What you can do to fight for progress this week (January 19)

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Tomorrow morning at 10:00AM Mountain Time, America will say the two words Donald Trump has had coming for four years.

Tomorrow’s inauguration to swear in Joe Biden as President of the United States comes at a terrible price: months of division, lies, and propaganda intended to destroy Americans’ confidence in our elections, and a deadly failed insurrection at the U.S. Capitol earlier this month that Trump initially celebrated before turning his back on his own supporters.

The past few weeks brought our nation to the brink of disaster. But today, we are less than 24 hours from the end of what is already being remembered as the worst presidency in American history. A new narrow progressive majority in the U.S. House and Senate is getting ready to take action on a bold agenda promised by the new Biden administration: ending the COVID-19 pandemic, economic relief, racial justice, climate action, health care, immigration reform, civil rights–it’s a long list and it doesn’t stop there.

None of it would have been possible without your help. It’s not an exaggeration. By ending Cory Gardner’s six years of misadventure in the U.S. Senate, you helped get progressives to 50 Senate seats with Vice President Kamala Harris breaking the ties. By backing Gov. Jared Polis and his common-sense approach to fighting the pandemic, Colorado has fared demonstrably better than most other states. And by passing important policies at the polls this year like paid family leave, you helped ensure that fewer Coloradans are left behind as we move from crisis to recovery.

The work is definitely not over. In fact, it’s just beginning. As we shift our focus in 2021 from resistance to recovery, let’s hold on to the networks and friendships that helped us meet the challenge of Donald Trump. Together we can do big things. We proved it.

Here are a few more ways to take action for the week of January 19:


Sign the petition: Reps. Lauren Boebert and Doug Lamborn must resign

The violent assault on the U.S. Capitol last Wednesday was a direct result of Reps. Lauren Boebert’s and Doug Lamborn’s attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election in swing states. We can’t let Boebert and Lamborn speak for Colorado at this crucial moment in history. If you haven’t already, sign our petition demanding the immediate resignation of Reps. Lauren Boebert and Doug Lamborn from Congress.

Click here to sign.


Colorado Sierra Club: Advocacy Workshop Series: Telling Your Story

During this session, you’ll strengthen your movement-building skills by learning how to create power with your voice. During this series, you’ll receive tips on how to write your story of self and share it with the world.

When: Wednesday, January 20 at 6:00pm

Click here to RSVP.


Launch Event: World Without Landmines

The global PeaceJam community is invited to support former BAOP winner Harsh Zala for the launching of his revolutionary landmine-detecting and destroying drone as well as the kick-off for the World Without Landmines campaign!

When: Thursday, January 21 at 5:30am

Click here to RSVP.


Virtual Mobility for All – RTD LiVE and Mobile Ticketing Workshop

During this virtual workshop, you’ll learn how to sign up for LiVE and how to download and use the RTD Mobile Ticketing. RTD LiVE Program – The LiVE Program lets qualified riders get a 40% discount off regular fares. To qualify, you need to be between the ages 20 and 64, live within the RTD service area, and have a gross household income at or below 185% of the federal poverty level. This workshop will help you learn about the process of signing up.

When: Thursday, January 21 at 5:00pm

Click here to RSVP.


Celebrate Colorado’s pioneering Black doctor on the new Dr. Justina Ford Day

On Jan. 22, following a proclamation by Gov. Jared Polis, Colorado will celebrate its first Dr. Justina Ford Day. The date marks the 150th birthday of Ford, Denver’s first licensed, Black female physician. To add to the celebration, the Black American West Museum & Heritage Center — which is housed in Ford’s old residence — will live-stream a free, two-hour tribute to Ford at noon on Friday, Jan. 22.

When: Friday, January 22 at 12:00pm

Click here for more information.


We’ll see you next week! And thanks again.

GOP Lawmaker Fresh From D.C. Riots Has “Laryngitis?”

Rep. Ron Hanks (R).

The Colorado Springs Gazette reported Friday on a mystery that emerged last week surrounding newly sworn-in Republican Rep. Ron Hanks, who disappeared after the first day of last week’s abbreviated opening of the Colorado General Assembly and hasn’t been seen since:

The Penrose Republican missed every vote on all seven bills that went through the General Assembly in the first week, including being gone when some of those bills went through a committee he’s assigned to: House State, Civic, Military and Veterans Affairs…

It’s beyond unusual for a first-term lawmaker to miss so many days early on, and Hanks has not returned phone calls or emails from the press about his whereabouts.

