ProgressiveCowgirl

About ProgressiveCowgirl

Colorado native, young professional, progressive cowgirl. 4-term FPE (aka masochist).

“How the Left is Leading the Country Toward the Land of Make-Believe” Speaker Makes Believe That Immigrants Spread Whooping Cough


Andrea TantarosWelcome, Andrea Tantaros! The conservative radio host is in town to present the Leadership Program of the Rockies' lunch keynote tomorrow, entitled "America, Let's Play Pretend: How the Left is Leading the Country Toward the Land of Make-Believe." 

Andrea's been practicing for her big speech by pretending that unvaccinated immigrants from Mexico and Latin America are responsible for recent outbreaks of pertussis (aka whooping cough) in the United States. On her 2/21 radio broadcast, Tantaros agrees with a caller who blames immigrants for "over 1000 cases" of whooping cough in the caller's allegedly previously pertussis-free county. (Fast forward to about 1:34:30 to hear the relevant segment.)

All those undocumented immigrants probably couldn't afford to be vaccinated, and are bringing germs into the country, getting responsible Americans sick and bringing back previously eradicated diseases. Makes perfect sense, if you're already a person who considers immigrants a gross, unwanted underclass. 

The problem is, it's, yes… make-believe. There's literally no scientific evidence for this theory. As it turns out, it's mostly our own fault, grownups who were immunized, but whose immunity has worn off over the years. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

It is often suggested that pertussis outbreaks can be attributed to people "importing" the disease when they come to the U.S. from other countries, but this is not the case. Prior to vaccination, there were upwards of 200,000 cases and 9,000 deaths from pertussis every year in the U.S. alone. While we have greatly reduced the burden of pertussis through vaccination, it was never eliminated. It is always present in our communities. Further, reduction in the burden of vaccine-preventable diseases, including pertussis, is one of the great successes of public health. Every country vaccinates children against pertussis, and in the Americas, every country has achieved pertussis vaccine coverage of 78 percent or higher. While all people should be vaccinated on time according to the recommended schedule, under-vaccination is not the cause of the current outbreaks…. we usually find that most pertussis occurs among vaccinated people. This does not mean that the vaccine doesn't work, it just means that most people are vaccinated but protection wears off.

And Mexican immigrants are likely more immune than people immunized as Americans:

Mexico does a great job vaccinating for pertussis. Until just a few years ago, Mexico was using the whole-cell vaccine,  which is probably more effective than the acellular vaccine that has been used in the U.S. since the 1990s.

Wow, that makes it kind of hard to blame Mexicans for whooping cough, doesn't it? What a shame for the people who like to–wait for it–play make-believe that the old "Dirty Mexican" stereotype is actually just a sensible, prudent reaction to germy immigrants.

But please, Ms. Tantaros, tell us more about how the left is leading the country toward the land of make-believe. Just give us a second, first. We need to use our hand sanitizer and pop some Airborne before you start talking. As a vaccinated American adult, you're a whole lot more likely to give us a pertussis infection than are most immigrants, and with a disease like whooping cough, you just can't be too careful.

 

Dave Williams Post-Mortem: Slow, Painful Change and Another Weird Owen Hill Letter

Violently anti-gay and weirdly pro-sex offender El Paso County Chair candidate Dave Williams (part one, part two, part three) lost his race one week ago today. Williams earned 41% of central committee members' votes, to opponent Jeff Hays' 59%. When even conservative talk radio started calling for Williams to step aside because of his inability to fairly represent gay Republicans, it became obvious that change is in the air even in the most conservative parts of the GOP. "You can't win elections with just wealthy, white, evangelical Christian, heterosexual males" is sinking in. Even more importantly, the people who simply believe there's nothing conservative about bullying gays–people like Jason Worley and Ken Clark–are getting their voices heard.

But change won't be easy. It'll be slow, painful, and over the dead careers of many of today's Republican legislators. Take, for example, freshman Senator Owen Hill, who, when he isn't "signing" letters as a representative of a nonexistent Senate district, is apparently given to using rhetoric like "He's half-Hispanic, therefore we'll get Hispanic votes!" to endorse Dave Williams. Hill, who joined with Representative Lambert to nominate Williams at the El Paso County GOP assembly, sent a bizarre letter (after the jump) on behalf of Williams. (Whether or not he wrote or signed it, I'll leave to the reader's discretion, but he certainly attached his name.)

"Dave Williams is half-Hispanic himself and is our best spokesman to win over Hispanic families who should be voting Republican…" 

 

(more…)

“See No Evil” Ag-Gag Laws: Coming Soon to CO?

Group of cattleThe latest weapon in the war between cost reduction and animal welfare: So-called ag-gag laws, which criminalize whistleblower investigations of animal cruelty. These "see no evil" measures protect agricultural enterprises at the expense of workers and consumers. Although these investigations enjoy the support of 71% of Americans, they mean huge costs for big ag. That's why laws that turn whistleblowers into felons have been introduced in eight states already, and why this destructive legislative agenda is likely to arrive in Colorado by 2015.

