, on Jan. 20, but the process will still continue.

As 9News explains, Rep. Ken Buck is trying to convince Democrats NOT to impeach Trump because it could be “divisive” for the country. Hopefully you didn’t just pull a muscle rolling your eyes.

 

► New polling from Quinnipiac University confirms that a majority of Americans support removing President Trump from office ASAP:

A majority of voters, 56 percent, say they hold President Trump responsible for the storming of the U.S. Capitol, while 42 percent say they do not hold him responsible.

A slight majority, 52 – 45 percent, say President Trump should be removed from office. Voters also say 53 – 43 percent that he should resign as president.

 

► As The Washington Post reports, there is more concerning news about how last week’s attack on the U.S. Capitol made it past security measures:

Two days before Congress was set to formalize President-elect Joe Biden’s victory, Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund was growing increasingly worried about the size of the pro-Trump crowds expected to stream into Washington in protest.

To be on the safe side, Sund asked House and Senate security officials for permission to request that the D.C. National Guard be placed on standby in case he needed quick backup.

But, Sund said Sunday, they turned him down.

In his first interview since pro-Trump rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol last week, Sund, who has since resigned his post, said his supervisors were reluctant to take formal steps to put the Guard on call even as police intelligence suggested that the crowd President Trump had invited to Washington to protest his defeat probably would be much larger than earlier demonstrations.

On Sunday, Rep. Jason Crow (D-Aurora) shared details of a conversation he had with the Secretary of the Army regarding last week’s attack on the U.S. Capitol.

 

 

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

 

(more…)

Get More Smarter on Friday (January 8)

Happy “Typing Day.” Please celebrate responsibly. 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 POLITICO reports, momentum continues to build for impeaching President Trump:

House Democrats are moving quickly toward impeaching President Donald Trump as early next week, a reflection of the seething outrage that remains over his incitement of deadly riots inside the U.S. Capitol.

Timing remains in flux and Speaker Nancy Pelosi has yet to make a decision on exactly how to proceed, including whether to pursue a constitutional process that could remove Trump without impeachment. Top Democrats are still in talks with all their members and will hold a caucus-wide call at noon. But they are expected to decide today on their next steps, according to several lawmakers and aides.

Whether or not Trump could officially be impeached before his time in office expires at noon on January 20 is less important than holding Trump accountable for this week’s assault on the U.S. Capitol:

If Democrats pass articles early next week — and Pelosi immediately sent them to the Senate — the Senate would be required to begin a trial immediately under congressional rules. Trump’s first impeachment trial, on charges he abused his power and obstructed a congressional investigation, ultimately lasted four weeks before the Senate delivered its verdict.

That timetable suggests the goal of any impeachment is unlikely to be Trump’s removal and is much more focused on the option to prevent him from holding federal office in the future. Some Democrats believe that possibility could woo Senate Republicans, some of whom are eyeing a 2024 bid themselves.

 

CNN reports on another tragic loss resulting from the Trump mob’s attack on the Capitol building:

Prosecutors in the US Attorney’s office plan to open a federal murder investigation into the death of Brian D. Sicknick, a US Capitol Police officer who died Thursday night, a law enforcement official tells CNN.

Sicknick was injured Wednesday when a mob of President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the US Capitol. He died at approximately 9:30 p.m. ET Thursday “due to injuries sustained while on-duty,” Capitol Police officials said in a statement.
The death is being investigated by the DC Metropolitan Police Department’s homicide branch, the US Capitol Police and their federal partners.

Sicknick was many Capitol Police officers who were attacked with lead pipes and other blunt instruments.

