At Least She’s Not Your Legislator, COVID Wrath Of God Edition

PA state Rep. Stephanie Borowicz (R).

Newsweek reports on legislation introduced by Pennsylvania state Rep. Stephanie Borowicz, who has come to the conclusion that the COVID-19 pandemic is God’s punishment of…well, America predominately we guess, even though most of the people infected with COVID-19 are not in America? Like most such findings of spiritual as opposed to, you know, reality-based fault for a global catastrophe, it’s complicated:

Pennsylvania State Representative Stephanie Borowicz has called for her state to recognize March 30, 2020 as “A State Day of Humiliation, Fasting and Prayer” in a resolution introduced to Pennsylvania’s General Assembly on Monday.

“During the pandemic of 2020 and the ensuing uncertainty and anxiety of this time, Pennsylvanians may be comforted by turning to a day of humiliation, fasting and prayer,” Borowicz wrote in legislation which also said the coronavirus pandemic may be a “punishment inflicted upon us for our presumptuous sins.”

However, Borowicz’s resolution does not explicitly state that the prayers of Pennsylvanians will cure the coronavirus. Instead, “the united cry of the nation will be heard on high and answered with blessing no less than the pardon of our national sins and the restoration of our new divided and suffering country to its former happy condition of unity and peace.”

Oh wait no, sorry, just America! As for what specific “sins” Rep. Borowicz may be referring to in declaring that America had the coronavirus pandemic coming, that isn’t as clear–but her reputation as an unapologetic GOP culture warrior precedes her. And as WHP-TV in Harrisburg reports, only what Rep. Borowicz calls a “Day of Humiliation” can make COVID-19 at least morally if not epidemiologically right.

The resolution also states, “With assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon, and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history: that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord.”

Her resolution goes on to say that nations are subjected to punishments and chastisement in this work just as humans are.

The resolution has sparked reactions from other state lawmakers such as Rep. Kevin Boyle, who took to Twitter saying, “I do believe this is the stupidest resolution I’ve ever seen a politician introduce.” [Pols emphasis]

Coloradans who had the pleasure of getting to know Rep. Gordon “Dr. Chaps” Klingenschmitt during his brief service in the Colorado General Assembly most certainly know the feeling. With that said, we of course encourage everyone to repent their sins to the diety, temporal authority, or moral yardstick of your choosing.

Not because of the coronavirus, just on general principles.

Ken Buck on Coronavirus: Do As I Say, Not As I Do

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

When it comes to social distancing to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Congressman Ken Buck (R-CO4) appears to be taking a “do as I say, not as I do” approach. While he has said people should try to avoid publics places for the next months, and that “elderly Americans…should be concerned” about the coronavirus, he is also still attending group events and has been photographed shaking hands with senior citizens.

Congressman Ken Buck shaking hands at the Weld County Clerk’s office, March 21, 2020

Following the Weld County Republican Party Assembly on March 21, Donna Windholz posted a picture of Buck, who also serves as Chairman of the Colorado Republican Party, enthusiastically shaking hands with Lynn Miller at the Weld County Clerk’s Office. Lynn Miller is the husband of former state representative Pat Miller, who is once again a legislative candidate, 27 years after she last left office. Windholz believes Buck was improperly using his position as state party chair to support Miller over other primary candidates.

Congressman Buck’s notable disregard for social distancing reinforces his statements earlier this week, when he told the Denver Post, “it’s just craziness to shut down businesses.” He also mentioned that “elderly Americans…are rightly concerned about the virus.” Lynn Miller, the man with whom Buck is shaking hands in the image above, is 73 years old.

His position differs from other members of the Colorado delegation, who have supported Governor Polis’ decisions to close non-essential businesses and public gathering places.

Buck’s hasn’t been shy about being a contrarian on the issue of stopping the coronavirus. He was one of only two House votes against the $8.3 billion federal aid bill signed by President on March 6.

The following week, Buck held a telephone town hall. As part of a longer answer about whether or not people should stop attending church, Buck noted that he continues to shake hands with constituents and that he is “not a good example of someone who avoids social contact.”

