California Gov. Orders First-Ever Mandatory Water Restrictions

This is a significant story for the entire country, and it definitely involves our state since a great deal of California’s water comes from the Colorado River. As the Associated Press reports:

California Gov. Jerry Brown ordered officials Wednesday to impose statewide mandatory water restrictions for the first time in history as surveyors found the lowest snow level in the Sierra Nevada snowpack in 65 years of record-keeping.

Standing in dry, brown grass at a site that he said normally would be snow-covered this time of year, Brown announced he had signed an executive order requiring the State Water Resources Control Board to implement measures in cities and towns to cut the state’s overall water usage by 25 percent compared with 2013 levels.

The move will affect residents, businesses, farmers and other users.

“We’re in a historic drought and that demands unprecedented action,” Brown said at a news conference at Echo Summit in the Sierra Nevada, where state water officials found no snow on the ground for the first time in their manual survey of the snowpack. [Pols emphasis]

This is a serious problem that will have repercussions in Colorado, particularly in the energy industry — where fracking contaminates enough water each year to otherwise meet the needs of a city such as Lakewood or Ft. Collins. The oil and gas industry likes to say that they only use a small percentage of water compared to, say, the ocean, but if we’re facing an increasingly serious water shortage, these percentages add up quickly.

Western Conservative Summit 2015 Books ‘Em All*

The right-wing Centennial Institute, a “nonpartisan thinktank” run by former GOP Colorado Senate President John Andrews out of Colorado Christian University, is already promoting their A-list of conservative luminaries coming invited to this year’s Western Conservative Summit in late June:

wcs15-2

As you can see, a number of the heaviest hitters are listed as “invited” as opposed to actually confirmed, giving the lineup space to evolve with the 2016 GOP presidential field. For example, Jeb Bush might go either way on showing up to the WCS, depending on whether the conservative base is most likely to cheer or heckle–as of now there’s a decent chance of both. Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee are guaranteed to show, since their calendars are pretty much clear for the rest of their working lives. We haven’t seen if controversial anti-Islamic Dutch politician Geert Wilders is coming back to WCS this year, but he might be too busy defending himself in court from discrimination charges in the Netherlands after promising to organize “fewer Moroccans.”

On the upside, the Western Conservative Summit has expanded from a small regional conference to one of the more prominent such gatherings nationally, and Andrews deserves credit for growing both this conference and his Centennial Institute into an important stop for upwardly mobile Republican politicians. Though not without controversy: last year, WCS made dubious national news after Andrews introduced a “code” for participants in this “nonpartisan” conference to use, referring to Republicans as “steak” and Democrats as “tofu” so as not to attract the attention of resident Barack Obama’s IRS–validating the concern over obviously partisan “nonpartisan” nonprofits like the Centennial Institute, but pulling down lots of laughs from the audience.

No surprise to anyone, nothing but red meat on the menu again this June.

Get More Smarter on Wednesday (April 1)

As far as we know, all of the information that follows is accurate and not part of an elaborate April Fool’s joke. Or is it? It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example).

 

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

Debate begins today in the State Senate on Colorado’s annual budget, which is a proposed $26 billion.

► Politico looks at the “terrible, terrible jokes” that politicians are using this April Fool’s Day.

Get even more smarter after the jump…

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McInnis County Declares Sovereignty

(Novus ordo seclorum – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Scott McInnis.

Scott McInnis.

From the Grand Junction People’s Sentinel, DeBeque DMZ – 

The duly selected McMinisters of the lands once known as ‘Mesa County’ when under the thumb of the absentee governor on the far side the Colorado Divide have issued the following statement from the Board of Royal McMinisters:

IN CONGRESS, COMMISSION July 4, 1776 April 1, 2015

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen three united States of America McMinisters:

When in the Course of stuff human events, it becomes necessary for one people good old boys and girls to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another accountability, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men some of us at least are created special equal, that they we are endowed by piles of cash bestowed to us by their Creator those the Supremes granted the bestest of certain unalienable Rights, that among these are unlimited piles of cash given to us for our souls and sacred honor, for the public treasures, for the oil and gas, oil shale, uranium, and our very forests in exchange for said copious money, power and more large dams with which to frack more public lands, and  Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among backroom pals Men, deriving their just powers from the tacit “consent” of the governed. 

