Search Results for: dunn

Please Support My Legislation, Whatever It Is

State Rep. Mary Bradfield (R-El Paso County)

It is no secret that outside interests and lobbyists often craft legislation that an elected representative ends up carrying on their behalf. There’s nothing inherently wrong with this practice — particularly in a state like Colorado where legislators are not full-time lawmakers and only convene for about four months every year — but it’s been our experience that competent interest groups and legislators generally make sure that everyone is on the same page before a bill gets formally introduced.

Most of the time, anyway.

On Thursday, freshman State Rep. Mary Bradfield (R-El Paso County) attempted to make a case for legislation she is sponsoring during testimony in front of the House Committee on State, Civic, Military, & Veterans Affairs. House Bill 21-1074, of which Bradfield is the sole sponsor, seeks to “establish immunity from civil liability for entities for any act or omission that results in exposure, loss, damage, injury, or death arising out of COVID-19 if the entity attempts in good faith to comply with applicable public health guidelines.” That’s what it says in the bill text, anyway; we’d give you a more straightforward explanation, but Bradfield herself did not present one.

Bradfield’s HB21-1074 was ultimately killed in committee on Thursday after it became very clear that she had no idea what her bill was supposed to accomplish. We can sum up what happened with this brief Q&A after witness testimony concluded between Bradfield and Committee Chair Chris Kennedy (D-Lakewood):

KENNEDY: My understanding of how the current civil tort system works is that if a claimant did want to receive damages for harm that they believe happened to them, they would have a “preponderance of evidence” standard. So I’m curious why the “clear and convincing” standard seems more fitting for this kind of case.

BRADFIELD: Mr. Chair, um, that sounds like a very legal question, of which I am no lawyer, nor do I profess to be. I just follow the best advice of the people who know better than I. So, in other words, plain and simple, I have no idea. Thank you. [Pols emphasis]

You couldn’t listen to Bradfield’s presentation on Thursday and convince yourself that she had any real understanding of her own bill. It was more than obvious from Bradfield’s presentation that she was reading from prepared notes that were written by someone else — and possibly for the first time. Bradfield would stop and start her presentation at strange points, just as you might stammer when reading aloud a sentence that gets cut off by a page break.

Bradfield should probably not be sponsoring legislation that she doesn’t understand, and that’s on her. But some organization or lobbyist prepared this bill and didn’t make much of an effort to make sure that its sponsor — a freshman lawmaker — could offer even a modest defense of the legislation. This is shoddy work; if we were Bradfield and House Minority Leader Hugh McKean, we would not be happy about any of it.

You can listen yourself to the State Affairs committee discussion on HB21-1074, or check out the full transcription after the jump below…

 

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Get More Smarter on Friday (February 19)

Congratulations to Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets on being selected as an All-Star Game Starter. 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 Denver Post reports, Colorado hit a big COVID-19 vaccination milestone:

More than 1 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered to Coloradans to date as public health officials are nearing their goal of inoculating 70% of all people 70 and older, state representatives said Thursday.

So far, 748,151 people have received their first vaccine dose and 333,859 people have received their second shot, Kate McIntire, deputy director of the state’s Vaccine Task Force, said during a news briefing. And 337,124 people 70 and up have received at least one vaccine shot — 56,276 vaccinations short of meeting the goal Gov. Jared Polis set for the end of February.

In a separate story for The Denver Post, Bruce Finley explains new research indicating a direct correlation between poor air quality and an increase in infections and deaths from COVID-19.

 

President Biden said in a speech to the G-7 Munich Security Conference that “the trans-Atlantic alliance is back” and the “America first” policies of former President Trump are no longer in effect.

 

► Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz is back in the United States after an incredibly bad decision to fly with his family to Cancun, Mexico while his fellow Texans are freezing at home. Cruz’s latest explanation for why he jetted to another country in the midst of a massive crisis is…not good.

The editorial board of The Houston Chronicle is among many voices calling on Cruz to resign from the Senate.

 

Congressman Ken Buck (R-Greeley), who also moonlights as the State Republican Party Chair (or vice-versa) has a lot of opinions about natural gas and the relation to electric grid problems in Texas. Unfortunately, Buck has NO FRIGGIN’ IDEA what he is talking about.

 

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

 

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Get More Smarter on Tuesday (February 16)

There is an expected high temperature of 43 degrees Fahrenheit in Denver today; compared to the last few days, that’s practically beach weather. Now, let’s get even more smarterer. 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 Colorado legislature is back in session today after postponing action for more than a month out of concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Saja Hindi previews the session for The Denver Post with a list of some of the more notable bills on the agenda.

Alex Burness of The Denver Post is covering opening day speeches from the likes of Senate President Leroy Garcia, while Hindi is tracking the speechifying of Speaker Alec Garnett and other House leaders. Colorado Public Radio has more on Garnett as he takes control of the gavel as the new House Speaker.

 

► As had been expected, on Saturday Senate Republicans voted to acquit former President Trump on the impeachment charge of inciting an insurrection. Colorado Senators Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper both voted “YES” on impeachment.

The Denver Post has more on how the impeachment trial raised the political profiles of two Colorado Members of Congress:

For 138 minutes this week, two Coloradans stood on the floor of the United States Senate and claimed that, for the first and only time in American history, a president incited an insurrection against his own country.

Their arguments earned pundits’ praise and handed them a national audience. They fueled talk of future political ascensions and sent search engines looking for more.

Congresswoman Diana DeGette (D-Denver) served as an impeachment manager and has voted on three of the four impeachment cases in U.S. history. Congressman Joe Neguse (D-Boulderish) served as the youngest impeachment manager in American history and earned high praise for his performance.

 
As The Washington Post reports, it’s colder than Santa’s reindeer in much of the United States:

At least 12 people are dead in four states from the effects of a record-shattering cold snap and series of winter storms. In Texas, as the electricity grid struggles to keep pace with record high demand amid a historic cold outbreak, people are turning to unsafe means to heat their homes. A woman and a girl died from carbon monoxide poisoning in Houston after a car was left running in a garage to keep them warm, according to police.

The Arctic air has also claimed the life of at least one homeless person in Houston, and a 10-year-old boy died after he fell through ice near Millington, Tenn. A tornado associated with the storm system that helped draw Arctic air to the south struck in North Carolina overnight, killing at least three and injuring 10.

For the first time in history, the entire state of Texas is under a weather-related State of Emergency, where some 4.4 million people are still without power.

 

 Congresswoman Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R-ifle) may soon have a credible 2022 Republican opponent: Retiring President of Colorado Mesa University Tim Foster.

 

Hospitalizations related to COVID-19 continue to decline in Colorado, though there is still much concern about new variants of the virus.

 

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

 

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The Big Line: 2022

NOTE: Percentages reflect Colorado Pols’ estimated chances of winning in the 2022 General Election in ColoradoNumbers are not intended to estimate final margin of victory.

*Indicates incumbent

LAST UPDATE: April 15, 2021

 

U.S. SENATE

(D) Michael Bennet* (60%)
Bennet would be the first U.S. Senator from Colorado to seek a third term in office since Gordon Allott in 1966.

(R) Steve Reams (20%)
Conservative Republicans think the Weld County Sheriff could be a contender for…something. Reams would also be a likely candidate in CO-04 if Buck moves along.

(R) Darryl Glenn (20%)
Glenn was the Republican Senate nominee in 2016 when Bennet was re-elected. He may be hoping that lightning can strike twice.

(D) Emily Sirota (10%)
The far left/Bernie Sanders wing of the Democratic Party wants to challenge Bennet in a Primary. The Denver State Representative is the rumored candidate.

 

(R) Ken Buck (OFF)
Buck didn’t bother keeping up the charade for very long.