His full answer, transcribed below included contradictory statements as to whether one should or shouldn’t attend church, but at least as of March 11, Buck said that he would still be going.

(more…)

Wednesday Open Thread

“The future is called ‘perhaps’, which is the only possible thing to call the future. And the important thing is not to allow that to scare you.”

–Tennessee Williams

President Trump’s Coronavirus

D’oh!

You may soon find some coronavirus franking mail in your (physical) mailbox this week with President Trump’s name front and center…and not in a good way.

“Franking” is the shorthand name given to mail pieces that are produced with government resources that aren’t supposed to work like campaign messages but can be understandably confused for that purpose. Normally you might get one of these mail pieces from your Member of Congress or a U.S. Senator — and usually they come more frequently in election years — but the coronavirus outbreak gave the White House an excuse to send out something with the name “President Trump” in big, bold, uppercase letters.

This mail piece from the White House and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) unnecessarily and inappropriately include’s “President Trump” at the top of one side — undoubtedly because Trump staffers thought it would be a great way to demonstrate Trump’s coronavirus leadership, or something. In this case, the positive impressions that the White House hoped to generate may end up backfiring in a big way.

“PRESIDENT TRUMP’S CORONAVIRUS” is probably not the sort of phrasing that the White House wants Americans to adopt en masse — even if the name fits.

Agency Criticized by GOP Leader for Delaying Gun Purchases Says It’s Keeping Staff Safe

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

House Minority Leader Patrick Neville (R-Castle Rock).

In response to Colorado House Republican Leader Patrick Neville’s concern about an “unacceptable” two-day delay in issuing background checks required for new gun purchases, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which conducts the background checks, says it’s “balancing our statutory responsibilities with the need to keep our employees safe.”

“Gun purchases are at unprecedented levels, and although we’ve taken all the steps we can to keep up (see previous news release), demand is outstripping our ability to complete the background checks in the 5-8 minutes to which [firearms dealers] and gun buyers have become accustomed,” stated the Colorado Bureau of Investigation in a statement to the Colorado Times Recorder. “Like any prudent business, we staff for normal anticipated demand, and the current load is far beyond ‘normal.’  Right now we’re balancing our statutory responsibilities with the need to keep our employees safe.”

Neville, a Castle Rock Representative, issued a statement last week calling on Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, a Democrat, and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation to do “whatever necessary to shorten the lines and expedite the process for a quick checkout.”

“These drawn-out wait times are unacceptable,” wrote Neville.

Neville did not return a call this morning seeking to know if he was satisfied with the CBI’s explanation for the background-check delays as being due to safety precautions and high volume.

In a news release yesterday, the CBI said that it’s faced an “historic volume of request for background checks,” up 227% last week from the same week last year. The agency received 25,468 requests for background checks last week, versus 7,773 during the same week last year, leaving a waiting list of 12,442.

This has resulted in a waiting time of four calendar days, up from two days earlier this month, the agency said.

The agency said licensed gun retailers can release firearms if background checks aren’t completed within three business days, per federal regulations, but the CBI “strongly encourages firearms dealers to hold firearms until background checks are completed.”

“The CBI has implemented changes to address this unprecedented volume of background checks, from expanding internal InstaCheck hours to cross-training specialized staff members to assist in the process; however, these efforts must be balanced with protecting the health and safety of employees and reducing the potential for community spread related to COVID-19,” stated the CBI news release.

(more…)

About Cory Gardner’s “Sinister Chinese Propaganda Campaign”

Why is China unhappy, you ask?

Via the Colorado Springs Gazette’s daily blog on political updates regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re alerted that Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado is vexed, vexed mind you, about far-fetched suggestions by diplomats from the People’s Republic of China pinning responsibility for the outbreak on the United States:

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner and two fellow Republican members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Monday called on President Donald Trump to establish a task force to counter the Chinese Communist Party’s “malicious propaganda” about the origins of the novel coronavirus…

Gardner, joined by U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and Mitt Romney of Utah, call it “critical that our country fight back against this propaganda” in the letter, which requests the Trump “formulate a coordinated, (U.S. government)-wide response” under the direction of the National Security Council.