 

 As Marianne Goodland reports for the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman, there is a growing list of high-profile names and organizations calling on the resignation of Rep. Lauren Boebert and Rep. Doug Lamborn for taking part in trying to overturn the results of the 2020 election:

The letter said the two lawmakers “have betrayed the trust of Colorado voters by helping incite violence against the body you were elected to, a body designed to serve us. By endorsing the president’s unsubstantiated and repeatedly debunked, discredited, and false claims of voter fraud, you encouraged and tacitly endorsed the actions of these terrorists and threatened the basic foundation of our democracy.”…

…Signatories to the letter include seven Democratic members of the Colorado General Assembly, city council members in Aurora, Broomfield, Denver and Edgewater; former Democratic U.S. Senate candidates Trish Zornio and Lorena Garcia, and two dozen progressive organizations, including unions, Planned Parenthood and ProgressNow Colorado.

Meanwhile, Boebert appears to have no concept of the harm she and fellow Trumpians have caused. In a video released today, Boebert sounds absolutely looney:

Boebert says that she wants people to view her floor speech on Wednesday. We agree. Here it is.

#ResignBoebert.

 

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

 

(more…)

Get More Smarter on Wednesday (January 6)

Welcome to the first “Get More Smarter” of 2021! 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 

 

► Holy crap, Georgia!

Democrats are close to capturing majority control of the U.S. Senate after Raphael Warnock defeated Republican Kelly Loeffler in Georgia’s runoff election on Tuesday; Warnock becomes the first Black Senator from the State of Georgia.

In the other Senate contest, Democrat Jon Ossoff holds a narrow lead over Republican David Perdue, with the majority of the outstanding ballots still to be counted concentrated in Democratic-leaning counties. As National Public Radio reports, Ossoff has declared victory:

Democrat Jon Ossoff — who as of 9 a.m. ET Wednesday leads Republican David Perdue by about 16,000 votes in the Georgia runoff that could give Democrats control of the U.S. Senate — claimed victory Wednesday. The Associated Press, which NPR relies on for its results, has not yet called the contest.

“It is with humility that I thank the people of Georgia for electing me to serve you in the United States Senate,” Ossoff said in remarks Wednesday morning.

When Vice President Kamala Harris is sworn-in to office on January 20, she will become the tie-breaking vote in the Senate that will change Mitch McConnell’s title to “Minority Leader.”

Via The New York Times (9:15 am, 1/6/21)

 

► With a new Democratic majority in the U.S. Senate, expanded coronavirus stimulus payments could be just around the corner.

 

► Tuesday’s big victories in Georgia for Democrats will undoubtedly sour the mood today when certain Republican Members of Congress — including Colorado Reps. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert and Doug Lamborn — will make a no-hope attempt at preventing Democrat Joe Biden from becoming President. As POLITICO explains:

…the bicameral session of the House and Senate — which could stretch into the early hours of Thursday — will be the stage for this last stand by Trump allies who have refused to accept the election results.

Inside the Capitol, the effort has splintered Trump’s party, with more than 100 House Republicans and at least a dozen Senate Republicans objecting to Biden’s victory while Senate GOP leadership warned their caucus against the effort. Already, senators are signaling they’ll challenge results in Arizona, Georgia and Pennsylvania.

But the most intense focus will be on Vice President Mike Pence, who will preside over the 1 p.m. joint meeting, where he’ll be required by the Constitution to count the electoral votes certified by the states. Biden earned 306 electoral votes to Trump’s 232, and a wave of legal challenges by Trump to reverse several states’ results failed at every level of state and federal court.

Are you familiar with the phrase, “it’s all over but the shouting”?

Congressman Joe Neguse (D-Boulderish) will play a key role in today’s nonsense-fest as one of four Democrats assigned to handle the arguments against overturning the election results.

Here in Colorado, local Republicans are promoting a QAnon rally in Denver aimed at showing support for President Trump, or something.

 

POLITICO reports on an absolutely amazing bit of karmic justice:

Joe Biden has selected Judge Merrick Garland to serve as his attorney general, according to two people with knowledge of the decision.

Biden selected Garland over former Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL) and former deputy attorney general Sally Yates, choosing to elevate the chief judge of the United States Court of Appeals in D.C. to run the Justice Department.