 


GOVERNOR

(D) Jared Polis* (70%)
Polis was elected by an 11-point margin in 2018. In 2020, Joe Biden carried Colorado by 13 points and John Hickenlooper won a Senate race by about 10. There’s little reason to think Polis won’t cruise to another term in 2022.

(R) Heidi Ganahl (20%)↑
It was thought that health issues would keep her on the sidelines in 2022, but she seems to be moving closer to making a run here.

(R) Kevin Priola (10%)
Priola lands here — for now — because he is one of the few Republican success stories in Colorado over the the past two election cycles. He’s also term-limited after winning re-election to the State Senate in 2020.

(R) Greg Lopez (10%)
Lopez got about 13% of the vote in the 2018 Republican gubernatorial primary, and about a year later he announced that he planned to run again in 2022. If his 2022 bid gets any traction, Lopez will have to explain why he violated conflict of interest rules when he served as district director in Colorado for the Small Business Association.

(R) Bob Beauprez (10%)
Beauprez ran for Governor in 2006 and 2014. If you’re graphing it out, then 2022 is Beauprez time once again.

(R) Cory Gardner (1%)
We’re including Gardner here mostly to make it clear that there is virtually no chance he might run for Governor in 2022. Any idle speculation about a potential Gardner run is not coming from anyone close to Gardner.

 


ATTORNEY GENERAL

(D) Phil Weiser* (60%)
Weiser turned a lot of heads as a first-time candidate in 2018. He’ll be even better in 2022.

(R) Jason Dunn (40%)
Dunn is currently the U.S. Attorney in Colorado and will be out of a job after Joe Biden becomes President (although these appointments can take forever to come through). Of all the potential Republican candidacies on this list, Dunn for AG is the most logical fit.

 


STATE TREASURER

(D) Dave Young* (60%)
Young’s biggest task might be in convincing Democrats to pay attention here.

 


SECRETARY OF STATE

(D) Jena Griswold* (60%)
Griswold was the biggest surprise of the 2018 cycle. She’ll be a top target for Republicans in 2022.

(R) Rose Pugliese (20%)
Former Mesa County Commissioner has long carried other ambitions…if she can figure out which one to pursue.

(R) Merlin Klotz (20%)
Douglas County Clerk and Recorder is thought to be interested.

 

 


CO-01 (DENVER)

(D) Diana DeGette* (95%)↑
DeGette is now longest-serving federal elected official in Colorado history.

 


CO-02 (BOULDER-ISH)

(D) Joe Neguse* (95%)
You’re going to read this refrain a lot, but it’s true: Barring major redistricting changes, Neguse is perfectly safe.

(R) Casper Stockham (5%)
We don’t have any reason to think Stockham might run here, but he’s already failed in CO-01, CO-06, and CO-07, so maybe he’ll try to complete the set.

 


CO-03 (WESTERN & SOUTHERN COLO.)

(R) Lauren Boebert* (60%)↓
Boebert will likely remain the favorite here unless something really strange happens in redistricting. Will Boebert’s act still be interesting to voters by November 2022?

(D) Kerry Donovan (40%)↑
Donovan raised more than $614k in just 55 days since announcing her candidacy to solidify her place as the likely Democratic nominee in 2022.

(R) Tim Foster (20%)↑
President of Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction is retiring in June and is actively moving toward a Primary challenge of Boebert.

(D) Sol Sandoval (20%)
She is not a well-known name in CO-3 politics, but her kickoff video shows potential.

(R) Marina Zimmerman (10%)
It’s too soon to tell how serious to take Zimmerman’s candidacy.

(D) Don Valdez (10%)
State Representative making another go after a brief bid in 2020.

(D) Many Other People (1%)
There are a bunch of unknown Democrats running for this seat who are unlikely to still be hanging around a year from now.

 


CO-04 (NORTHEAST-ISH COLORADO)

(R) Ken Buck* (70%)
Don’t be surprised if he just walks away entirely.

(D) Ike McCorkle (30%)
McCorkle is running again after losing handily to Buck in 2020. Unless redistricting really changes the electorate, he’s looking at the same likely outcome.

 


CO-05 (COLORADO SPRINGS)

(R) Doug Lamborn* (90%)
El Paso County is getting bluer, but this is still a safe Republican district.

 


CO-06 (AURORA)

(D) Jason Crow* (80%)
Yada, yada, redistricting. Otherwise, Crow doesn’t have much to worry about in 2022.

(R) Lora Thomas (20%)
Douglas County Commissioner thinks she has a shot after winning re-election in 2020 in a solid red county. Unless CO-6 somehow gets redrawn to include most of Douglas County, she’s wrong.

 


CO-07 (JEFFERSON COUNTY)

(D) Ed Perlmutter* (90%)
But for redistricting, there’s no reason for Perlmutter to be concerned in 2022.

(R) Laurel Imer (10%)
Redistricting would have to make massive changes to CO-07 for Imer to have even a chance at beating Perlmutter.

 


CO-08 (¯\_(ツ)_/¯ )

(D) Democrat Person (60%)
Colorado will likely get an 8th congressional district before 2022. We don’t know where this district will be located, but Colorado is too blue for this to not be a Dem-leaning seat.

(R) Republican Person (40%)
However the new maps are drawn, CO-08 will probably be the best chance Republicans will have at gaining another congressional seat in 2022.

 


STATE SENATE MAJORITY

DEMOCRATS (60%)
Democrats took control of the State Senate in 2018 and picked up another seat in 2020.

REPUBLICANS (40%)
The State Senate is once again the best chance for Republicans to make gains in 2022, but only because things look so bleak everywhere else.

 


STATE HOUSE MAJORITY

DEMOCRATS (90%)
Democrats earned their biggest House majority in decades in 2018, then kept things intact in 2020. There’s virtually no chance Republicans could flip enough seats in 2022.

REPUBLICANS (10%)
Capturing the majority here would be a multi-cycle task for the GOP. Colorado has changed significantly since Republicans last held a majority in the State House.

 


The “Big Line” and its contents are the exclusive creation of Colorado Pols and will be updated as conditions change prior to the 2022 General Election. It is an accurate, if unscientific, look at the races from insider perspectives from both parties. It does NOT reflect who we might like to see win, but reflects who has the best chance to win a General Election based on inside information and our analysis of that information. 

Usage allowed with credit to ColoradoPols.com.

Kanye, Kushner, Ivanka Glampout In Colorado (Yup)

UPDATE: ABC News thickens the reality TV plot, and not in a good way:

—–

Kanye West, Donald Trump.

The Denver Post’s Justin Wingerter directs us to a report in the New York Times today that will either shock the hell out of you or (more likely) not:

President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, met privately last weekend with Kanye West, the rapper who has filed petitions to get on the November ballots for president in several states.

The meeting took place in Colorado, where Mr. Kushner was traveling with his wife, Ivanka Trump, those familiar with the meeting said. Mr. West had been camping in Colorado with his family, and afterward flew to Telluride to meet with Mr. Kushner and Ms. Trump, but was not accompanied by his wife, Kim Kardashian West, those with knowledge of the meeting said.

Last week, rapper Kanye West filed to appear on the ballot in Colorado as a presidential candidate with the help of former Cory Gardner spox Rachel George–who recruited a small group of mostly fellow Republican political operatives to sign on as qualified Colorado electors to qualify West for the ballot. One of those operatives actually pretended to support West on the merits, which is in every objective sense ridiculous, but most of them have kept quiet so as not to embarrass themselves.