From the letter:

Now that COVID-19 has spread rapidly around the globe, the CCP and its officials have the audacity to spread disingenuous claims that the United States is responsible for this pandemic. This is not simply dishonest, it is dangerous. This tactic, in addition to being a despicable exploitation of a global emergency, threatens to undermine the worldwide coordination necessary to combat this coronavirus. It is for this reason that we request an interagency taskforce within the NSC to counter the malicious propaganda coming from CCP apparatchiks.

No responsible Western observer would ever accuse the PRC of being realistic with their frequently bellicose propaganda and sometimes outlandish suggestions about American actions and intentions. The public statements of press briefing-level Chinese diplomats are probably one step above the North Korean media or “Baghdad Bob” level of credibility, apparently a bit more so if you’re affiliated in the National Basketball Association. But it’s not the sort of allegation we either take seriously or would expect to be taken as such in serious conversation.

But you know what would help Gardner credibly complain about discreditable allegations from China?

A single word of criticism for the President who won’t stop calling it the “Chinese Virus.”

Gardner also defended the president’s calling the new coronavirus the “Chinese virus.” [Pols emphasis]

“This virus did come from China. I think China did some horrible things when they lied about this happening…”

And with that, gentle readers, the diplomacy of outrage is back to square one.

Get More Smarter on Tuesday (March 24)

Happy Birthday Affordable Care Actttttt…Happy Birthday, to you! It’s definitely time to Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio/visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show or The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

BECAUSE CORONAVIRUS…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

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

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

 

The World Health Organization says the United States could become the next epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic. But President Trump is worried that voters are going to ding him for screwing up both the coronavirus response and the economy, so he’s playing doctor — perhaps benching the actual doctors — and suggesting that he’ll soon relax social distancing restrictions. As The Washington Post reports, Trump don’t need no public health experts to tell him what to do:

As he watches stock prices plummet and braces for an expected surge in unemployment, Trump has received urgent pleas from rattled business leaders, Republican lawmakers and conservative economists imploring him to remove some of the stringent social distancing guidelines that he put in place for a 15-day period ending March 30, according to several people with knowledge of the internal deliberations.

The consensus among experts — including infectious disease expert Anthony S. Fauci and other senior officials on Trump’s coronavirus task force — is that restaurants, bars, schools, offices and other gathering places should remain closed for many more weeks to mitigate the outbreak, the worst effects of which are yet to be felt in the United States.

But Trump has been chafing against that notion and impatient to get American life back to normal.

“If it were up to the doctors, they’d say let’s keep it shut down, let’s shut down the entire world . . . and let’s keep it shut for a couple of years,” Trump said Monday. “We can’t do that.”

“If it were up to the doctors…”

As Dana Milbank writes for The Washington Post, this pandemic isn’t about you — it’s about him:

People are dying. Businesses are failing. Workers are losing jobs.

But above all we as a nation must keep in mind the terrible cost borne by President Trump…

…Trump’s reelection depends on a booming economy.

And so on Monday night he made the ultimate gesture of selfishness: Defying the pleas of scientists and public health experts, he said he would reopen the economy in the next few weeks.

 

► Alex Burness of The Denver Post outlines why Gov. Jared Polis has thus far resisted calls to issue a statewide lockdown or “shelter-in-place” order:

Polis has been walking a tightrope, and he will continue to do so: Measures he takes to force greater social distancing will do economic damage, while leniency on business and other social activities and settings will allow more people to leave their homes, and potentially spread or come in contact with the virus…

…With no statewide stay-at-home order in place, some courts have continued packing dozens into single hearing rooms. Parks are busy and some trailheads are slammed.

Polis not only believes that it’s impossible to enforce these and other behaviors out of existence, but he also has emphasized that there’s “only so much any government can do” in response to coronavirus. He’s repeatedly called on Coloradans to exercise personal responsibility.

A statewide shelter-in-place order is still being sought by some top public health groups.