Curiously, this story makes no mention of what Rep. Hanks was doing before being sworn in to the state legislature last week–as we discussed in this space, and the Denver Post’s Saja Hindi reports in her own story this past weekend on Hanks’ absence from the legislature:

A newly elected Colorado Republican lawmaker who attended the president’s Jan. 6 rally [Pols emphasis] has been absent for the majority of the three-day legislative session that started Wednesday…

House Minority Whip Rod Pelton, a Cheyenne Wells Republican, said Hanks informed him he had a “prior commitment” Wednesday. Members are expected to inform the whip of any absences.

House Minority Leader Hugh McKean, R-Loveland, said he reached out to Hanks on Thursday. On Friday morning, Hanks texted him and told him he was feeling “under the weather.” McKean did not ask for further details.

Let’s review: Rep. Ron Hanks traveled to Washington, D.C. to attend the January 6th rally that degenerated into a violent insurrection attempt and deadly assault on the U.S. Capitol. Our readers know this, but apparently it was news to the Gazette. Hanks then appeared at the Colorado state capitol to be sworn in one week later, only to disappear after being sworn in. Hanks was then absent through the legislature’s temporary month-long adjournment Friday to avoid the COVID-19 pandemic. And only after a good deal of sleuthing by reporters, we find out that Hanks texted GOP Minority Leader Hugh McKean that he’s “under the weather?”

Folks, if every epidemiological alarm bell is not going off in your head right now, 2020 must have passed by without you noticing.

But it’s okay, because as the Gazette continues in their story that somehow managed to forget that Hank had just returned from Washington, D.C., where literally thousands of maskless Trump supporters had exchanged clouds of droplets with one another while protesting/rioting/insurrecting against Donald Trump’s election defeat:

However, as it turns out, there’s a good explanation. According to several sources, including Rick Castor, chair of the Fremont County GOP, Hanks has laryngitis. [Pols emphasis] While he notified Minority Whip Rep. Rod Pelton, R-Cheyenne Wells, that he wasn’t well on Wednesday, he didn’t know he was supposed to check in each day to let people know he wasn’t coming and to be excused, an easy slip-up for a first-term legislator to make.

And then in a final gobsmacking moment of unintended irony:

Minority Leader Hugh McKean, R-Loveland, is glad that Hanks is taking care of himself. If people have learned anything from COVID, it’s that you don’t come to work sick, [Pols emphasis] McKean told Colorado Politics, and he confirmed that he knew Hanks was under the weather.

Rep. Hanks was at the Capitol on Wednesday. That means he did “come to work sick,” or at least by any reasonable COVID-19 pandemic standard in a state where he may well have been contagious. After traveling to Washington D.C., Hanks should have quarantined himself simply out of preventative caution–but obviously, following COVID-19 best practices was very far down the priority list for these people.

It is legitimately shocking that the connection between Hanks’ recent travel and his coming down with any kind of upper respiratory symptom a week later is being idly dismissed as “laryngitis” with some bogus platitudes about how it’s good he didn’t “come to work sick.” With such an obvious transmission vector, why is anyone taking Hanks’ self-diagnosis of “laryngitis” at face value? Who was in close contact with Hanks when he was at the Capitol on Wednesday? Has Rep. Hanks even had a COVID-19 test since he returned from Washington? Why are we the only outlet asking these questions?

The one thing we can say is it’s a big relief the legislature has adjourned until everybody who has to be there as part of their job has been vaccinated. Prevention, after all, is only as strong as its weakest link. Not only is Rep. Ron Hanks kicking off his legislative career with an embarrassing display of COVIDiocy, it’s clear there’s nobody in charge on the right side of the aisle looking out for the health of fellow lawmakers and the public.

Until you’ve had your jabs, keep a safe distance from all such people.

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…

 

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9News’ Kyle Clark Is a “Conspiracy Theorist” and “Really Disgusting,” Says Boebert

(How to win friends and influence people – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Rep. Lauren Boebert (R).

I’ve been loosely documenting the complaints against journalists from top elected officials in Colorado for years, and guess who just made the nastiest comment yet (in public, that is)? U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO).

How’d you know?

Here’s what Boebert said about respected 9News anchor Kyle Clark Saturday.

“I don’t even want his name to come out of my mouth. He’s really disgusting,” Boebert told KNUS’ Randy Corporon Saturday. “But he is a conspiracy theorist through and through. He is obsessed with them. He is continuously working on creating them. I can’t even imagine what his basement looks like.”