It’s reasonable to speculate now that we know West himself was in Colorado last week that he met personally with local Republicans involved in getting him on the ballot in our state. To be clear, Kanye already admitted he’s doing this in order to pull votes from Joe Biden–“the joke” Rachel George asked co-conspirators to be “in on.” Meeting with “Javanka” in Telluride after “glamping” at some exclusive resort we may or may not have heard of closes the loop on the week’s Kanye news so perfectly…

It’s like TV.

Getting Worse: “Reopen Colorado” Militant Arrested With Bombs

Bradley Bunn, one of life’s winners.

As the Denver Post’s Bruce Finley reports:

A 53-year-old Loveland man who boasted he’d bring high-powered weapons to a protest at the Colorado Capitol against coronavirus restrictions was arrested over the weekend and faces charges after Federal Bureau of Investigation and other agents raided his home and found four pipe bombs, authorities said Sunday night.

A criminal complaint alleges that Bradley Bunn, a member of an anti-government militia, possessed illegal destructive devices. Law enforcement officers including FBI agents, equipped with two search warrants, conducted the raids on Friday.

Bunn raised concerns after he boasted on social media that he would bring high-powered weapons to a rally at the Colorado Capitol protesting coronavirus restrictions. [Pols emphasis]

ABC News’ Clayton Sandell has additional details about Bradley Bunn, an apparent gun rights activist based in Loveland who reportedly helped plot an abortive illegal armed protest set for last Friday that never materialized under heavy police presence outside the Colorado state capitol building:

FBI and ATF agents served search warrants Friday morning at the Loveland, Colorado, home of Bradley Bunn, 53. Agents discovered four pipe bombs and potential pipe bomb components inside the house, according to a press release from the office of U.S. Attorney for Colorado Jason Dunn.

It is not clear what, if anything, Bunn planned to do with the pipe bombs, the official said.

Bunn came to the attention of law enforcement after using social media to encourage people to bring assault rifles to a planned May 1 rally at the Colorado capitol building, ABC News has learned.

Denver7’s Blair Miller:

In a motion to restrict some documents in the case, U.S. Attorney for Colorado Jason Dunn wrote that at the time the search warrant was executed Friday “there were concerns that Mr. Bunn was escalating to violence and that he had the means to commit violence.”

He also wrote that on Saturday night, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security issued an alert saying it had identified threats of violence toward FBI agents and local law enforcement coming from a “white supremacist extremist instant messaging group” that was claiming a “quick reaction force” was staging in Fort Collins in response to the Friday raid.

Dunn wrote that the group was “inciting followers to shoot through their doors at FBI agents and local law enforcement officers performing said raids.”

We’re watching for updates to this story in relation to Bunn’s gun rights activism before the COVID-19 pandemic, and possible connections to hard-right Republican usual suspects (figuratively speaking, for now anyway) at the Rocky Mountain Gun Owners (RMGO). But after reading the plan posted online by an alleged associate of Bunn for “freedom fighters” to show up at the Colorado state capitol building “hot, locked, and ready to rock” last Friday, we can’t claim to be surprised by any of this.

But it may be time to put a name on what’s happening in the “Reopen America” movement.

These are terrorists. This is terrorism.

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…

 

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Get More Smarter on Tuesday (March 17)

Happy St. Patrick’s Day; you’ll have to get piss drunk by yourself this year. It’s 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…

* For the latest Colorado-related Coronavirus information, go to this website from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment

 

► President Trump appears to have FINALLY figured out that the Coronavirus is kind of a big deal. As The New York Times reports:

Sweeping new federal recommendations announced on Monday for Americans to sharply limit their activities appeared to draw on a dire scientific report warning that, without action by the government and individuals to slow the spread of coronavirus and suppress new cases, 2.2 million people in the United States could die.

To curb the epidemic, there would need to be drastic restrictions on work, school and social gatherings for periods of time until a vaccine was available, which could take 18 months, according to the report, compiled by British researchers. They cautioned that such steps carried enormous costs that could also affect people’s health, but concluded they were “the only viable strategy at the current time.”

That is because different steps, intended to drive down transmission by isolating patients, quarantining those in contact with them and keeping the most vulnerable apart from others for three months, could only cut the predicted death toll by half, the new report said.

Trump’s newfound understanding of the scope of the problem won’t fix his public image. As a new NPR/PBS/Marist poll demonstrates, Trump has lost the faith of the American public on this crisis:

Americans have little trust in the information they are hearing from President Trump about the novel coronavirus, and their confidence in the federal government’s response to it is declining sharply, according to a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll.

Just 46% of Americans now say the federal government is doing enough to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, down from 61% in February.

 

You can count Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Denver) among those in the Senate who favor proposals for the federal government to bail out actual people:


If you’re looking for Colorado’s other U.S. Senator, you’ll find Cory Gardner in the back of the room.

As The Washington Post reports, the White House seems to be open to the idea of direct payments to individuals:

The Trump administration expressed support on Tuesday for sending direct cash payments to Americans as part of a massive economic stimulus package of around $850 billion, which the White House hopes could stanch the economic free fall caused by the coronavirus.

“We’re looking at sending checks to Americans immediately,” Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said Tuesday at a briefing. “And I mean, now in the next two weeks.”

The White House’s support of this idea, which has won backing from Democrats and some Republicans in Congress, shows how fast talks are evolving. President Trump had initially supported a payroll tax holiday, but said Tuesday that would take too long to deliver relief to Americans..

The eventual price tag for a coronavirus stimulus is likely to exceed $1 trillion dollars, as Politico reports.

Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve is launching a new program to make sure that credit continues to flow for corporations.

 

On Monday, Gov. Jared Polis announced a 30-day closure of restaurants (except for take-out and delivery services), bars, gyms and other businesses where large groups of people might congregate. As The Denver Post reports, Polis is generally receiving high marks for his handling of the Coronavirus outbreak response.

Two of the biggest electric and water utilities in Colorado announced that they will not cut off service for nonpayment during the crisis.

 

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

 

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Get More Smarter on Thursday (October 17)

You have 75 days left to fulfill your 2019 New Year’s resolutions. Now, let’s Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio/visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show or The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us Facebook and Twitter.

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

 It’s CYA time in the investigation into President Trump and his dealings with Ukraine. As the Washington Post reports:

The U.S. ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, told House impeachment investigators Thursday that President Trump outsourced the job of handling U.S. policy on Ukraine to his personal attorney Rudolph W. Giuliani, a decision that made Sondland uncomfortable but one he still carried out.

“I would not have recommended that Mr. Giuliani or any private citizen be involved in these foreign policy matters,” Sondland said, according to his prepared remarks obtained by The Washington Post.

Sondland, a major Trump donor who has became a focus of the impeachment inquiry due to his outsized role in U.S.-Ukraine policy, said in his remarks that he criticized the president’s handling of Ukraine policy, including the temporary hold on nearly $400 million in aid to the country and the recall of the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch. Sondland called her an “excellent diplomat” and said he “regretted” her departure, which followed a campaign by Giuliani to paint her as disloyal to the president.

Meanwhile, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney CONFIRMED to reporters that military aid was withheld from Ukraine on the orders of President Trump. From Politico:

Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney acknowledged Thursday that U.S. military funds to Ukraine were previously withheld at least in part because of a desire to have the Eastern European nation investigate unfounded allegations that foreign countries may have aided Democrats in the 2016 election.

“Did he also mention to me in [the] past the corruption related to the DNC server? Absolutely,” Mulvaney said of a conversation he had with President Donald Trump. “No question about that. But that’s it, and that’s why we held up the money.”

As CNN’s Manu Raju reports, this ain’t good for Team Trump:

 

► What was that thing that President Trump was saying about corruption and nepotism? Anyway, here’s Eli Stokols of the Los Angeles Times:

President Trump intends to host next year’s G7 conference at his Doral International Resort in Miami in June, the White House confirmed Thursday, a controversial decision certain to raise conflict of interest questions given the financial benefit to Trump’s business.