In 2016, President Barack Obama nominated Garland to serve on the Supreme Court, but his nomination languished in the GOP-controlled Senate at the end of the former president’s term. In recent weeks, Garland has been recusing himself from cases involving the federal government, fueling speculation that he was a leading candidate for the job.

 

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

 

(more…)

Get More Smarter on Monday (December 21)

Happy “Winter Solstice.” If you can make it through today, the day with the least amount of sunlight in the worst year in memory, then it’s all downhill from here. 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 

 

► Congress really, truly, actually appears to have come to agreement on a coronavirus stimulus bill. As The Associated Press reports:

Top Capitol Hill negotiators sealed a deal Sunday on an almost $1 trillion COVID-19 economic relief package, finally delivering long-overdue help to businesses and individuals and providing money to deliver vaccines to a nation eager for them.

The agreement, announced by congressional leaders, would establish a temporary $300 per week supplemental jobless benefit and a $600 direct stimulus payment to most Americans, along with a new round of subsidies for hard-hit businesses and money for schools, health care providers and renters facing eviction.

It came after months of battling and posturing, but the negotiating dynamic changed in Republicans’ favor after the election and as the end of the congressional session neared. President-elect Joe Biden was eager for a deal to deliver long-awaited help to suffering people and a boost to the economy, even though it was less than half the size that Democrats wanted this fall.

House leaders informed lawmakers that they would vote on the legislation on Monday, and the Senate was likely to vote on Monday, too. Lawmakers were eager to leave Washington and close out a tumultuous year.

Nothing motivates Congressional Republicans more than threatening to cut into their vacation time. The New York Times has more analysis on what the new stimulus package does and does not accomplish.

 

► Soon-to-be-unemployed Attorney General William Barr is making some effort to show Americans that he still has a tiny bit of a soul. As The Washington Post explains:

Barr said that while he was “sure there was fraud in this election,” he had not seen evidence that it was so “systemic or broad-based” that it would change the result. He asserted he saw “no basis right now for seizing machines by the federal government,” and he would not name a special counsel to explore the allegations of Trump and his allies.

“If I thought a special counsel at this stage was the right tool and was appropriate, I would name one, but I haven’t, and I’m not going to,” Barr said.

Similarly, Barr said he would not name a special counsel to investigate Hunter Biden, President-election Joe Biden’s son who revealed earlier this month he was under investigation for possible tax crimes. Barr said the investigation was “being handled responsibly and professionally” by regular Justice Department prosecutors, and he hoped that would continue in the next administration.

“To this point, I have not seen a reason to appoint a special counsel, and I have no plan to do so before I leave,” Barr said.

Barr announced his resignation earlier this month; his last official day is December 23.

 

In his press conference on Monday, Barr also touched on a topic that appears to have little disagreement outside of the guy who sits at the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office:

 

Over the weekend, The Nation published a story wondering if civil war is brewing within the Republican Party. As The Denver Post reported on Sunday, we have long since reached that point in Colorado:

This is a low point for the Colorado GOP, now with less electoral power than at any time since World War II. Democrats control both chambers of the statehouse by comfortable margins — 41-24 in the House, 20-15 in the Senate. The governor, attorney general, treasurer and secretary of state are all Democrats. Next year, both of the state’s U.S. senators and four of its seven U.S. representatives will be Democrats. In November, the University of Colorado Board of Regents, previously the last statewide body controlled by the GOP, flipped blue for the first time in 41 years.

Just 18 years ago, roughly the opposite was true.

The Denver Post examined data and spoke to more than 20 Republicans, including many current and former elected officials, and found most attribute the powerlessness of a party that was competitive here just a few years ago, and dominant as recently as 2002, to a mix of factors: allegedly mismanaged campaign money; fundamental disagreements within the party over its direction and message; the increasing strength of the Democratic Party; demographic shifts that contributed heavily to the GOP’s disadvantage in voter registration; and the unpopularity of President Donald Trump, whom one pollster referred to as a “rocket booster” for Colorado Democrats.