In response to a Colorado Times Recorder tweet with Boebert’s insult, Clark deadpanned over Twitter:

“Rep. @laurenboebert’s communications director left this weekend after a few weeks on the job,” tweeted Clark, “Her new team has Boebert laser-focused on issues of importance to Western Colorado like water, public lands, and economic recovery,”

Colorado lawmakers who attack journalism publicly are mostly conservatives.

But unlike Boebert, they hold back on the personal insults, focussing more on what they see as liberal bias, an accusation that’s usually unsupported by evidence, in the form of a study or data of any kind, especially at the local level.

Former Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO), for example, baselessly accused 9News’ Anusha Roy of bias last year after she asked him an uncomfortable question. Gardner’s comment came after he aired multiple broad swipes at journalism over the years.

As a Congressman, Mike Coffman, also a Republican, accused the New York Times without any proof of rigging a poll against him.

(more…)

Tuesday Open Thread

“Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains to bring it to light.”

–George Washington

BREAKING: Did Boebert Lie About Capitol Tours?

UPDATE #2: Rep. Lauren Boebert denies Rep. Steve Cohen’s allegation that he saw Boebert with a “large group” in the tunnels under the Capitol, expanding her previous denials to say flatly “I did not give any tours between Jan 3rd and 6th.”

Only one of them is telling the truth, and there is an investigation underway.

—–

UPDATE: The video of Rep. Steve Cohen alleging he saw Rep. Lauren Boebert with a “large group” at the Capitol:

—–

Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Scaring the hell out of people).

Two days ago, Ernest Luning of the Colorado Springs Gazette reported that Rep. Lauren Boebert had denied allegations she had conducted tours for individuals who later stormed the U.S. Capitol on January 6th, angrily disputing supposed suggestions otherwise made by some of her new House colleagues:

U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert rebuked a Democratic colleague for making “false and baseless conspiracy claims,” which she said suggested she gave Capitol tours to “insurrectionists” and have led to death threats, but U.S. Rep. Sean Maloney responded that he was talking about another House Republican.

In a press release and a formal letter demanding a correction from Maloney, the Rifle Republican said the “extremely offensive, shameful and dangerous” comments made on national television by the New York congressman “implied” that Boebert was the member of Congress who had been showing people around the day before a mob of Donald Trump supporters stormed the Capitol to stop certification of Joe Biden’s election victory.

Rep. Boebert’s press release on the matter was characteristically bellicose and unequivocal:

Rep. Boebert did not conspire with criminals that attacked the U.S. Capitol on January 6th. Congresswoman Boebert never gave a tour of the U.S. Capitol to any outside group or “insurrectionists.” [Pols emphasis] In fact, the only people she ever had in the Capitol with her were her young children, husband, mom, aunt and uncle. Her mother was the only one of those family members in Washington D.C. on the 6th. During the riots, the Congresswoman’s mother was locked in a secure location, not in the U.S. Capitol, with her staff and never left their sight.

As it turns out, the Democratic member of Congress Boebert complained about wasn’t even talking about Boebert herself–a mistake for which Boebert later offered “a thousand apologies.” But it did provide Boebert with an opportunity to go on the record with a number of details about her pre-insurrection activities that were not known before.

And, well folks, the breaking word today is that what Boebert told us about tours at the Capitol is not true:

Note that this is not what we’d call confirmed information, aired on CNN a short while ago in an interview of Democratic Rep. Steve Cohen. But we now have a situation in which only one member of Congress can be telling the truth. We’ll be watching closely for confirmation, and for a development this potentially earth-shattering we expect that is urgently underway right now.

If Boebert gave an intelligence-gathering tour to the insurrectionists, it’s absolutely the last straw and she’s got to go.

If she lied about it, she’s got to go and there’s no claiming ignorance of her crime.

Forecast Colorado Trump Protests Fizzle, So Far…

Ad for a “50 state march” yesterday denounced as “a trap” by local militia groups.

Colorado Public Radio’s Megan Verlee reports that despite what you may have been told to expect, the revolution did not begin yesterday either:

A smattering of people collected on the steps of Colorado’s Capitol on Sunday, a far cry from the massive, potentially violent protests federal and state authorities had braced for.

A woman held her position steadily before cameras, displaying a small American flag and a sign accusing Congress of negligence. Nearby, a man with a white beard poking out from his ‘Trump 2020’ mask chatted with reporters. Around them, on the yellow grass and stone pathways, clumps of bundled-up people stood around under cloudy skies, waiting to see if anything would happen.