Trump first floated the idea of the Doral in August at the G7 meeting in Biarritz, France, telling reporters that his property was far better than others his administration had considered, given its proximity to a major airport and the abundance of accommodations and meeting space on site.

“Each country can have their own villa, or their own bungalow,” he said.

The idea immediately generated controversy. Trump is already fighting two lawsuits suggesting that he is violating the Constitution’s emoluments clause, which prohibits U.S. office-holders from personally profiting from foreign governments.

But White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney told reporters that the decision would not represent a conflict.

“The president has pretty much made it clear that he doesn’t profit,” Mulvaney said. The resort would host the foreign delegations for the G-7 conference “at cost,” he said, adding that the Doral was “far and away the best physical facility for this meeting.”

Don’t worry, though. White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney told reporters that President Trump has “pretty much made it clear that he doesn’t profit” from this decision.

 

► Don’t miss the latest episode of The Get More Smarter Podcast, featuring an interview with Congressman Jason Crow (D-Aurora):

 

Get even more smarter after the jump… (more…)

Get More Smarter on Friday (October 12)

One week from today, you might have already voted. For now, it’s 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 a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.

 

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► According to a new Washington Post/ABC News poll, most Americans do not think Brett Kavanaugh should have been confirmed to the Supreme Court:

More Americans disapprove of Brett M. Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court than approve, and a narrow majority says congressional investigation of the new justice should not end with his elevation to the court, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll

…It also suggests the tumultuous battle over his nomination could harm the court’s reputation as the nonpartisan branch of government.

The survey, conducted during Kavanaugh’s first week on the bench, shows that 43 percent of Americans believe the court’s rulings will be more politically motivated with President Trump’s second nominee on the court, compared to 10 percent who said they will be less political. To 39 percent of the public, Kavanaugh’s presence will make no difference in the degree of partisanship.

 

► The stock market is falling. As the New York Times reports, President Trump is pointing fingers at everybody else.

President Trump responded to falling stock prices on Thursday by continuing to throw rocks at the Federal Reserve, which he has described as “crazy,” “loco,” “going wild” and “out of control” for slowly raising interest rates against the backdrop of a booming economy.

No other modern president has publicly attacked the Fed with such venom or frequency. Indeed, some scholars said the only close historical parallel was with President Andrew Jackson, who campaigned successfully in the 1830s to close the Fed’s predecessor, the Second Bank of the United States.

Mr. Trump’s pointed remarks reflect the high political stakes less than a month before midterm elections that have been cast by his political opponents as a referendum on his presidency. Mr. Trump has been riding the economy hard, bragging about job creation, tax cuts and reduced federal regulation, and claiming credit for the rise of the stock market. Now that the market has lost 5 percent of its value in the last week, Mr. Trump is insisting someone else is to blame.

 

► The Trump administration claims that changing the next U.S. Census is not a political maneuver designed to help Republicans. As Philip Bump reports for the Washington Post, this argument doesn’t hold much water:

What the Kobach email reveals, though, is that the political effects of asking the question on immigration were part of the calculus on deciding whether to include it — in case there was any question in that regard. There’s an existing problem in counting noncitizen immigrants in the census, and experts argue that including the question will itself drive down response rates to the survey.

Including the question, in other words, will itself help meet Kobach’s goal of getting undocumented immigrants out of population totals (to whatever extent they’re already included) even without anyone actually answering it.

Oh, you mean those conversations about citizenship questions.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

(more…)

Trump Nominee For Colorado U.S. Attorney Received Unusual and Harsh Reprimand

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Trump’s nominee for Colorado’s U.S. Attorney, Jason Dunn, once received a searing and rare reprimand by Judge Richard L. Gabriel, who now sits on the Colorado Supreme Court.

Gabriel’s admonishment of Dunn came in a 2015 appeals court decision tossing out a ruling that the Douglas County School District had made a illegal campaign donation by distributing a report, produced by a conservative group. Dunn represented the Douglas County School District, referred to below as the “District” by Gabriel, who sat on the Colorado appeals court at the time.

Writing for the majority in the case, Keim v. Douglas County, Gabriel commented on the “tone” of Dunn’s briefs, writing that they contained “personal attacks and serious accusations” that were inappropriate and unfounded” as well as “rhetoric” that was both “unpersuasive and unhelpful.”

Gabriel wrote in paragraph 32 of the decision:

Third, we feel compelled to comment on the tone of the District’s appellate briefs. In its briefs, the District referred to Keim’s arguments as “nonsensical”; accused her of “subtle mischaracterization,” “wholesale mischaracterization,” and “blatantly misleading” the court; described its reaction to certain of Keim’s arguments with inflammatory (or perhaps sarcastic) language like “dumbfounded”; *728 and even referred to certain of the ALJ’s findings in a derisive way. These kinds of personal attacks and serious accusations were inappropriate and unfounded. Disagreement—even vehement and vigorous disagreement—with a trial court’s rulings and with the arguments of an opposing party and counsel are, of course, part and parcel of any litigation matter. Nonetheless, we expect such disagreements to be civil and respectful. The use of rhetoric like that cited above is unpersuasive and unhelpful. See Martin v. Essrig, 277 P.3d 857, 860 & app’x (Colo. App. 2011).

Court observes say that judges rarely admonish attorneys, particularly of the caliber normally nominated for the position of U.S. Attorney, in written opinions.

“I do not recall a Court ever calling out arguments in a brief in that way,” said Denver attorney Jane Feldman, who staffed the Colorado Ethics Commission and has over 35 years of litigation experience. “Courts generally address arguments made in a brief, and say the arguments are not persuasive, but do not comment on the tone. Furthermore, I have drafted and reviewed many briefs, and I don’t recall ever reading a brief in which the arguments were described in that way. Lawyers generally try to be professional in briefs, because you do not want to negatively impact the Court in case the majority is on the other side, and the records are reviewed on appeal. Lawyers generally don’t disparage the arguments made by the other side in that way. You might say something like, ‘Plaintiffs argument is contrary to the facts,’ or “is not in accordance with common practice,” but it sounds like Dunn went too far.”

Dunn, a “shareholder” at Brownstein, Hyatt, Farber, Schreck, did not return a call for comment.

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) threw his support behind Dunn in June, when Trump nominated Dunn for Colorado’s chief federal prosecutor, after a 18-month delay.

“I am confident that he will make an excellent United States Attorney for the District of Colorado,” Gardner said in a statement, published in The Denver Post. “Jason has a proven record of public service and involvement in his community, and he has the integrity and character that will make Colorado proud. I will urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support his confirmation.”

The Post reported that Dunn worked on regulatory issues and for prominent Republican candidates and causes.

If Dunn is confirmed by the U.S. Senate, he would replace Colorado’s interim U.S. Attorney, Bob Troyer, who replaced 2016 Obama appointee John Walsh.

Stapleton Still Embracing Tancredo, Whose Jaw-Dropping Racism Hits Another Low

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Tom Tancredo is always comfortable in front of a microphone, even when his words are making his audience uncomfortable. That’s exactly what the most prominent Republican to endorse Walker Stapleton did July 30 at the Jefferson County Republican Men’s club, when he delivered racist comments about black student athletes at his alma mater, Northeastern Junior College.

Musing about the racial and religious quotas imposed on his college’s dormitories by the Klan-influenced local government, Tancredo, a former Congressman, wondered why the restrictions didn’t apply to the whole school rather than just the students at the residences:

Tancredo: “I always wondered, why just the dorms? If you’re gonna have a quota, why not on everything. I dunno, they needed black players, I guess, on the team.”