In a landmark 2008 case, a judgement totaling nearly half a billion dollars was entered against a meat supplier caught on film torturing "downer" cattle to get them to rise and walk to their deaths. Among other horrific abuses, workers were videotaped ramming collapsed cattle with a forklift. Downer cattle can't be sold for human consumption because they may risk transmitting Bovine Spongiform Encephalitis, aka "Mad Cow Disease." 

Needless to say, industrial agriculture isn't eager to accept up to $500,000,000 in possible liability, on top of ever-increasing operating costs. The American public consistently demands more, cheaper animal products, to the tune of 200 million additional pounds of meat year-over-year. Instead of establishing procedures to avoid animal abuse and the associated food safety risks, agribusiness has elected to push legislation that protects abusive businesses and hurts workers. Let's take a look: 

(more…)

Republican Evolution: Grassroots Radio Calls for Dave Williams to Bow Out

In covering Dave Williams this week, I've repeated over and over that the GOP is at a crossroads when it comes to gay rights: Can it still be acceptable in a major political party to refuse to treat gays with even basic human decency? Dave Williams is a convenient avatar for a type of Republican that is dying out, and none too soon. Today, we've got an example of what's arriving in his place: Conservative thinkers who not only invite GBLT Americans into their party, but who will actually stand up for them. 

(more…)

Dave Williams, Part Three: Gays No, Sex Offenders Yes

Dave WilliamsEarlier today, I posted about Dave Williams' extreme hostility toward the GBLT community, and the anti-gay bullying which led to Dave's impeachment as UCCS student body president. Yesterday, we covered Dave's disturbing, quasi-violent response to a request for an apology to the gay Army colonel he booed at the 2012 Republican state convention. Because Dave is so deeply committed to opposing homosexuality, one might assume he'd be even more intolerant of deviant sexual behavior that actually harms others, right?

Wrong.

The evidence below will show that Dave Williams has repeatedly gone to bat for the rights of registered sex offenders, while he's unwilling to extend the same courtesy to gays.

Let's take a look. 

(more…)

Dave Williams’ Contempt for the Gay Community Triggers El Paso County Republican Schism

UPDATE: The Colorado Log Cabin Republicans confirm that George Gramer, a US Army Colonel, was booed at the May, 2012 GOP state convention by El Paso County Republicans, including admitted boo-er Dave Williams. However, no Log Cabin representative was able to confirm previous allegations that anti-gay slurs were used. At the same convention, nearly 50% of Republicans supported a resolution favoring civil unions, and Ryan Call, Colorado Republican Party Chairman, scolded booers at the assembly for their lack of respect, as well as apologizing directly to the Log Cabin Republicans and to George personally for the booers' boorish behavior. Kudos to Call for behaving in a statesmanlike fashion when faced with bad actors within his party.

Last night's post was just a teaser. 

Today, in part two of three (yes, there's more!) let's really dig into Dave Williams, El Paso County GOP Vice Chair and a current candidate for El Paso County Republican Party Chair. Specifically, let's talk about his, ah, strained relationship to the gay community, and what that means for the leadership of a county where homosexuality has frequently dominated political discourse. 

(more…)

El Paso GOP Chair Candidate Dave Williams Has Violent Reaction to Apology Request

At least he's not your future county Republican party chair… unless he is

Earlier today, Jason broke the story that Dave Williams, aspiring El Paso County Republican Party Chairman, doesn't regret booing the Log Cabin Republicans at a Republican party assembly in May. Tonight, Williams was again asked to apologize for booing the GBLT Republican group, and instead of an apology, responded with this somewhat pathological Facebook post: 

(more…)

Tancredo Thinks Romney Got 40% of the Hispanic Vote in Arizona

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Tom Tancredo, immigration hater extraordinaire, seems to have crossed the line from making up his beliefs to making up his own facts to support them. His interaction last night with our very own Elliot Fladen was caught on video, which was posted today by Latino Rebels: Tancredo makes up Hispanic voter statistics.

As you’ll see from the video, the topic of discussion was “Do Hispanics vote based on a candidate’s immigration policies?” Tancredo attempts to defend his thesis that they don’t, by highlighting Romney’s 40% of the Hispanic vote in Arizona. The only problem is, that never happened. In fact, Romney got just over half that percentage. (more…)

Rep. Jerry Sonnenberg Means Well, But Still Giving Handouts to Animal Abusers

Remember the bill that brought me to this blog? It was a convoluted, confused mess of a giveaway to animal abusers, legislation written so poorly that clear beneficiaries like the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association testified against it because it was so hard to understand, and wound up dying in committee with only its sponsor’s vote in its favor. Fast forward to 2012: A much better animal cruelty law reform bill passed with bipartisan support, and with the support of the Colorado animal rescue community. The 2012 legislation provides accountability for impound costs, allows an owner’s vet to examine impounded animals within 72 hours, and provides for the return of paid impound costs if the owner is found not guilty of charges relating to impounded animals. It’s a good bill, and rescue organizations–recognizing that they, too, need checks and balances–were in favor.