By far the largest group on hand were members of the media, brought out by an FBI bulletin warning of potential armed protests at all 50 state capitols leading up to the presidential inauguration on Wednesday. But in Denver, nothing like that has occurred so far.

FOX 31:

Larry Woodall, a supporter of President Donald Trump, says he was surprised by how few people showed up. “I thought there would be at least 100 people. I feel like the lone wolf,” said Woodall.

Some businesses in the area boarded up their stores to prevent damage if things were to get violent. A gate was put up around the perimeter of the Capitol building.

Pro-Trump protest at the Colorado Capitol, 1/17/2021.

Although warnings to all 50 state capitols went out urgently in the wake of the January 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol that more violent and potentially armed protests would take place in the days before Joe Biden’s inauguration this coming Wednesday, the weekend passed without any major disturbances–and miniscule turnout to the publicly announced protest events around the country. Part of this we assume can be attributed to the high alert of local police across the nation beginning last Friday and expected to continue through Inauguration Day.

But that doesn’t appear to be the whole story. Last week, the local hard-right organizing group FEC United, affiliated Sinn Fein-style with one of the state’s more public-facing militia groups United American Defense Force (UADF), put out a brief statement last week disavowing the forecast protests to all 50 state capitols Sunday:

The events being planned to March on Capitols across the country are NOT being organized by Patriots. We are urging every one of our members and followers to avoid the Capitols and areas around them if at all possible. Be cautious and be aware.

Speaking to the Colorado Springs Gazette, UADF militia leader John Tiegen appeared to swear off protests ahead of Inauguration Day entirely, saving their metaphorical and literal powder for “the next administration.”

FEC United and UADF said in statement Wednesday morning that events at the U.S. Capitol were “unacceptable and should be condemned by all…”

“We cannot stoop down to the leftist’s level of chaos and anarchy,” Tiegen said in the Wednesday morning statement. “We must hold strong to our morals and stand tall to ensure we don’t lose sight of the bigger picture — which is to hold our officials accountable to their duty to the people who voted for them. UADF is an organization that stands to defend and protect what is ours in the face of concern for the action, or rather, lack of action, the next administration will take to quell violence from left-wing, militia organizations. We have to be ready to protect ourselves and our neighborhoods.”

After such dire warnings issued after the January 6th assault on the U.S. Capitol, the failure of pro-Trump protests to materialize in general across the nation this weekend is a curious anticlimax to say the least. To be sure, there is still plenty of time for something consistent with warnings of a “50 state uprising” to take place. It’s very possible that by Wednesday any false sense of security we might feel today will be a sad memory.

Or, maybe the events of January 6th forced a reckoning, if not moral then at least practical, on the far right? After a shocking success against an unexpectedly soft target that in retrospect most believe could have been prevented, every law enforcement agency in the country is on maximum alert this week. 25,000 National Guard troops in Washington D.C. and security measures that should have been in place on January 6th are now in place to prevent what happened on that day from happening again. The determination with which federal law enforcement is pursuing U.S. Capitol insurrectionists cannot help but give those who might try something like that again pause.

And after Donald Trump disowned the rioters he sent to the Capitol with orders to “fight like hell” and showered with praise initially, it’s a fair question–why would anybody risk their life and freedom for this guy again?

If there is anything we hate it’s writing a post that doesn’t age well, and we acknowledge this one may not. But if we didn’t at least consider the possibility of a less dramatic end to the most chaotic election in American history that didn’t directly result in a war (knock on wood), that too would be a disservice to our readers.

We’re steeling ourselves to be wrong, but we’ll be elated in the event we’re right.

MLK Day Open Thread

“We are now faced with the fact, my friends, that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now.”

–Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Boebert Under The Bus…By The New York Post?

Rep. Lauren Boebert (R) and her husband Jayson Boebert.

We awoke this morning to another hard-hitting story targeting Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado in national media, the cantankerous freshman from Rifle who has in less than two weeks in office managed to scare the hell out of her new colleagues and deepen urgent questions about security at the U.S. Capitol. A lot of the details in this story about Boebert’s lengthy criminal record readers have seen before–but it’s the source today, the conservative-leaning New York Post, that’s turning heads:

The 34-year-old lawmaker, who beat her district’s very conservative Rep. Scott Tipton in a primary upset last June, has a rap sheet unusually long for a member of Congress.