The anti-immigrant firebrand’s influence with the GOP base is exactly why Stapleton asked the conservative icon to introduce and nominate him at the Republican state assembly. That said, Tancredo’s remark about the Klan’s relaxed racial quota when it came to black athletes fell flat on the conservative audience, which appeared to be shocked by the comment.

Undeterred, he stuck with his racist theme by promoting “a great book,” Losing Ground by Charles Murray, which argues for abolishing welfare. The sociologist has also argued that African-Americans tend to be less intelligent than white Americans and that genetic differences between the races are partially responsible. Current Affairs magazine wrote an extensive profile of Murray’s racist writings in a feature piece, “Why Is Charles Murray Odious?” Tancredo acknowledged the author’s controversial status, noting, “Of course, everyone gets scared the minute you say his name.”  

Yet he proceeded to rattle off statistics from the book, showing a decline in numbers of traditional nuclear African-American families and an increase in “black-on-black murders” since the 1950s and ascribing that decline to “the war on poverty.” “[The government] started paying people not to have a male in the household.”

He went on to claim that African-Americans “used to have a higher commitment to Christianity than whites,” but “that’s all changed and it was because of the destruction of the family structure.”

In Tancredo’s other roles, including frontman for an anti-immigrant 501c4 nonprofit, occasional radio host, and social media personality, his continual race-baiting and sometimes flat-out racist statements fall on generally friendly ears.

Ever since Walker Stapleton used Tancredo’s name and brand to secure the Republican nomination however, pundits have noted that ultra-conservative firepower that proved so useful before the primary will likely become a liability in November.

Mike Littwin made this exact point in his July 25 column in the Colorado Independent, writing “Enter Tancredo, who was brought in to help Stapleton appeal to the assembly’s right-wing fringe. It worked then. But how about in November?”

Littwin’s argument matched that of pundit Eric Sondermann, who a month earlier on RMPBS Colorado Inside Out said,

“I think Walker Stapleton is making a number of strategic errors here… To have Tom Tancredo give his nominating speech at the convention in Boulder…you don’t think that one will come back to bite him come September, October, etc.? In tennis, it’s called ‘unforced errors.’”

In his speech nominating Walker Stapleton to Colorado Republicans at the state assembly in April, Tancredo gave two reasons for his presence.

First he said it was because “the day after the election, I want to see all those liberal looneys running with their heads in their hands, looking for a safe space because they can’t handle what just happened to them.”

He concluded by saying, “the only reason I am here and I am proud as I can be to do it, is to place into the nomination for the Republican governor of Colorado, Walker Stapleton.”

If Tancredo continues to make blatantly racist statements in public and the pundits are correct, then some people will indeed have their heads in their hands November 7, just not the ones Tancredo is thinking of.

Senior Staff Attrition Rate Higher than Trump Poll Numbers

Top White House economic adviser Gary Cohn resigned from his post on Tuesday, adding to an historically-bad attrition rate among senior staffers in President Trump’s administration. According to an analysis by CNN, 35 top staff members have left the White House since January 20, 2017:

According to calculations made by Kathryn Dunn Tenpas at Brookings, there has been a 43% attrition rate among senior staffers within the Trump administration. That’s massively higher than any recent past president; Bill Clinton had the second highest first-year turnover, with 11%.

Here’s more from the Brookings report:

I find Trump’s turnover is record-setting, more than triple that of Obama and double that of Reagan. In looking at why Trump has experienced such high turnover, I argue he has valued loyalty over qualifications and suffered from a White House that has functioned in a chaotic manner. Both features have made it difficult to retain staff and have contributed to the governance difficulties he has encountered. If history is any guide, staff recruitment and retention during his second year could prove challenging as well.

Trump was asked about the turnover in his staff on Wednesday, and as you might have guessed, he said that everything was fine:

“Many, many people want every single job. You know, I read where, ‘Oh, gee, maybe people don’t want to work for Trump.’ And believe me, everybody wants to work in the White House. They all want a piece of that Oval Office; they want a piece of the West Wing. And not only in terms of it looks great on their résumé; it’s just a great place to work.”

Meanwhile, two new polls show Trump’s approval ratings are solidly below 40%. Numbers from Quinnipiac University give Trump a 38% approval rating (with 41% calling Trump the worst U.S. President since the end of World War II). Monmouth University has Trump slightly better, with a 39% approval rating.

In short, the attrition rate for senior White House staff is at 43%. Trump’s approval ratings are at 38%. Both numbers are very bad.

Get More Smarter on Tuesday (February 13)

Mr. Vice President, Jesus is on line one. It’s 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 a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.

 

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► Top intelligence officials in the U.S. told members of the Senate Intelligence Committee today that they fully expect Russia to attempt to disrupt the 2018 midterm elections. From the Washington Post:

Appearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee, Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats said that Russia will continue using propaganda, false personas and social media to undermine the upcoming elections.

“There should be no doubt that Russia perceives its past efforts” to disrupt the 2016 presidential campaign “as a success,” and it “views the 2018 midterm elections” as another opportunity to conduct an attack, said Coats, testifying at the committee’s annual worldwide threats hearing.

His assessment was echoed by all five other intelligence agency heads present at the hearing, including CIA Director Mike Pompeo, who two weeks ago stated publicly he had “every expectation” that Russia will try to influence the coming elections.

The committee’s Democratic vice chairman faulted the Trump administration for not preparing for potential Russian interference in the 2018 elections.

 

► The White House under President Trump is setting an historic pace…for staff departures. As Chris Cillizza explains for CNN:

More than one in three Trump administration staffers have left the White House in its first year, a pace that far eclipses the rate of departures in the previous five White Houses, according to a study done by Kathryn Dunn Tenpas of the Brookings Institute.

The pace of resignations, firings and other assorted departures from the Trump White House is twice what it was in George W. Bush’s first year as president and triple that of Barack Obama’s first year in office.

And, it’s not just any sorts of departures; a large number of Trump’s senior-most staff have left in the first year alone.

One in three. Incredible.

 

► Senate President Kevin Grantham continues to sit on his hands regarding sexual harassment allegations in the State Senate. A second formal complaint of harassment against Sen. Randy Baumgardner has now been filed; investigations are complete into an earlier complaint against Baumgardner and state Sen. Jack Tate.

 

$7.1 trillion.

That’s how much the U.S. deficit would expand over the next decade under a budget proposal introduced Monday by President Trump. From Politico:

The result is to exacerbate the nation’s already tenuous fiscal situation. Even if Trump were to get all the spending cuts he wants, plus his ambitious 3 percent growth, deficits over the next decade would total $7.1 trillion. That’s twice what the Office of Management and Budget forecast last spring.

Indeed, the level of red ink could be understated, since all these calculations rest on very favorable economic assumptions and do not include a full accounting of the recent spending increases and additional tax cuts enacted in recent weeks.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

(more…)

538: Cory Gardner Gets Pummeled on the Twitters

A fascinating analysis of interactions on Twitter with major politicians in the era of Donald Trump at FiveThirtyEight, worth reading to understand the difference between different kinds of Twitter interactions–and what they say about those politicians, you know, politically:

Three things can happen to a tweet once you send it into the world: It can get retweeted, it can get liked, and it can get replied to. Any of these can be nice, like a little food pellet from the digital universe, proof that someone out there is paying attention. But sometimes instead of giving you food pellets, the universe is flinging pebbles at you. If the replies stack up, outpacing the retweets and the likes, you may have a problem. Your tweet may be a bad tweet.