Republicans drop much of the blame for recent losses in the lap of the Neville Clan. Outgoing House Speaker Patrick Neville responded to the Post story by doxxing the reporter.

 

 

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

 

(more…)

Get More Smarter on Friday (December 18)

If you count today, there are eight more shopping days left until “Boxing Day.” 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 

 

► A coronavirus stimulus bill is still lingering around, but Congressional lawmakers still haven’t found a way to wrap up the proposed package.

Via The Washington Post (12/18/20)

As The Washington Post reports, the talks will likely continue into the weekend:

Congress appears likely to let funding for the federal government expire Friday at midnight, triggering the beginning of a shutdown, as lawmakers scramble to complete a $900 billion economic relief package, multiple aides and lawmakers involved in deliberations.

Senior Congressional officials are placing a high-stakes gamble that pressure from a looming government shutdown will force lawmakers to compromise on the sweeping economic relief legislation that has been delayed for months.

Lawmakers had hoped to introduce the relief legislation as early as Thursday but have been delayed by numerous contentious issues, particularly a push from Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) to curb the emergency lending authority of the Federal Reserve.

Aides close to the negotiations said a short-term bill to extend government funding was unlikely to be approved on Friday, meaning government appropriations would lapse Saturday morning. Budget experts said the impact of that lapse would almost certainly be minimal if Congress can approve the government funding deal by the end of the weekend. The nation would face a much more significant disruption if the federal shutdown continued on Monday, when shutdown orders would go into effect.

Great. A Holiday game of “chicken.” As The New York Times reports, the new wrinkle in discussions is about, you guessed it, power:

As they closed in on a $900 billion stimulus deal, top Democrats and Republicans in Congress hit a barrier on Friday over a last-minute Republican effort to cut off the Federal Reserve’s ability to restart pandemic relief programs and limit the central bank’s ability to fight future financial crises.

The proposal, fiercely opposed by Democrats who argue it would revoke a crucial tool to stabilize the sputtering economy, emerged as perhaps the thorniest point of contention among a handful of remaining issues holding up an agreement. It could take away some of the Fed’s power as a “lender of last resort,” and curtail President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s latitude in dealing with the continuing economic fallout from the pandemic.

Though a final deal won’t likely include $2,000 direct payments to Americans — which President Trump reportedly lobbied for — it may still contain a smaller amount of money for eligible Americans.

 

► The Trump administration appears to be botching the rollout of a COVID-19 vaccine, allowing millions of doses of the vaccine to sit in warehouses while First Son-in-law Jared Kushner tries to decipher his own spreadsheets. As The Washington Post reports today, not only is the federal government falling on its face on a delivery plan — we’re actually paying more money than Europe for a vaccine:

The European Union is paying less money than the United States for a range of coronavirus vaccines, including the Pfizer-BioNTech inoculation currently being rolled out across the country, according to a Washington Post comparison of the breakdowns.

The costs to the E.U. had been confidential until a Belgian official tweeted — and then deleted — a list late Thursday.

Comparing that list to calculations by Bernstein Research, an analysis and investment firm, it appears the 27-nation union has a 24 percent discount on the Pfizer vaccine compared to the United States, paying $14.76 per dose compared to $19.50 in the United States. Some of that difference may reflect that the E.U. subsidized that vaccine’s development.

How’s that “running government like a business” thing working for you? Maybe we should have agreed to allow President Trump to call this “The Trump Vaccine” after all.

Colorado has been informed that it will receive about 17 thousand fewer doses than anticipated.

 

New polling from Navigator Research suggests that Americans have had enough of President Trump pretending he didn’t lose the 2020 election. From a press release:

More than three in five Americans (61%) now believe Trump should concede the election, including one in three Trump voters (34%). Moreover, by a nearly 20-point margin, a majority of Americans approve of the way President-elect Biden is handling the presidential transition (56%), mostly citing his focus on addressing the coronavirus pandemic and his selection of Cabinet appointments.

While Republicans disproportionately believe that the 2020 election was somehow illegitimate, the majority of Americans do not share this opinion.