And her track record of thumbing her nose at law continued this week after she tussled with Capitol Police officers over her refusal to walk through newly installed House metal detectors… [Pols emphasis]

While the lawmaker was eventually allowed to enter the House chambers, she is facing growing questions about her role in assisting the deadly riot on Capitol Hill Jan. 6. Just hours before the violence, she tweeted, “today is 1776.” In the days leading up to the unrest, Boebert made a spectacle of her intention to remain armed in the Capitol, earning another rebuke from local law enforcement.

The link between Boebert’s criminal record, generally small-scale misconduct and failures to appear but still betraying a good deal of disregard for the law, with the insurrection at the Capitol on January 6th and Boebert’s refusal to submit to metal detectors installed outside the House chambers in its aftermath, is not one we’ve seen explicitly made in major media.

But it’s a very good point, don’t you think?

There is a damning parallel to be drawn between Boebert’s demonstrated contempt for the legal system on a small scale–like failing to appear in court for minor cases, or thumbing her nose at the Garfield County public health department–and the lawless mob that believed storming the U.S. Capitol was an acceptable way to resolve their dispute over the 2020 elections. Boebert’s case recalls the controversial law enforcement “broken window theory,” where an environment of minor infractions creates a climate ripe for greater ones. Or to employ another common law enforcement analogy, Boebert’s petty lawlessness is a “gateway drug” to something worse.

Either way, revisiting Boebert’s criminal history in light of the violence at the U.S. Capitol on January 6th, violence Boebert stands accused of helping incite with her bellicose rhetoric on social media and baseless challenges of the electoral slate as her first act in Congress, is absolutely fair and needs to happen.

As for why the East Coast’s most notorious pro-GOP tabloid is going there, that’s anybody’s guess.

Perhaps Boebert offended a powerful New Yorker’s sensibilities.

Weekend Open Thread

“Those who invoke history will certainly be heard by history. And they will have to accept its verdict.”

–Dag Hammarskjold

Rep. Boebert’s Young Intern Resigns Due To Family’s Concern For His Safety

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Rep. Boebert’s now-former intern, Weston Imer, with his mother Laurel on Jan. 5

Citing his family’s concern for his safety, Colorado teenager Weston Imer resigned from his paid internship for Congresswoman Lauren Boebert (R-CO) after just six days. His brief time as a House staffer was cut short by the shocking insurrection attempt on Jan. 6 and the potential of more violence to come.

The precocious 17-year-old, who chaired the 2016 Trump Campaign’s Jefferson County effort at the age of twelve, and currently co-directs the political training group America First Republicans, announced his “reluctant” resignation on Facebook yesterday. The full video is available here.

He says he unsuccessfully tried to talk his family out of calling him back to Colorado, before acknowledging that being locked down inside the Capitol during the insurrection was “a little scary.”

KDVR-TV in Denver reported on his experience during the insurrection. In the report, he affirms his belief that “Antifa and [Black Lives Matter] BLM” orchestrated the storming of the Capitol in order to “make Trump supporters look bad.”

In addition to the violent insurrection on Jan. 6, Imer said his family’s concern’s included this Sunday’s planned events as well as “ongoing protests” in D.C. Flyers promoting an “armed march on D.C. and all fifty state Capitols” circulated online over the past week, prompting the FBI to issue warning about potential militia activity in Washington across the country.

Numerous militia groups and right-wing activists, including some in Colorado, have since disavowed the proposed protest and told members not to attend. Following the violence at the Capitol, however, authorities are taking substantial security precautions in advance of the inauguration. 

(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…)

Trump Admin Fumbles Vaccine Distribution Again

President Trump and Gov. Jared Polis.

The Washington Post reports today, the word from the Trump administration earlier in the week that a “reserve” of COVID-19 vaccine doses would be released to the states under expedited new guidelines designed to get more Americans vaccinated faster, which had spurred hopes that the vaccine logjam would finally ease up, was in error:

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.

Gov. Jared Polis of Colorado is not happy:

Though it looks to be more a matter of miscommunication and ineptitude than outright treachery, it’s just the latest broken promise from the Trump administration on what should be the highest priority in the nation–the race to vaccinate Americans against COVID-19 as the daily death toll hits an unthinkable 4,000. The US ended 2020 with fewer than 3 million people vaccinated despite a goal set by the administration of 20 million. This is a failure compounding with each passing day, with a direct cost in preventable deaths.

Truly, January 20 cannot come fast enough.