Dr. Chaps Gets National Slot on FOX News

Fox_News_Channel_logoIt has been an interesting few days weeks months for State Rep. Gordon “Dr. Chaps” Klingenschmitt. Last week, Dr. Chaps’ controversial statements about a gruesome crime in Longmont drew the ire of Republicans and Democrats alike — just the latest and most public of his many (many) verbal miscues since winning election last November.

On Monday, Dr. Chaps was removed from one of his House Committee posts by Minority Leader Brian DelGrosso, and Klingenschmitt himself announced that he was suspending his “television preaching ministry” for six weeks in order to focus his time on his legislative duties. While Dr. Chaps’ suspension of his own “television preaching ministry” made sense, given that there are only 6 weeks left in the 2015 legislative session anyway, there may have been another reason for Klingenschmitt to go off the air for awhile.

According to a press release, Dr. Chaps is going to get his own national TV show on FOX News. Here’s the full text of the announcement:

FOX News Announces New Half-Hour Talk Show with Gordon “Dr. Chaps” Klingenschmitt
Controversial & Thought-Provoking Legislator/Television Preacher will Precede “The O’Reilly Factor” Starting on June 1

NEW YORK – FOX News Channel is pleased to announce What’s the Haps with Dr. Chaps, a new lead-in show for The O’Reilly Factor that will premiere nationwide on June 1. The 30-minute show will feature the multi-talented Colorado legislator Gordon “Dr. Chaps” Klingenschmitt, who will finish up his first session in the Colorado State House in mid-May.

“Dr. Chaps is a captivating personality with a true talent for thought-provoking conversation, and he’ll fit in perfectly with our talented lineup,” said FOX News President Roger Ailes. “As we’ve seen with The O’Reilly Factor, FOX News viewers don’t want real news or factual statements; we expect What’s the Haps with Dr. Chaps to be a big hit from day one.”

Dr. Chaps recently announced that he was suspending his “television preaching ministry” in order to concentrate on his work in the Colorado State Legislature. When Dr. Chaps gets back on the air in June, FOX News expects that he will bring literally a dozen viewers with him.

“This is a truly amazing opportunity,” said Dr. Chaps. “When I heard the news from Mr. Ailes, my first thought was of Genesis 15:9, which reads, The Lord answered, ‘Bring me a heifer three years old, a she-goat, three years old, a ram three years old, a turtle dove and a young pigeon.’

Dr. Chaps has not yet decided whether he will continue to serve in the Colorado legislature in 2016.

Also, none of this is true.

###

Get More Smarter on Tuesday (March 31)

March is going “out like a lamb” in Colorado, but April is waiting to kick our ass. It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example).

 

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► State Rep. Gordon “Dr. Chaps” Klingenschmitt is the gift that keeps on giving…if you like really, really ridiculous gifts. Somehow former Congressman Todd “Legitimate Rape” Akin even merits a mention. Is a recall in the works?

► The State House approved legislation (HB-1300) to allow local governments to increase the minimum wage from Colorado’s current level of $8.23 per hour. A separate proposal, HCR-1001, would have placed a minimum wage increase on the 2015 ballot, but failed to receive the necessary two-thirds majority needed for ballot measures. 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

(more…)

Are Klingenschmitt’s campaign endorsers standing by him now?

Now that one State Representative, Justin Everett, is arguing that Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt should not lose legislative clout for comments he’s made outside of the legislature, reporters should track down Klingenschmitt’s endorsers from his campaign last year and find out what they think of their embattled friend.