 

The Associated Press reports on a significant appointment expected from President-elect Joe Biden:

Biden plans to nominate New Mexico Rep. Deb Haaland as interior secretary, according to a person familiar with the decision, a historic pick that would make her the first Native American to lead the powerful federal agency that has wielded influence over the nation’s tribes for generations.

Tribal leaders and activists around the country, along with many Democratic figures, have urged Biden for weeks to choose Haaland. They stood behind her candidacy even when concerns that Democrats might risk their majority in the House if Haaland yielded her seat in Congress appeared to threaten her nomination.

Haaland, 60, is a member of the Laguna Pueblo and, as she likes to say, a 35th-generation resident of New Mexico. The role as interior secretary would put her in charge of an agency that not only has tremendous sway over the nearly 600 federally recognized tribes but also over much of the nation’s vast public lands, waterways, wildlife, national parks and mineral wealth.

 

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

 

(more…)

Get More Smarter on Thursday (December 17)

Happy Pan American Aviation Day. Please celebrate responsibly. 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 

 

► You should still hold your breath, but it really does look like Congress might soon pass a coronavirus stimulus bill. From The Washington Post:

Congressional leaders are trying to resolve a number of lingering policy disagreements as they race to finalize an approximately $900 billion coronavirus relief package by the end of this week. They involve the powers of the Federal Reserve, aid for theaters and music venues, and whether to extend any flexibility to cities and states, among other things.

Negotiators have cited significant progress in recent days as talks accelerated. Senior lawmakers aimed to unveil legislation as soon as Thursday. While several difficult sticking points remain, aides are expressing optimism that none of the issues that has emerged appeared likely to prevent final passage of an agreement.

Congress must pass a spending bill by midnight on Friday to avoid a government shutdown, and some had hoped to add the stimulus package to that legislation. If the stimulus talks drag on, lawmakers could be forced to pass another short-term spending bill to give them more time, potentially pushing talks into Christmas week.

The stimulus deal could include another round of checks to Americans. As Joe St. George reports for Denver7, money could theoretically be available to the public by the end of the year.

 

► As The New York Times reports, jobless claims in the U.S. are at an all-time high:

The number of Americans filing initial claims for unemployment insurance remained high last week, the Labor Department reported Thursday. After dropping earlier in the fall, claims have moved higher, and they remain at levels that dwarf the pace of past recessions.

There were 935,000 new claims for state benefits, compared with 956,000 the previous week, while 455,000 filed for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, a federally funded program for part-time workers, the self-employed and others ordinarily ineligible for jobless benefits.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, the number of new state claims was 885,000, an increase of 23,000 from the previous week.

MAGA, baby!

As Vox.com explains, even a pending stimulus bill won’t be enough to help many unemployed workers.

 

A second COVID-19 vaccine — this one from Moderna — could be approved within the next couple of days. From 9News:

Moderna’s vaccine is largely following the same path as Pfizer-BioNTech’s, which relies on the same groundbreaking technology. Most traditional vaccines use dead or weakened virus, but both of the new vaccines use snippets of COVID-19’s genetic code to train the immune system to detect and fight the virus. Both require two doses, weeks apart…

…If authorized by the FDA, U.S. officials said the initial shipment of nearly 6 million doses would go to health workers and nursing homes. The new vaccine needs to be stored at regular freezer temperatures, but not the ultra-cold required for Pfizer-BioNTech’s shot. [Pols emphasis]

That last detail could prove significant in the race to vaccinate people around the globe.

 

As Yahoo News notes, President Trump might truly believe that he won the 2020 election:

President Trump was privately coming to terms with his loss to President-elect Joe Biden, but he “has now reversed and dug in deeper — not only spreading misinformation about the election, but ingesting it himself,” CNN reports, “egged on by advisers like Rudy Giuliani and Jenna Ellis who are misleading Trump about the extent of voting irregularities and the prospects of a reversal.” One adviser told CNN, “He’s been fed so much misinformation that I think he actually thinks this thing was stolen from him.”