Now, fast forward to today. (more…)

Tuesday Open Thread

“They say motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing. That’s why we recommend it daily.”

–Zig Ziglar, motivational speaker, died 11/28/12

Marijuana Task Force On the Job

The following is based largely on personal conversations with reliable sources who attended both subcommittees; regrettably, my work schedule did not allow me to attend.

Colorado’s Amendment 64 task force, convened by Governor Hickenlooper, has begun the long, hard work of implementing Amendment 64 in a way that protects both voters’ intent and the other, varied interests of Colorado. Two subgroups met on the first Thursday of 2013 to discuss health and safety; regulation; labeling; and related issues.

The members of the task force are:

Rep. Dan Pabon, appointed by the incoming Speaker of the House;

Sen. Cheri Jahn, appointed by the incoming President of the Senate;

Rep.-elect Dan Nordberg, appointed by the incoming House Minority Leader;

Sen.-elect Vicki Marble, appointed by the incoming Senate Minority Leader;

David Blake, representing the Colorado Attorney General;

Kevin Bommer, representing the Colorado Municipal League;

Eric Bergman, representing Colorado Counties Inc.;

Chris Urbina, the Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment;

James Davis, the Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Public Safety;

John Salazar, the Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture;

Ron Kammerzell, the Senior Director responsible for the Colorado Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division;

Christian Sederberg, representing the campaign to pass Amendment 64;

Meg Sanders, representing the medical marijuana dispensary and cultivation industry;

Craig Small, representing marijuana consumers;

Sam Kamin, a person with expertise in legal issues related to the legalization of marijuana;

Dr. Christian Thurstone, a person with expertise in the treatment of marijuana addiction;

Charles Garcia, representing the Colorado Commission on Criminal & Juvenile Justice;

Larry Abrahamson, representing the Colorado District Attorney’s Council;

Brian Connors, representing the Colorado State Public Defender;

Daniel Zook, an at-large member from outside of the Denver area;

Tamra Ward, representing the interests of employers; and

Mike Cerbo, representing the interests of employees.

In the subgroup dedicated to labeling and regulation, fiscal considerations were of paramount importance. Committee members indicated that the existing staffing and budget for medical marijuana regulation, investigation, and enforcement may be inadequate to cope with recreational legalization in the event that commercial sales of marijuana can be permitted, as required by Amendment 64. The committee discussed the regulation of alcohol as compared to medical marijuana regulation, and considered which regulatory framework would be closest to ideal regulation of recreational marijuana use.

[more after the jump]

The regulatory subgroup was businesslike and eager to tackle the challenges of implementing Amendment 64. Task force members made clear to members of the public that Amendment 64 is the law of the land, and that the committee would not debate the wisdom of marijuana legalization. Discussion was tightly focused on specific steps toward regulation and implementation, with the task force facing a late February deadline to produce its recommendations.

Another subgroup focused on health and safety issues related to the recreational legalization of marijuana. In this hearing, members of the public were livelier, with public comment from both marijuana proponents and opponents heard. However, as in the regulatory committee, the task force encouraged discussion to focus on the harm mitigation possible while respecting Amendment 64 as the law of the land, not on whether or not marijuana should be legal. Although passionate, discussion remained civil and focused, thanks in large part to the businesslike tone set by the task force itself.

Marijuana activists described their relief and gratitude at seeing, in some cases, decades of work validated. Those concerned about public safety and health were, by and large, respectful, diplomatic, and caring. Common ground was present, with some legalization advocates conceding that marijuana is not entirely harm-free–although, of course, they were equally ready to point out that alcohol, tobacco, and even soft drinks may do more harm to their users than marijuana.

Cynicism is a healthy response whenever a governmental body convenes to reluctantly implement policy that was taken out of policymakers’ hands by the voting public. As marijuana activists remember, Colorado’s medical marijuana industry has been hamstrung at various turns by stifling regulatory burdens (and sometimes by the misbehavior of obnoxious, impossible to work with marijuana activists). However, at this early date, most activists are prepared to compliment Governor Hickenlooper on convening a task force that appears so far to be moderate, responsible, and hard-working. A final judgment on the task force can only be made after its recommendations are delivered, but at this early date, optimism and a businesslike demeanor prevail among advocates on both sides of the marijuana issue.