Meanwhile, local municipalities are pushing ahead with their own measures. As The Colorado Sun reports, the City of Denver will be under a stay-at-home order beginning today at 5:00 pm and running until at least April 10:

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock on Monday announced a stay-at-home decree, closing nonessential businesses and banning people from congregating in parks and other public places. The order cuts off the last vestiges of normal social interaction in the city as health officials try everything they can to slow the spread of the new coronavirus…

…Denver parks will remain open for people to walk and hike in, but not congregate or play sports. Playgrounds and most retail stores will be shut down.

Public transit, including Denver International Airport and rideshares, are not affected by the order. Restaurants still will be allowed to deliver food and offer takeout meals. Medical marijuana stores are exempt, as are grocery stores, banks, laundromats, and child care facilities.

Denver’s shelter-in-place order originally included the closure of liquor stores, marijuana dispensaries, and a restriction on construction operations; the order was amended a few hours later to offer exceptions, keeping liquor stores and dispensaries open to the public.

Elsewhere, residents of Aurora are anticipating a stay-at-home order in the near future. Pitkin County and the City of Boulder have now implemented similar orders.

 

► State Sen. Jim Smallwood (R-Parker) has tested positive for COVID-19, but says that he is not experiencing serious symptoms and is self-quarantining at his second home in California.

Also on Monday, Rep. Dafna Michaelson Jenet (D-Commerce City) announced that she had been misdiagnosed last week as testing positive for COVID-19 and is instead sick with a more common strain of coronavirus.

 

► As Politico reports, the Senate is expected to approve a massive coronavirus relief package today:

Congressional negotiators signaled Tuesday morning that they are likely hours away from clinching a bipartisan agreement on a nearly $2 trillion emergency stimulus package to confront the economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic — capping five days of frenetic talks that have consumed a mostly empty Capitol.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are expected to announce an agreement later Tuesday, while President Donald Trump pushes for an immediate vote…

…Schumer and Mnuchin met in person six times on Monday, and their final meeting wrapped up around midnight. The Senate could hold an initial procedural vote as early as Tuesday afternoon if McConnell and Schumer can reach a time agreement.

Both sides were huddling with their legislative staff to review final details, and said they expect to unveil a broad deal within several hours with a vote taking place later Tuesday.

Notice who was NOT a critical part of these late negotiations? Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. As The New York Times editorial board wrote on Monday, McConnell is the reason that a relief package hasn’t already been approved.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer appears to be pleased with the negotiations related to unemployment insurance. House Democrats unveiled their version of a stimulus bill late Monday night.

 

If you’re looking for political news that isn’t about Coronavirus, it’s available right after the jump…

 

(more…)

Colorado’s Death Penalty Is History

Old Sparky.

A major news item yesterday almost got squelched in the rush of updates about the coronavirus pandemic–as the Colorado Independent’s John Herrick reports, Gov. Jared Polis signed Senate Bill 20-100 repealing the death penalty in Colorado for cases beginning July 1. Separately, Gov. Polis commuted the sentences of the three remaining inmates on Colorado’s death row to life imprisonment:

The governor’s clemency orders, which reference the three men by their Department of Corrections ID number rather than by name, was in part based on Colorado’s new law repealing capital punishment.

“The commutations of these despicable and guilty individuals are consistent with the abolition of the death penalty in the State of Colorado,” Polis said.

But Polis also recognized that the death penalty reflects a long-standing bias in the criminal justice system that disproportionately punishes people of color. There are 539 convicts in Colorado who could have been sentenced to death, lawyers say. Only three have been. All three are black men. All went to Overland High in Aurora. And all were prosecuted in the 18th Judicial District, currently represented by District Attorney George Brauchler.

Monday’s order, Polis said, is “consistent with the recognition that the death penalty cannot be, and never has been, administered equitably in the State of Colorado.”