There is a lot to unpack in this CNN story being shared widely around the Internet tubes, from potential Presidential pardons to a report that Trump at one point actually considered NOT leaving the White House on January 20, 2021.

 

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

 

(more…)

Get More Smarter on Wednesday (December 16)

On this day in 1773, colonists living in Boston threw a bunch of tea into the harbor. The original “Tea Party” was much less insane than the modern version. 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 

 

► Don’t blink, but Congress might actually be getting close to approving a new stimulus bill. As The Washington Post reports:

Congressional leaders are near an agreement to add a new round of stimulus checks to a roughly $900 billion relief package as they rush to complete a deal before the end of the week, according to three people familiar with the talks granted anonymity to share internal deliberations.

A bipartisan proposal released earlier this week by a group of moderate lawmakers excluded another round of $1,200 stimulus checks. But as congressional leaders tried to resolve differences in recent days, they decided to try and include a round of direct payments in the emerging legislation.

They are rushing to complete a deal because they must pass a new spending bill Friday night at midnight in order to avoid a government shutdown. House Democrats had sought a much larger stimulus package before the election but have softened their position since President-elect Biden’s victory in hopes of securing some immediate relief.

 

► Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell acknowledged on the Senate floor on Tuesday that Democrat Joe Biden will be the next President of the United States. Later, McConnell reportedly implored his caucus to refrain from any attempts at challenging the legitimacy of Biden’s victory when a joint session of Congress meets to certify the Electoral College results. But as the editorial board of The Washington Post explains, this is no time to pat McConnell on the back:

Millions of Republican voters may now believe that their democracy no longer functions — not because there was fraud, but because their leaders lied to them or remained silent while others did so. Even many Republicans who refused to help Mr. Trump try to overturn the presidential results are signaling that they will pursue new voting restrictions in the name of election integrity, acting on the basis of the falsehoods about the voting system that Republicans have promoted since the election. Their defaming of democracy hurts us all.

Jamelle Bouie of The New York Times does not disagree:

To affirm Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as the winners of the election more than a month after the end of voting — as Mitch McConnell did, on Tuesday morning, when he announced that “our country officially has a president-elect and vice-president elect” — is to treat the outcome as unofficial pending an attempt to overturn the result.

In short, Republicans are establishing a new normal for the conduct of elections, one in which a Democratic victory is suspect until proven otherwise, and where Republicans have a “constitutional right” to challenge the vote in hopes of having it thrown out.

We’ve already seen this spread to down-ballot races. Sean Parnell, a Republican House candidate, refused to concede his race against the Democratic incumbent, Conor Lamb, citing voter fraud and signed onto a lawsuit, since dismissed, to throw out mail-in ballots.

But as Chris Cillizza writes for CNN, McConnell may not be able to prevent his caucus from being forced to cast a politically-dicey vote in favor of Biden in early January.

 

A Legislative Audit Committee meeting at the state capitol on Tuesday failed to uncover even a hint of impropriety in the 2020 election in Colorado. As The Denver Post reports:

Former Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, a Republican, told committee members that Coloradans can be confident that their elections are free and fair, and instances of fraud that may have been successful are in the dozens, not hundreds of thousands.

The motions by Republicans — one to launch an audit of the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office and another to direct the state auditor to research a potential performance audit — failed on tie votes of 4-4.

Sen. Paul Lundeen, a Monument Republican, told The Denver Post that while the meeting didn’t uncover massive voter fraud, every person’s vote should be protected. [Pols emphasis]

This is a completely pointless statement from Lundeen that perfectly summarizes yesterday’s worthless hearing.

 

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of a Colorado church that sued the government in order to be allowed to host as many COVID-19 super-spreader events as it wants.