“The lengthier the conversation” sparked by a post, “the surer it is that someone royally messed up,” Luke O’Neil wrote recently in Esquire. “It’s a phenomenon known as The Ratio.” David Roth, writing for Deadspin, compared a bad ratio to a bad baseball stat line. A tweet with 198 replies, 34 retweets and 83 likes, for example, is the Adam Dunn of tweets: .198 batting average, 34 home runs and 83 RBIs. The Huffington Post’s Ashley Feinberg put it more bluntly: “I would say any time you have more replies than favs, you fucked up in some capacity.”

The operative principle here is that affirmative interactions like retweeting a Twitter post or “liking” the post are very different from Twitter replies–which indicates, though certainly not 100% of the time, a greater degree of controversy or disagreement among Twitter users who read said post. If you look at the replies to almost any Donald Trump Tweet, they are overwhelmingly negative, even though in most cases the posts have many more “likes” and retweets. In the cases where the replies outnumber those positive interactions, it’s for really nasty examples like Trump’s attacks on MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski.

With this in mind, FiveThirtyEight asked, which U.S. Senators provoke the most anger from their Tweets?

The three senators furthest out toward replies corner are Pat Toomey, Republican of Pennsylvania; Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky; and Cory Gardner, Republican of Colorado. [Pols emphasis]

In short, Cory Gardner gets absolutely drilled on Twitter by this measurement, with critical responses measured by replies coming at a much higher rate than even President Trump. That Gardner has one of the worst such ratios of any U.S. Senator, indicating a broadly hostile reception by his followers, correlates with the loss of popularity in Colorado Gardner has seen in public opinion polls–and underscores the large protests outside his offices that have been a regular news item since January.

Here’s yet another yardstick by which Cory Gardner is reaping Trump’s whirlwind.

Hick Announces Firestone Explosion Response Today

UPDATE #2: Denver Post, can’t call this a good lede for Gov. John Hickenlooper:

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper is asking oil and gas operators to pony up money to plug the 700 to 800 “orphan wells” in the state, but is shying from taking stances on more contentious policies, such as how close new homes can be built to existing wells.

The governor also won’t force the energy industry to allow state officials to compile a publicly available map of all oil and gas pipelines. Instead, he said he wanted to enhance the 811 call program to ensure homeowners can use their telephones to access pipeline information for site-specific areas. Hickenlooper said industry officials were concerned a comprehensive statewide map could lead to people illegally tapping pipelines to siphon off gas. [Pols emphasis]

Siphoning off gas? We’re pretty sure there’s already a law against theft…

—–

UPDATE: As the Greeley Tribune’s Sharon Dunn reports:

“What happened in Firestone … we’ve never seen before,” HIckenlooper said, in response to a question on whether proposed changes could ensure such an explosion would never happen again. “We’re spending millions of dollars to do everything we can to make sure it never happens again. This is about as close to never as you’re going to get.”

In response to the explosion, the state Oil and Gas Conservation Commission ordered companies to locate, inspect and repair any damaged flowlines in the state. Some companies went a step beyond and abandoned certain flowline practices that led to the explosion and shut off older wells.

But since, there’s been concern on what happens next on a statewide level.

Hickenlooper, in a press conference at the Capitol in Denver, proposed seven changes to existing practice, some which will require simple rulemaking, and others that would require legislation.

As we suspected, the changes requested are relatively small-scale, including more inspections of the kind of flowlines responsible for the Firestone explosion, and more money for what appears to be a woefully inadequate fund to plug abandoned wells.

Which means this debate is very far from over.

—–

The remains of a home in Firestone following April’s explosion.

KDVR reporting, stand by for news later this morning:

Gov. John Hickenlooper is announcing the state’s response to a review of oil and gas operations on Tuesday.

The review was called in response to the deadly home explosion in Firestone last April.

Mark Joseph Martinez, 42 of Firestone, and Joseph William Irwin III, 42 of Frederick, were killed in the explosion on Twilight Avenue. Erin Martinez was pinned under the collapsed roof and was critically injured.

Investigators said the explosion was caused by unrefined, odorless natural gas from a 1-inch pipeline that was severed.

We don’t know what Gov. John Hickenlooper’s response will consist of, most likely a range of incremental measures to ensure oil and gas companies better manage their far-flung and in some cases disused and decaying drilling infrastructure–which is now coming into conflict with new development along the urbanizing Front Range with tragic results.

We’ll update with news from Hickenlooper’s press conference later today and responses from all sides. Whatever Hickenlooper announces today, we expect the issue to remain a major point of debate in Colorado’s 2018 gubernatorial and state-race elections.

What’s The Matter With Kansas, Weld County Edition

Rep. Ken Buck (R).

The Greeley Tribune’s Sharon Dunn reports from Weld County, Colorado, where a solidly Republican electorate voted for Donald Trump last November–and now face the consequences of their vote:

About 73,584 Weld County residents use Medicaid, according to the most recent count by the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy & Financing. That’s about 24 percent of the county.

With President Donald Trump’s budget plan calling for $800 billion in cuts to the federal Medicaid program over the next 10 years and reports that the American Health Care Act, if passed, could leave 23 million more people across the country uninsured, it’s likely Weld residents will feel the changes…

So we’re clear,  these are not positive changes. Unless you’re Weld County’s congressman, GOP Rep. Ken Buck:

The Congressional Budget Office released a report May 24 estimating the direct spending and revenue effects of the American Health Care Act, which passed the House but has yet to go to the Senate. The report estimates the bill would reduce the federal deficit by $119 billion over the coming decade.

Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., who voted for the bill, said it’s important to reduce the country’s deficit.

“It is clear we have healthy, able-bodied men and women who can join the workforce who are not in the workforce, and we have got to cut benefits [Pols emphasis] and incentivize employment in this country,” Buck said.

There are few members of Congress willing to be as frank about the goals of Republican policy as Ken Buck. Other Republicans couch their desire to cut people off from social safety nets in platitudes about offering “better” services to needy Americans than what current law provides, or highlight individual cases of people who aren’t seeing the benefits of reform.

It’s another thing completely to say we have to cut benefits to “incentivize” lazy Americans to go to work. Buck is evoking the worst kind of prejudice against recipients of all kinds of public assistance, the assumption that safety nets breed dependency and complacency instead of bridging financial gaps any family could face. The argument that we need to “incentivize employment” by cutting public assistance assumes a lack of work ethic that is simply offensive to recipients–especially considering how many recipients work full time at jobs that don’t pay enough to cover basic needs.

With all of this in mind, Rep. Buck’s dismissive insult of 24% of the population of the largest county in his congressional district is politically mind boggling to us. There is nothing to be gained politically from making such heartless assumptions about thousands of your own constituents. With so many residents on Medicaid, even the most hard case talk radio-loving social Darwinist knows someone who could be affected. We’re not saying this could endanger Buck’s re-election in his deep red district, but it’s horrible both for his own public image and for the Republican brand generally. It undermines more moderate Republicans looking to put a kinder face on these proposals.

Ken Buck’s lack of a filter is at least as big a threat to fellow Republicans as it is to Buck personally.

Tancredo on Coffman: “What a waste!”

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Tom Tancredo, Mike Coffman.

Tom Tancredo, Mike Coffman.

A couple weeks ago, former Rep. Tom Tancredo skewered Rep. Mike Coffman in his weekly Breitbart column, writing the “only thing authentic about [Coffman]vis his passionate desire to keep that House Member pin on his lapel.”

In a subsequent KNUS radio interview with guest host Matt Dunn, Tancredo said, “as a conservative, we would lose nothing” if Coffman lost his seat. And Tanc went further:

Tancredo: [W]hen he won the election, I was of course a supporter and was happy about the fact that he would be succeeding me in that office because of what he promised me, because of our discussions about the issues, especially immigration. And of course all those things have gone by the wayside, and done so because he feels that he has to give up those principles — if he ever held them. I don’t know if he has any real set of principles upon which — you know, that certain bedrock – I don’t know that they exist at all…As his district changes, so does he. He sort of morphs into a different person.