The debate over repealing the death penalty in the Colorado legislature was very dramatic this year as in prior years, and neither support nor opposition for repeal broke cleanly along partisan lines. A few Republicans voicing religious and libertarian objections to state-sanctioned killing were opposed by a few Democratic representatives whose lives have been permanently impacted by the commission of capital crimes–including by some of the very same murderers whose death sentences were commuted yesterday.

With that said, the state has been on course to eliminate the death penalty for years, going back to Gov. John Hickenlooper’s stay of execution for an inmate set to die in 2013. The high-profile failure by politically vociferous DA George Brauchler in the death penalty phase of the Aurora shooting trial was another watershed moment, demonstrating how the death penalty doesn’t work consistently even for the worst of crimes.

Given the personal nature of this debate to certain lawmakers in the Democratic majority, getting to this point was understandably difficult. But in a broader political context, the abolition of the death penalty is less risky in the long term for majority Democrats than allowing the debate over doing so to go on indefinitely.

And now for Gov. Polis it’s another campaign promise kept.

Denver Shelter Order Updated: Exceptions for Liquor Stores, Dispensaries

UPDATE #2: From the City and County of Denver:

 

—–

UPDATE: STOP PANIC BUYING — CHANGES ARE COMING!!!

We’re hearing from sources in the City of Denver that this order is being revised and restrictions on liquor stores and dispensaries are being adjusted. From what we understand, the logic here was to start restrictions broadly and then make adjustments as necessary, which follows guidance that has been presented by Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top infectious disease expert in the United States.

—–

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock.

An unexpected development this afternoon in the City and County of Denver this afternoon, as Mayor Michael Hancock imposes a citywide “shelter in place” order shutting down businesses deemed nonessential–and controversially including liquor stores and marijuana dispensaries in the order, when those businesses have been permitted to remain operating in other jurisdictions–as the Denver Post reports:

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock on Monday ordered residents to stay in their homes and announced that non-essential businesses such as liquor stores and recreational marijuana dispensaries would close across the city starting Tuesday…He told Denverites to stock up tonight on alcohol (and recreational marijuana) if they need to.

At Argonaut Wine & Liquor, 760 E. Colfax Ave., the mayor’s order created an instant rush Monday afternoon. Within 15 minutes of the press conference, a line about a block long formed outside the building, according to co-owner Josh Robinson. In order to adhere to public health guidelines around social distancing and keep people spaced out inside, staff acted like bouncers, allowing one shopper in for each person that left.

“It’s created a safety issue in the short term,” Robinson said. “The mayor said not to panic buy, but that is exactly what he encouraged people to do by shutting us down.” [Pols emphasis]

We’re hearing reports already of long lines forming outside Denver liquor stores and marijuana dispensaries. For public health officials trying to get the public to isolate and spatially distance themselves, this could be considered counterproductive.

This story will be updated.

Neville: Two-Day Delay in Issuing Gun Permits ‘Unacceptable’

(Seriously? – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Delays in issuing gun permits, which are required for all firearm purchases in Colorado, have increased as fears of coronavirus have escalated, prompting Colo Republican House leader Patrick Neville to call the “drawn-out wait times” for gun permits “unacceptable.”

The permitting process recently required about two days, and 5,000 people Coloradans were waiting in line as of March 17.

“While I warned constituents we could see longer than normal wait times to do COVID-19, I also urged [the state of Colorado] to prepare for this well in advance,” wrote Neville in his statement, which was distributed by Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, a hard-line pro-gun group.

“However, these drawn out wait times are unacceptable,” wrote Neville, who represents the Castle Rock area. “Today, I am calling on the governor and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation to do whatever necessary to shorten the lines and expedite the process for a quick checkout.”

It usually takes about 10 minutes to obtain Colorado gun permits, which are issued by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.

Gun sales in Colorado have spiked nationally and in Colorado in recent weeks.

Neville didn’t return a call asking why he thought a two-day delay in gun permitting was “unacceptable,” given all the other issues faced by the state at this time–and whether he’d received a response from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, which did not immediately return an email seeking comment.

The Denver Post reported that from March 10 -17, the number of gun permits requests had doubled from last year, from about 14,600 to about 7,400.