 

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

 

(more…)

Get More Smarter on Monday (December 14)

Happy “Monkey Day“; we have no advice on how to celebrate this one. 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 

 

► Members of the Electoral College are meeting in states across the country to formalize votes for the 2020 Presidential election. The Washington Post is keeping a running count of the balloting, which is expected to confirm (again) that Joe Biden is the President-elect:

Normally an afterthought, the vote will be closely watched this year as President Trump has sought to subvert Biden’s victory by promoting baseless claims that the vote was tainted by fraud and pressuring state lawmakers to back alternate slates of electors. No states have done so.

Based on the results of the Nov. 3 general election, Biden is set to have 306 electoral votes to Trump’s 232 by the end of the day. Votes are cast by individual electors, who are typically leaders and loyalists of the political party that won the state’s popular vote. Their ballots will be formally counted during a joint session of Congress on Jan. 6.

Chris Cillizza of CNN looks on the bright side of this process, which ordinarily nobody would pay much attention:

…there is one good thing that has come out of Trump’s ongoing attempts to overturn an election he quite clearly lost: The average person is following the usually-mundane ways in which the election is certified and confirmed far more closely than at anytime in the past — raising, at least for the moment, our collective civic literacy.

Consider Monday: The votes of the electoral college to confirm Biden’s win. CNN — as well as the other cable networks –are going wall-to-wall with their coverage of the votes in all 50 states.

President-elect Joe Biden is expected to speak after all electoral votes have been cast today.

 

► On the subject of being educated about how the electoral process works in the United States…perhaps somebody needs to have a chat with White House adviser Stephen Miller. As The Hill newspaper reports:

Miller indicated that Trump supporters will act as “alternates” in a handful of contested states, including Georgia, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, to submit their own, unofficial results. Should the Trump campaign succeed in overturning the outcome in any of those states, Miller said, the alternate electors could then be recognized by Congress.

Nothing in the Constitution or state electoral processes allows for such an “alternate” slate of electors.

In other words, Trump supporters are going to make their own “electoral college.” This will likely be about as effective as last week’s lawsuit filed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton that was quickly dismissed by the U.S. Supreme Court.

 

Vaccinations for COVID-19 have begun in the United States, as CNN reports:

A critical care nurse was the first person in New York and among the first people in the United States to get a shot of the coronavirus vaccine authorized by the US Food and Drug Administration.

Sandra Lindsay, an ICU nurse at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in Queens, New York City, was administered the vaccine during a live video event at about 9:20 a.m. ET on Monday. Dr. Michelle Chester, the corporate director of employee health services at Northwell Health, delivered the shot…

…The first batch of the vaccine was shipped out from a Pfizer plant in Portage, Michigan, on Sunday headed for over 600 sites across all 50 states. The first deliveries arrived to the University of Michigan, George Washington University Hospital in Washington, DC, and more locations on Monday morning.

State and local authorities make their own decisions on who gets vaccinated and when. The CDC has recommended that frontline health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities get the vaccine first.

Colorado received its first shipment of vaccines on Monday morning. The editorial board of The Denver Post considers the question of how to prioritize vaccinations in Colorado. Denver7 has a handy Q&A on the COVID-19 vaccine.

 

 Congress is getting closer to approval on a $1.4 trillion omnibus spending bill that will keep the federal government from shutting down. As POLITICO explains, this is probably the last 2020 hope for some sort of stimulus funding:

The massive omnibus deal is expected to be the final major piece of legislation pushed through the lame duck Congress — making it a likely vehicle for Covid-related fiscal stimulus if top Republicans and Democrats can reach a long-delayed accord this week. Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have said they want to combine coronavirus relief with the annual budget measure.

 

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

 

(more…)

Get More Smarter on Friday (December 11)

Happy “National Tango Day.” Please celebrate in an obvious manner. 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 Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is on track to approve a COVID-19 vaccine by Saturday (The New York Times reports it could be as soon as tonight). As The Washington Post reports:

The Food and Drug Administration said early Friday that it “will rapidly work toward” authorization of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine on an emergency basis, an action that would kick off an unprecedented effort to inoculate enough Americans to stop a rampaging pandemic.