Their words of praise for Dr. Chaps, as Klingenschmitt calls himself, can be found on his campaign website:

“Gordon Klingenschmitt has demonstrated to me strength of character and resolve to maximize our individual liberties.  He is definitely a warrior who will fight the constant intrusion of government which constantly erodes our freedoms.  “Thank You,” Gordon for your willingness to represent us.”  — Fmr. Colorado Senator Dave Schultheis

“I like Gordon Klingenschmitt!  His Academy and military experiences have nurtured a mental toughness to stand and fight for conservative principles when others don’t.  We need that in the Colorado General Assembly.”  — Colorado Senator Kent Lambert

“Gordon Klingenschmitt is a proven leader who has the principles and values we need in the Colorado legislature.” — Colorado Senator Kevin Lundberg

“Today, we are living in a climate of moral and financial confusion.  Gordon Klingenschmitt will help direct the State back to principled conscience and economic prosperity.” — Colorado Senator Vicki Marble

Hate: It’s Still Bad For Business

WEDNESDAY UPDATE: Denver Mayor Michael Hancock bans nonessential travel by city employees to the state of Indiana, Denver Post:

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock on Tuesday joined the chorus of cities and states that have banned government-funded travel to Indiana over its new Religious Freedom Restoration Act. In Denver’s case, the prohibition applies to “non-essential” travel by city employees on official business, which could include trips to conventions in Indianapolis.

—–

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R).

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R).

It’s not directly pertinent to Colorado politics, but the controversy over the state of Indiana’s passage of a Religious Freedom Restoration Act–which as a result of the state’s lack of discrimination protections for LGBT residents could open the door to lawful discrimination in the name of religious freedom–is worth a thread of its own. Politico’s Adam Lerner has a smart take on the situation today, and the political implications for potential 2016 presidential contender Indiana Gov. Mike Pence:

Indiana’s Republican governor has become the left’s favorite punching bag after passing a Religious Freedom Restoration Act last Thursday at a ceremony featuring a number of conservative religious leaders.

“Many people of faith feel their religious liberty is under attack by government action,” Pence warned. The law, he said, ensures that “government action will always be subject to the highest level of scrutiny.”

The bill’s backers say it’s almost identical to any of the 19 other RFRA laws currently on the books, including for the federal government and in deep blue states like Illinois and Connecticut. Critics counter that this bill’s specific language, when coupled with Indiana’s lack of a civil rights law protecting LGBT citizens, makes it a vehicle for discrimination. They say it would allow businesses to deny services to gay and lesbian couples by claiming a religious compulsion.

Although similar laws exist in many states (not in Colorado, of course, where our state’s decade-long Democratic control has made every attempt at a RFRA-type bill a politically toxic nonstarter), it’s the absence of affirmative discrimination protections in Indiana law alongside a law like RFRA that make it a bigger problem there.

But there’s something more important at work in the nationwide backlash against RFRA’s passage in Indiana, which could become a much greater threat to the career aspirations of Gov. Pence than passage of RFRA could ever have helped him. We saw this last when Arizona’s legislature passed a similar bill, and basically the entire American corporate culture went to war to prevent that state’s governor from signing it into law.

It is rapidly becoming no longer cool, in objective, hard economic terms, to discriminate against gay people. What this cultural change represents, regardless of what happens in Indiana in the short term, is a tremendous long-term victory for LGBT rights proponents over the religious right and their political benefactors. And unfortunately for Republicans who would like to end this particular war, which has cost them a generation of voters even as gay marriage bans passed across the nation in the last 15 years, they are still the party of discrimination.

We’ve said it before, and Colorado politics bear it out: either the GOP catches up with the rest of America on this issue, with deeds not words, or it becomes part of their long-term destruction. This is not a partisan attack, it’s advice that Republicans everywhere should take.

Justin Everett is Mad as Heck About Dr. Chaps — But Not Like You’d Guess

Republican Rep. Justin Everett got out of bed early enough this morning to make it to the House floor, where he used a motion of personal privilege to chastise Republican House leaders for removing Rep. Gordon “Dr. Chaps” Klingenschmitt from a House committee yesterday.

You may recall that Everett was removed by Republicans from two committee assignments last March, when Everett was having trouble making it to the State Capitol on time and staying awake when he did arrive. With that background in mind, it is interesting to listen to Everett complaining about a House decision to punish Dr. Chaps over something he said while away from the Capitol.