Neville’s has expressed concern for the economy during the coronavirus outbreak as well, tweeting Thursday, “If we can NOT weaken the dollar, that would be great,” in response to news that Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky was considering checks of $1,200 for Americans.

Over the weekend, Neville also participated in a drive to collect personal protective equipment for distribution in Colorado.

The effort was initiated by Democratic House leader Alec Garnett of Denver and Neville.

Get More Smarter on Monday (March 23)

Today is Monday…right? Anyway, it’s definitely time to Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio/visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show or The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

BECAUSE CORONAVIRUS…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

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

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

 

The U.S. Senate continues to discuss a big stimulus bill aimed at easing economic concerns related to the Coronavirus outbreak. As The Washington Post reports:

Senate leaders and Trump administration officials are resuming talks Monday morning on a giant stimulus bill aimed at propping up an economy hard-hit by the coronavirus, after weekend negotiations failed to produce a deal.

Senate Democrats voted Sunday evening to block the bill from advancing, infuriating Republicans. Democrats have alleged the bill does too much to help prop up businesses without directing enough money to households, hospitals and health professionals. White House officials have acknowledged the unprecedented assistance the legislation would steer toward corporations, but they have said this money would help protect millions of jobs…[Pols emphasis]

…The legislation aims to flood the economy with money, from individuals to small businesses to large industries amid a wave of layoffs and a sharp contraction in consumer spending. It would direct $1,200 to most adults and $500 to most children. It would also create a $500 billion lending program for businesses, cities and states and another $350 billion to help small businesses meet payroll costs.

Senate Democrats are calling the proposed package a “slush fund.” As Politico notes, the Senate is rushing to try to find an agreement on legislation by the end of today.

 

► Governor Jared Polis is taking new steps in response to the pandemic. As Colorado Public Radio reports:

On Sunday, Gov. Jared Polis ordered non-essential businesses to reduce the number of people physically present in the workplace by 50 percent, and more if possible.

He said that while the state was not wielding enforcement authority to keep people at home, there is a more severe enforcement authority that should keep people home for themselves and others: “the Grim Reaper.”

“It is not the threat of you being brought to prison, it is the threat of death,” he said…

…Polis expects private businesses to comply with the order by Tuesday. Businesses that can prove they are able to keep workers at least six feet apart are allowed to keep their workforce in the office…

…The governor also announced the creation of a new team, intended to find innovative ways to address the crisis. The Innovation Response Team Taskforce will focus on creating statewide testing systems, as well as creating services for people in isolation or quarantine such as WiFi or groceries.

As Denver7 notes, Polis is not at all happy with the Trump administration’s Coronavirus response:

“In many ways, I couldn’t have imagined that our nation’s response could have been so slow,” Polis said. “Like many governors of both parties across the country, I’m furious that as the leader of the free world, we’re being forced to close down businesses and restaurants and bars because the United States – unlike [South] Korea and Taiwan – didn’t have enough tests, enough personal protective equipment, or ventilators, to properly manage care for those who would get this virus.”

Governor Polis is also asking landlords and banks to be lenient on tenants and mortgage holders during the Coronavirus outbreak.

 

► Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul is the first member of the U.S. Senate to test positive for COVID-19. Paul may have infected many others with his irresponsible actions, as Amber Phillips explains for The Washington Post.

Senator Paul is trying to defend his actions today, but as CNN reports, he’s doing it wrong:

“For those who want to criticize me for lack of quarantine, realize that if the rules on testing had been followed to a tee, I would never have been tested and would still be walking around the halls of the Capitol,” Paul said in a statement. “The current guidelines would not have called for me to get tested nor quarantined. It was my extra precaution, out of concern for my damaged lung, that led me to get tested.”

Uh…

 

► The Federal Reserve announced aggressive new measures aimed at keeping the United States economy afloat during the pandemic.

 

► President Trump appears to be growing weary already of the country’s (now) aggressive response to the coronavirus outbreak. As The New York Times reports:

President Trump on Sunday night said that the government would reassess the recommended period for keeping businesses shut and millions of workers at home after this week, amid millions of job losses caused by the efforts to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.