Santa Visits Colorado Politicians

It’s amazing what you can learn from an exhausted reindeer stopping by the barn for a hot mash before making his long journey back to the North pole. Straight from the reindeer’s mouth (by way of a certain Progressive CowPony acting as translator), a special Christmas bulletin on Santa’s visit to Colorado politicians’ households. Although some of Colorado’s elected officials landed on the naughty list, Santa (concerned that a lump of coal would be mistaken for a lobbyist’s gift) dropped personalized presents down the chimney for several figures of political prominence. Here’s a sampling:

Governor John Hickenlooper: Cheetos and goldfish.

State Senator Brophy: An industrial strength slingshot, so those melons won’t go unmolested after gun control passes.

Secretary of State Scott Gessler: One threatening letter, which may be used to escape responsibility for one future abuse of public funds.

Congressman Jared Polis: A partridge in a pear tree. He already had everything else…

Representative Max Tyler: Family-sized box of Enstrom’s milk chocolate toffee.

Congressman Ed Perlmutter: Winter coats for his staff, currently freezing in their mandatory ponchos.

Representative Jonathan Singer: Get-out-of-trouble-free card permitting ONE, and ONLY one “joint committee” or “high stakes” pun about Amendment 64 on the House floor.

Brian Watson: Free entry into an adult spelling bee.

Lang Sias: A newer edition of Photoshop for better sign clean-up the NEXT time he’s heralded as a “rising star” when jumping into a clearly lost race against a solid incumbent.

Attorney General John Suthers: A raise, pre-wrapped for regifting to the next person to hold his seat.

Representative Dan Pabon: Diapers and one good night’s sleep.

Secretary Ken Salazar: Large punch bowl, to be filled and kept handy for the next time a journalist upsets him. What are you talking about? He just offered that reporter a festive beverage! See, there’s another gallon of it right here, have a cup.

Congressman Mike Coffman: Body double willing to occasionally talk to CD6 constituents.

Denver Post Editorial Board: A list of people who may possibly run for Congress in 2014, besides the incumbents–with two years’ lead time, who knows, maybe they’ll endorse one.

If anyone else has Christmas intel on what Colorado’s boldface names found under their trees, post it in the comments…

Light Up (If That’s Your Thing)

POLS UPDATE: AP’s Kristen Wyatt via the Washington Post:

Hickenlooper, a Democrat, opposed the measure but had no veto power over the voter-approved amendment to the state constitution. He tweeted his declaration Monday and sent an executive order to reporters by email after the fact. That prevented a countdown to legalization as seen in Washington, where the law’s supporters gathered to smoke in public…

Hickenlooper also announced a state task force Monday to help craft the marijuana regulations. The 24-member task force includes law enforcement, agriculture officials and marijuana advocates.

The governor admonished the task force not to ponder whether marijuana should be legal.

“The Task Force shall respect the will of the voters of Colorado and shall not engage in a debate of the merits of marijuana legalization,” the executive order read.

See the list of legalization task force members after the jump.

——

Update: In Hick’s office’s own words


Gov. John Hickenlooper today signed an Executive Order that makes an “official declaration of the vote” related to Amendment 64. That declaration formalizes the amendment as part of the state Constitution and makes legal the personal use, possession and limited home-growing of marijuana under Colorado law for adults 21 years of age and older.

It is still illegal under state law to buy or sell marijuana in any quantity and to consume marijuana in public or in a way that endangers others.

The latest, from Twitter:

Enjoy your day, folks. If you find yourself hungry, there’s a great new bakery around 8th and Colorado, Leaf and Crumb, that could use some business.  


Rep. Dan Pabon, appointed by the incoming Speaker of the House;

Sen. Cheri Jahn, appointed by the incoming President of the Senate;

Rep.-elect Dan Nordberg, appointed by the incoming House Minority Leader;

Sen.-elect Vicki Marble, appointed by the incoming Senate Minority Leader;

David Blake, representing the Colorado Attorney General;

Kevin Bommer, representing the Colorado Municipal League;

Eric Bergman, representing Colorado Counties Inc.;

Chris Urbina, the Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment;

James Davis, the Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Public Safety;

John Salazar, the Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture;

Ron Kammerzell, the Senior Director responsible for the Colorado Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division;

Christian Sederberg, representing the campaign to pass Amendment 64;

Meg Sanders, representing the medical marijuana dispensary and cultivation industry;

Craig Small, representing marijuana consumers;

Sam Kamin, a person with expertise in legal issues related to the legalization of marijuana;

Dr. Christian Thurstone, a person with expertise in the treatment of marijuana addiction;

Charles Garcia, representing the Colorado Commission on Criminal & Juvenile Justice;

Larry Abrahamson, representing the Colorado District Attorney’s Council;

Brian Connors, representing the Colorado State Public Defender;

Daniel Zook, an at-large member from outside of the Denver area;

Tamra Ward, representing the interests of employers; and

Mike Cerbo, representing the interests of employees.