Here’s Everett’s speech from the floor in its entirety. Whether he’s right or wrong, Everett does succeed in proving that there is still a very large rift in the Republican Party:

 

 

Cadman promotes bill previously torpedoed by anti-abortion forces in GOP caucus

(Those who don’t learn from history…something, something. — Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Senate President Bill Cadman.

Senate President Bill Cadman.

Republican Senate President Bill Cadman took to the radio yesterday to announce plans to introduce a bill allowing prosecutors to treat a fetus as the victim of a crime but, apparently, with specific language allowing for abortion.

Cadman told KNUS 710-AM that his bill “does provide a protection for a woman to do with her body as she desires.”

Colorado already has a law, passed in 2013, allowing prosecutors to file additional charges, but not murder, in a crime involving the destruction of a fetus.

To ensure that the law does not turn into a back-door abortion ban, the measure specifically identifies the pregnant woman as the victim of the crime and states that nothing “shall be construed to confer the status of ‘person’ upon a human embryo, fetus or unborn child at any state of development prior to live birth.”

This anti-personhood language enraged anti-choice Republicans, like Sen. Scott Renfroe, who during a 2013 committee hearing, called the legislation the “Let’s-Go-on-Killing-Babies” bill.

In 2011, a bipartisan attempt to pass a similar bill was killed over similar objections by abortion foes.

Yet, when asked on the radio yesterday about why these types of measures did not become law, Cadman blamed pro-choice legislators.

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Tuesday Open Thread

“True terror is to wake up one morning and discover that your high school class is running the country.”

–Kurt Vonnegut

The “New Kind Of Republican?”

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Remember last November?

I know, I know, a lot has happened since then — Katy Perry rode into the Super Bowl on a giant mechanical lion, James Inhofe tried to instigate a snowball fight on the U.S. Senate floor, and Peyton Manning turned 39.

Election season wasn’t too long ago, though. When campaign advertisements were absolutely everywhere, canvassers were showing up at your house, and flyers for this or that candidate were overwhelming recycling bins all over the country. It was a hectic time, to be sure, but one advertisement stands out: the now-infamous bit in which Cory Gardner, standing in front of a wind farm, claimed to be a new kind of Republican, one who was concerned with the future, preserving Colorado’s clean energy economy, and safeguarding the next generation.

For a new kind of Republican, he sure votes a lot like the old kind. In a recent series of votes on amendments to the 2016 budget resolution, Gardner voted against a key climate amendment that was sponsored by our other Senator, Michael Bennet. This was an acknowledgment that climate change is human-induced and would prepare federal agencies to prepare for it in a deficit-neutral way. The vote was far from party-line. No fewer than seven of Gardner’s Republican colleagues voted for it. Several of them hail from states that have historically shown less commitment to climate issues than Colorado has, such as South Carolina, Nevada, and Ohio, among others. This makes Gardner’s no vote even more baffling.  

However, it is not time to discredit his election-season promises quite yet. He also voted against an amendment that would enable the sale or transfer of national public lands. He has shown an interest in protecting our natural areas in the past, and these votes are certainly heartening. It’s clear that he has the wisdom to recognize that Colorado’s public lands define us as a state, and threatening them would be a reckless and costly move.

But Gardner’s votes against common sense  climate change issues (i.e., humans cause climate change so let’s do something about it) are a disservice to the millions of Coloradans who care deeply about our clean energy economy and combating climate change. Polls consistently show that Colorado stands firmly in support of action on climate, and Gardner’s votes should reflect that support.

It’s too early to issue a verdict on Senator Gardner’s term in office. He has only been our senator for a few months, but now does seem like a good time to remind him that he is in office in part because of his efforts to show Coloradans that he cares about clean energy and the next generation. Coloradans are still waiting for Cory Gardner to be the new kind of Republican he promised in the fall.

 

Dr. Chaps Attacks Reporters, Praises Todd Akin in Sort-Of Apology

UPDATE: Via Lynn Bartels of the Denver Post:




Republican Rep. Gordon “Dr. Chaps” Klingenschmitt has been getting hammered over the last several days because of comments he made in the aftermath of the Michelle Wilkins attack in Longmont. Now, he’s speaking out about speaking out, and it’s not going well.