That decision was expected later Friday or early Saturday, according to two people familiar with the situation, who did not have the authority to talk about the timing and spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The rapidly unfolding developments came hours after federal advisers endorsed the vaccine. The agency said in its statement that it has also notified the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Operation Warp Speed, “so they can execute their plans for timely vaccine distribution.”

The United States set another record for daily COVID-19 deaths on Thursday with 3,347. If this current death rate continues, we will surpass the 300,000 mark sometime next week. NBCNews.com is devoting its entire front page to the pandemic today.

The United States is not alone in its struggles with the pandemic, as CNN reports:

Europe is in meltdown again as daily Covid death tolls reach record highs and countries scramble to expand testing and rescue hospital systems that are buckling under the pressure.

Russia and Germany reported record daily Covid-19 deaths on Friday, and October was Russia’s deadliest month in a decade. Stockholm’s intensive care units hit 99% capacity as Sweden proposed a spring “pandemic law” to potentially force closures of certain public spaces. And France said its lockdown would not be eased as planned on Tuesday after daily case numbers rose on Thursday compared with last week.

Germany tallied 598 fatalities in a span of 24 hours, according to the country’s center for disease control, the Robert Koch Institute.

 

Here in Colorado, it appears that we may have dodged a significant increase in COVID-19 cases as a result of Thanksgiving travel. As Meg Wingerter reports for The Denver Post:

Two weeks after Thanksgiving, Colorado hasn’t seen a spike in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, though health officials aren’t ready to breathe easy yet.

Dr. Rachel Herlihy, the state epidemiologist, said it’s possible an increase still could show up in the next few days, as happened following the Independence Day and Labor Day weekends. But it could be that any increase from holiday travel was offset by decreases in other settings, she said at a meeting of a governor’s advisory committee on Thursday morning.

“So far, we’re not seeing an increased trend associated with Thanksgiving,” she said. “Either it’s too soon, or all the things we did in the state really made a difference.”

The Colorado Springs Independent has more on what (and when) to expect vaccinations in Colorado.

 

► The U.S. Supreme Court is discussing whether or not to even entertain a ridiculous lawsuit from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton that seeks to overturn the results of the Presidential election in four key states (Colorado has some unfortunate connections to this lawsuit). On the other side, Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser is among many voices urging SCOTUS to reject this last-minute attempt at keeping President Trump in the White House.

Meanwhile, more than 100 Republican lawmakers signed onto an Amicus brief related to the suit, including Colorado Reps. Ken Buck (R-Greeley) and Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs). The editorial board of The Orlando Sentinel is not happy that one of its Members of Congress joined the circus:

Via The Orlando Sentinel (12/11/20)

We had no idea, had no way of knowing at the time, that Waltz was not committed to democracy.

During our endorsement interview with the incumbent congressman, we didn’t think to ask, “Would you support an effort to throw out the votes of tens of millions of Americans in four states in order to overturn a presidential election and hand it to the person who lost, Donald Trump?”

Our bad.

Trust us, some variation of that question will be asked of anyone running for Congress in the future, particularly Republican candidates whose party is attempting to upend the way we choose a president.

 

As The Aurora Sentinel reports, Colorado counties are moving quickly to distribute what little COVID-19 relief money is available before an end-of-month deadline. Congress does not appear to be close to reaching an agreement on another COVID-19 stimulus package.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch “Scrooge” McConnell scuttled recent hopes for a new financial package, and it’s now possible that the federal government could shut down altogether for want of any sort of agreement. As POLITICO explains:

On Wednesday, McConnell’s staff informed House and Senate leadership staffers that the bipartisan group’s attempts to marry $160 billion in state and local aid and a temporary liability shield — major sticking points in the ongoing talks — probably won’t fly with most of the GOP, according to a senior Democrat familiar with the discussion.

It marked a major blow to ongoing bipartisan discussions. And Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), a leader of those talks, suggested Congress may need to punt disagreements on liability and local government aid until next year.

 

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

 

(more…)