…I’ll tell you this: if Trump were polling well in his district, you would be hearing nothing but accolades from Mike Coffman about Donald Trump. So, it isn’t – it doesn’t really have anything to do with Trump’s positions, his faux pas, his – whatever. It’s got nothing to do with that. It’s got everything to do with Mike wanting to keep that little pin on his collar – I mean, on his lapel, on his suit, that indicates you’re a Member of Congress. Because that’s more important to him than anything else. And I’m just sick of this stuff! I’m sick of it because it’s a seat we could still retain by somebody better. And you know, you just think to yourself, “What a — what a waste!” [Aug. 11, KNUS Peter Boyles show]

Keep in mind that Coffman once called Tancredo his “hero.

Tancredo’s comments deserve wider media attention because they raise the question, again, of how many conservatives Coffman can piss off and still win a narrow majority in his district.

Craig Silverman talks about his new talk-radio show

Craig Silverman returned to Denver’s radio waves a couple weeks ago, as you may know if you saw my recent blog post criticizing him for failing to challenge senatorial candidate Cory Gardner’s assertion that Sen. Mark Udall is simply “trying to distract voters” by attacking Gardner for his extreme anti-choice record, which isn’t “top of mind for people.”

I’m glad to see Silverman back on the air. He can be an entertaining and/or gutsy interviewer, whose questions have had an impact on Colorado beyond what most people realize. Plus, I appreciate almost any local voice, as we lose more and more of them to the corporate media monolith.

Silverman’s show airs on KNUS 710-AM Saturdays, from 9 to noon. He’s the latest talk-radio host to be resurrected by KNUS, which is featuring a local lineup that includes Peter Boyles, Dan Caplis, Steve Kelley, Bill Rogan, Jimmy Sengenberger, Matt Dunn, Krista Kafer, and others.

Silverman answers a few of my questions below about his new show.

Jason: Tell me what the show will focus on.

Silverman: The Craig Silverman Show will focus on current events and entertaining, thought provoking topics. We will look at the week that was, enjoy the weekend, and look forward to the week ahead. I’ll have a regular feature named CRAIG’S LAWYERS’ LOUNGE in which we create a forum for prominent attorneys to relax and tell us their war stories. My first guest was Johnny Carson’s former attorney, Henry Bushkin, who told us about the best lawyering job he ever did for Johnny, and how Johnny packed heat.

For a feature named Call of the Week, I had on famous progressive and regular talk show caller, Frank, the leftie lawyer, whose real name I know. Frank had called Dan Caplis to say how little courage he thinks Governor Hickenlooper possesses, and it bothers him such that he has decided to vote for Bob Beauprez. Wow, that was news! Bob Beauprez may really win. So I had Frank on to accept his award toward the end of the show and he was funny and grateful and it was a nice way to end a terrific debut show. Here is a link to the last hour of my show with Bushkin and Frank. Hour one is here and this is hour two.

Jason: Will you welcome progressive callers?

Silverman: Absolutely. You won’t have to say “ditto” or “you are a great American” to get on our shows. I welcome all callers and, as a lawyer, I appreciate a good argument. I like to banter. Besides, unlike some famous talk show hosts, I don’t know everything. I still have a lot to learn. My point of view is rarely too rigid to accommodate new information and good arguments.

Jason: What do you say to progressives who say there’s no significant difference, on the political spectrum, between you and Dan Caplis?

Silverman: I would say those people must get a mental health check-up. Dan and I have some areas of agreement. Neither one of us wanted Ward Churchill to continue as a Professor at CU. Dan never thought that Barack Obama would be a good President and it turns out he was correct. But I was right about Mel Gibson. Dan is pro-life and I favor a woman’s right to choose (1st trimester please). I support gay marriage. Dan doesn’t. Dan favors cannabis prohibition and I believe the war on marijuana was hypocritical and unsuccessful. I support the separation of church and state, and the separation of state and church. Live and let live. But don’t hurt people.

Jason: You mentioned that you’ll be adding some unusual segments each week, announcing a guest of the week and question of the week from KNUS shows. Are you going to listen to all KNUS shows of Boyles, Caplis, Kelley, to get these?

Silverman: My segments are creative and fun and ideally suited for the weekend. I will announce the weekly winner for Best Guest, Call of the Week, Best TV Bite of the Week, and Best Question. The winner is highly subjective and based strictly on the portions of talk radio and television that come to my attention. People can let me know their nominations and give me links to consider on my Facebook page or twitter @CraigsColorado. I listen to KNUS more than any other media right now because I find the topics interesting and appreciate the quality of its national and local hosts.

Jason: I know you’re happy to be back on the air. But can you give me a sense of just how important and gratifying it is for you to have a KNUS show? What’s driving you to do this? It can’t be the money or the audience on KNUS Saturday mornings?

Silverman: KNUS is the best place to be right now. They are spending more money than the competition, and it shows. Advertising and ratings are strong and growing. The management, staff, and the production teams are top notch and have great attitudes.

If people haven’t checked out 710 KNUS in a while, they should, especially for my show. Peter Boyles has the station cooking with gas and he is not a Christian and he is not a Republican. Neither am I.

As for what drives me, I’m getting paid a fair amount to do something I enjoy, and few things concentrate the mind like live broadcasting. Its stimulating to ponder the great issues of the day. Many of my old advertisers have signed up to sponsor my new show so don’t think this is a non-profit. The audience for 710 KNUS is large and I hope to make it larger. What else do you want to listen to at 9:00 on a Saturday morning? The Mutual Fund Show? An infomercial about how green tea cures cancer? A replay of NPR’s seven a.m. hour. An older than dirt Car Talk segment? Did you know those car guys retired in 2012 and the show is all repeats?

Jason: Please explain briefly how you got your start in radio, when you joined Caplis, when that ended, and anything else about your media career.

Silverman: I have been part of Colorado media for decades now. I worked for the Denver DA’s Office from 1980 to 1996 where I was a Chief Deputy District Attorney. I handled many big cases that were covered by the media and I was accordingly asked to do commentary on other cases. I was the first Colorado attorney to be a guest commentator on Court TV in their studios in New York and I commented frequently for the LA Times and numerous other media outlets about the botched prosecution of OJ Simpson. It was during that trial and while I was Chief Deputy DA that I would leave my government job at 5:00 and rush over to Channel 9 to analyze the OJ case with Ed Sardella, Adelle Arawakawa, and Scott Robinson. Then, I would run over to the radio studio of The Dan Caplis Show to add further commentary on that incredible OJ case. In 1996, I ran as an unaffiliated/independent candidate for Denver District Attorney against incumbent Democrat Bill Ritter. I lost but it was a hell of a campaign that received extensive coverage from the local media and newspapers. The Rocky Mountain News endorsed me. The Denver Post did not like me, especially because I had successfully prosecuted a death penalty case (People v. Frank Rodriguez).

My campaign theme was that Politics and Prosecution are a Poor Mix but I lost and I was pressed into private practice. I quickly partnered with my good friend and former Denver DA’s office colleague David Olivas and we have had the law firm of Silverman & Olivas, P.C. for almost 20 years now.

I lost the election in November of 1996 and in December of 1996, the tragic murder of JonBenet Ramsey happened and I was called by members of the media to comment on the case. Peter Boyles had me on regularly. I was on ABC’s Nightline which led to the people at Rivera Live seeing me and liking me and then having me on that hugely successfully CNBC show many dozens of times. I was hired in 1997 to be the legal analyst for KGMH Channel 7 and I did that for ten years until the radio show interfered.