Today, Dr. Chaps posted a special edition of his “PIJN News” that offered a sort-of apology for his statements last week about the shocking attack of a pregnant woman in Longmont. In a video lasting nearly 29 minutes, Dr Chaps goes “Full Klingenschmitt” on a variety of subjects — including his clarification of what the word “this” really means — before saying that he was wrong about everything he did (but not really) and apologizing to “anyone who was offended.”

Dr. Chaps on MondayAs 9News reports, Dr. Chaps’ cries of “dishonest reporting” aren’t earning many sympathetic ears…though he is doing a heck of a job in continuing to promote his own idiotic remarks:

9NEWS reporting on the subject included Klingenschmitt’s exact quote, with the source video being played multiple times on television.

Klingenschmitt’s words in the original video are:

“This is the curse of God upon America for our sin of not protecting innocent children in the womb. Part of that curse for our rebellion against God as a nation is that our pregnant women are ripped open.” [Pols emphasis]

In an interview with 9NEWS on Thursday, Klingenschmitt declined multiple opportunities to offer an alternate interpretation of his remarks.

Many Colorado Republicans were upset last week when Dr. Chaps used his weekly PIJN News show to discuss the attack on the pregnant Michelle Wilkins and attempting to link the crime to a call for policies restricting abortion access. Dr. Chaps even earned a rare rebuke of his own GOP Caucus on Friday.

Nothing that Dr. Chaps says in his video really comes across as a heartfelt apology — particularly when the first 20 minutes are spent on ripping his critics. Dr. Chaps also spends a lot of time talking about being misquoted, before later putting on-screen the words that he said (which are almost exactly how he was quoted). In the end, the only real benefit here is to promote himself and to keep advancing a story (the story about Dr. Chaps, not about the crime)  that is not helpful to him or Republicans in general.

You can watch the entire video after the jump, and here’s a quick rundown of what you’ll find:

♦ 4:14: Dr. Chaps says he will apologize later in the video
♦ 5:30: Says Mike Littwin of the Colorado Independent is a “dishonest reporter.”
♦ 7:00: Calls Brandon Rittiman of 9News a “dishonest reporterand demands a retraction.
♦ 9:00:
Fox 31’s Eli Stokols is added to Dr. Chaps’ list of “dishonest reporters” of whom he demands a retraction.
♦ 11:27: Attacks El Paso County Republican activist Laura Carno and calls her a “pro-homosexual activist.”
13:31: Dr. Chaps praises former Missouri Congressman Todd “Legitimate Rape” Akin.
♦ 13:47: Claims to have beaten Westboro Baptist Church in a debate, or something.
♦ 14:42: Talks about Colorado Springs Gazette reporter Megan Schrader and praises her for being an “honest reporter” because she issued some sort of retraction.
♦ 16:26: Praises Denver Post reporter Lynn Bartels for being an “honest reporter” because she quoted him directly?
19:26: Tries explaining what he actually said, with specific pieces of quotes aired on-screen. Watch this part of the video and see if you can make sense of what he just said about the word “this.”
23:20: The apology at last? Dr. Chaps says, “I do want to apologize for my words last week,” after saying that he would not apologize for things he didn’t say. Uh, okay.

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Get More Smarter on Monday (March 30)

Your NCAA Tourney bracket is officially worthless. It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example).

 

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► The “Long Bill” will begin to suck up all the oxygen out of the State Capitol this week. The Associated Press previews the arguments and decimal points. The Senate is expected to vote on the budget by Thursday before passing it along to the House. John Frank of the Denver Post has more on the budget battle.

► Aurora City Manager Skip Noe needs to make a good impression in a closed-door meeting with the Aurora City Council today.

► Indiana Republicans are working on legislation to clarify previously-approved legislation that would make it easier for businesses to discriminate against gay, lesbian, and transgendered people. Republican Gov. Mike Pence signed the original bill, and he swears he actually read the language first.

Get even more smarter after the jump…

(more…)

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