“WE CANNOT LET THE CURE BE WORSE THAN THE PROBLEM ITSELF,” Mr. Trump tweeted in all capital letters shortly before midnight. “AT THE END OF THE 15 DAY PERIOD, WE WILL MAKE A DECISION AS TO WHICH WAY WE WANT TO GO!”

Officials have said that the initial 15-day period for social distancing — limiting close contact between people by banning gatherings, closing schools and offices, encouraging remote work and urging people to maintain a six-foot distance from one another — is vital to slowing the spread of the virus, for which more than 30,000 people in the United States have tested positive. The 15-day period would end Monday.

 

If you’re looking for political news that isn’t about Coronavirus, it’s available right after the jump…

 

(more…)

Polis Threads Needle To Keep The Ship Aright

Gov. Jared Polis (D).

Colorado Public Radio reports on yesterday’s round of executive orders from Gov. Jared Polis, as the state continues to respond to the rapidly growing COVID-19 outbreak:

On Sunday, Gov. Jared Polis ordered non-essential businesses to reduce the number of people physically present in the workplace by 50 percent, and more if possible.

He said that while the state was not wielding enforcement authority to keep people at home, there is a more severe enforcement authority that should keep people home for themselves and others: “the Grim Reaper.”

“It is not the threat of you being brought to prison, it is the threat of death,” he said.

The order passed by Gov. Polis yesterday does not fully order the closure of non-essential businesses throughout the state, known in some locations as a “shelter in place” order–instead directing businesses to reduce on-site staffing levels and take other actions to reduce the spread of infection in their workplaces. What we’re seeing here is a targeted attempt by Gov. Polis to maximize disease prevention while minimizing disruption of the economy.

For the faction of Republicans–which belatedly no longer includes President Donald Trump–who are more upset about the measures taken to slow the spread of COVID-19 than the pandemic itself, the fact that Polis has not gone as far as some other states, and is not threatening enforcement of his orders in the manner of Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York, should leave them nothing to complain about. The real question will be whether or not, in hindsight, Polis’ nuanced approach was sufficient to address the situation.

Before you armchair quarterback, and of course we all will, consider the weight of these decisions.

Sorry Cory Gardner, That’s “The Story of Life”

Thursday, from his self-quarantined location in Washington after having come in contact with a COVID-19 patient from Colorado, Sen. Cory Gardner asked a question no doubt many other Americans have voiced in the past few days:

President Trump and Sen. Cory Gardner.

Indeed, there does appear to be a channel for obtaining coronavirus tests by the rich and powerful, naturally including sports celebrities, that ordinary Americans do not have. It’s hardly the first time the privilege of wealth in America has resulted in unequal access to a life-saving intervention, but it’s certainly upsetting to all of us who can’t reasonably expect to get a test even with all the symptoms.

The problem, as NBC News reported Wednesday, is that Cory Gardner appears to have asked this question the day after President Donald Trump answered it.

“How are nonsymptomatic professional athletes getting tests while others are waiting in line and can’t get them?” NBC News’ Peter Alexander asked Trump. “Do the well-connected go to the front of the line?”

“No, I wouldn’t say so,” the president said. “But perhaps that’s the story of life. [Pols emphasis] That does happen on occasion, and I’ve noticed where people have been tested fairly quickly.”

Trump’s “that’s the story of life” quote is included in the Washington Post story that Cory Gardner cited in his angry Tweet. Are we to take this to mean that Gardner is actually being critical of President Trump’s dismissal of the problem? This crucial detail, in what’s become a signature move for Gardner, is left unresolved. If Gardner is upset with Trump over blowing off this “class warfare” concern, he has an obligation to be specific on that point–lest the only thing anyone remembers about this kerfluffle is that Gardner has already endorsed Trump’s re-election.

We take Gardner at his word that he’s genuinely worried about what’s happening. We wish him good health.

But even now, Gardner seems unable or unwilling to acknowledge the politically inconvenient truth.

  • RECENT COMMENTS