Since Jon Benet, there have been other fascinating Colorado situations including Oklahoma City Bombing Trial, Columbine, and the Kobe Bryant case. I have appeared hundreds of times on various national television shows, and in local and national newspapers, discussing these and other legal matters.

During the Kobe Bryant case, I was up in Eagle covering the situation for Channel 7 and also as a paid legal analyst for 850 KOA. Alex Stone and I were roommates up there and Dan Caplis was hosting a Saturday morning show on KOA. I was a regular guest again with Dan and he started doing some fill in work on KOA’s evening talk shows and then, Ken Saso passed away, and Dan Caplis was the evening talk show host in his absence. I was a regular guest and Kris Olinger who was a great program director liked Caplis and Silverman and came up with the idea for us to do an afternoon drive time show on 630 KHOW. We did the show for 8 years from the summer of 2004 to the summer of 2012 and we won every available award at one point or another for our broadcast excellence. We broadcast live from the Democratic National Convention and we each penned daily columns for the late great Rocky Mountain News during that DNC week.

Some people like a certain Jason Salzman thought I should be more liberal to counteract Dan’s conservatism but that was never what we were meant to be. Besides, I could not play the part of a complete progressive because I am not. I am liberal compared to Dan Caplis but conservative compared to Jason Salzman. I defy easy categorization.

What I am is a trial lawyer who likes to put on a winning show. That is what I’ll try to do every Saturday. It will be like nothing like Colorado talk radio listeners have ever heard before and I hope everybody will enjoy it.

Did Gardner hear Wadhams’ radio warnings about the toxicity of personhood to state-wide candidates?

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Dick Wadhams.

Dick Wadhams.

Back in August, Republican pundit and strategist Dick Wadhams was asked by KNUS radio host Matt Dunn if a "pro-life Republican" can win a "state-wide at the present time.”

Wadhams: “As long as they don’t make that the centerpiece of their campaign, or, to be honest, as long as they don’t endorse and embrace the personhood amendment. Bob Schaffer did not endorse personhood. Archbishop Chaput did not support personhood. It has dragged down a lot of Republicans in Colorado and across the nation.”

I like the “to be honest” part, because it shows that Wadhams was going the extra mile to be frank, to express a reluctant truth.

Maybe GOP Senate candidate Cory Gardner was listening to Wadhams, because yesterday Gardner reversed his longstanding support for the personhood measure, which would ban all abortion, even for rape, saying he didn't fully understand it.

Until yesterday, Gardner certainly fell in the category of someone who embraced personhood, like Wadhams said no pro-life Republican candidate should do, if he or she wants to win a state-wide election.

During his run for Congress, in 2010, Gardner couldn’t have been more clear about his support for personhood. “I have signed the personhood petition,” Gardner was videotaped saying.. “I have taken the petitions to my church, and circulating into my church.” Gardner touted his personhood support to win his first congressional primary election.

The video of Gardner confirms what the founder of Colorado’s personhood movement, Kristi Brown (formerly Kristi Burton) told me a couple years ago at a news conference. She called Gardner one of the “main supporters” of the initial personhood campaign. Gardner was “very, very supportive” and attended personhood events and talked about the measure, she said.

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Spokesperson for successful recall campaigns says Hudak recall an “uphill climb”

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Political reporters should have noted that the spokeswoman for two recent recall-election campaigns in Colorado said Sunday that a new recall effort targeting Democratic State Sen. Evie Hudak is an "uphill climb."

Speaking on KNUS radio's Backbone Radio Sunday, Kerns said:

"…I think that's going to be an uphill climb to get [the 20,000 Hudak-recall signatures] qualified but, hey, I will not do what others did to us in the two recalls. I will not be a naysayer. And I do really wish them the best in qualifying that recall."

Listen to Kerns say Hudak recall effort will be an "uphill climb"

I hate it when someone's obviously a naysayer, and then they say they're not a naysayer.

That's the worse kind of naysayer, but probably the kind journalists should pay attention to, especially given Kerns' credibility of having been on the front lines, from start to finish, of both successful recall campaigns in Colorado.

Kerns also said:

Kerns: The district of Evie Hudak is much more metropolitan, in the Denver metropolitan area, as opposed to Colorado Springs and Pueblo. So you're going to have much more of that metropolitan Democrat Denver involvement…. A couple of other things I think they will find challenging in the Hudak recall is not only is that district more metropolitan Denver, but those 20,000 signatures are due Dec. 3, and we are quickly approaching Nov. 1.

Talk-Radio Host Matt Dunn: That's a lot.

Kerns: So they have 30 more days to get those.

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A Wild Week on the Wild and Wooly Western Slope

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

What a wild week this has been.

First there was the Charles Ashby story in the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel exposing the Chamber of Commerce for the political hacks that they are. Then there was the resignation of Rick Brainard, including his announcement that he and his victim are an item again. Brainard pleaded guilty to domestic violence charges shortly after being elected, and has been the subject of countless protests. Then there was the City Council thumbing their collective nose at the idea that anybody other than the Chamber has any right to any say in who runs this city. And then there was the announcement that the future leaders have been chosen by the elite.

Some time ago I heard a rumor that Sheriff Stan Hilkey would be resigning before his term is up to go to work in Colorado Springs in some job somehow related to the FBI. Steve King would be appointed to fill out Hilkey’s term; Ray Scott would be appointed to fill out King’s term, and Barbara Brewer would be appointed to fill out Scott’s term. But Barbara Brewer would prefer to be appointed to Steve Aquafresca’s seat. This week King announced he’s running for Sheriff, and Scott announced he’s running for the Senate seat. Things are falling into place.

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On radio, conservatives boo Rubio and embrace Cruz

Former state GOP Senate President John Andrews, who's the lead-organizer of the Western Conservative Summit, said on talk radio last month that Sen. Marco Rubio could be booed if he took the stage during the gathering at Colorado Christian University July 26-28.

KNUS host Matt Dunn doubled down Sunday, telling listeners that Rubio would indeed be booed and should be dumped out of the Tea Party, just like you-know-what into Boston Harbor.

Rubio is done, as far as the Tea Party is concerned, Dunn said on air, due to Rubio's support of the comprehensive immigration bill passed by the U.S. Senate.

Dunn didn't talk about booing Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), who is now confirmed for the Western Conservative Summit, keynoting the July 27 lunch. Cruz was probably the most outspoken Senate critic of the immigration legislation.

As he argued against the Senate bill recently, Cruz stood by a photo of a graveyard and mourned the lives of undocumented immigrants who died crossing the border. As Greg Sargent reported in the Washington Post:

Cruz: “No one who cares about our humanity would want to maintain a system where the border isn’t secure,” Cruz said, noting that ”vulnerable women and children” are being preyed upon by drug dealers and are being “left to die in the desert.”

All you have to do is look out your car as you drive around Denver to know that we'd be doing a better job caring for humanity with Rubio and company's legislation, including its pathway to citizenship and border security, than we'd be doing with Cruz's border-security-only bill, which does nothing for all those hard-working people you see around town.

Yet, Dunn would boo Rubio and throw him out of the Tea Party, without even a real debate on his talk-radio show first? How stupid.

Bubble-Enclosed Western Conservative Summit Shuns Christie

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

After the Republican election disaster of 2012, there was a lot of talk about how GOP leaders had constructed a giant bubble around themselves, protecting them from facts that could have saved them from the November collapse.

The bubble remains unbroken in many quarters on talk radio, as you’d have known if you tuned to KNUS’ “Backbone Radio,” Sunday, featuring a conversation between former state Senate President John Andrews and host Matt Dunn.

Things got interesting when the two began discussing who’s sufficiently conservative to speak at Andrews’ upcoming Western Conservative Summit, sponsored by the Centennial Institute and Colorado Christian University. 

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