Colorado’s 1,000 Year Storm: a Call to Climate Action

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

As Colorado marks the one-year anniversary of the 1,000-year rainstorm that affected much of the Front Range, NextGen Climate CO is urging voters this November to support candidates who will act on climate issues. The record-breaking rainfall led to a 100-year flood that caused more than $2 billion in damages to homes, businesses and roadways from Fort Collins down to Colorado Springs.

“From more intense wildfires to record-breaking rainfall, Coloradans are being hit hard by the extreme weather events made worse by climate change,” said Abby Leeper, spokesperson for NextGen Climate Colorado. “The recovery and progress made since last year’s tragedy is a true testament to Coloradans’ resilience, but we must elect leaders with proactive stances on this issue. We can no longer afford to sit by and allow climate-science deniers, backed by Big Oil, to stall action.”

In Colorado, the impacts of climate change are already being felt.

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Republicans Need Down-Ballot Miracle in Jefferson County

We've talked plenty in this space of the inconceivably ridiculous problems that Jefferson County Republicans have brought upon themselves and the rest of the GOP ticket this fall. Problems began long before the June 24 Primary Election, but things have only gotten worse since Tea Party favorites Tony Sanchez (SD-22) and Laura Waters Woods (SD-19) won their respective Primary races for the GOP nomination.

Jefferson County Republicans have had trouble recruiting strong candidates in the most important electoral county in the state, and they've even had trouble just convening a vacancy committee before the deadlines outlined in state statute. There's little dispute that Jefferson County will decide the outcome of Colorado's statewide races — as goes Jeffco, so goes Colorado — and a continued poor showing by GOP legislative candidates coupled with community anger at the Jeffco School Board could have a lasting effect in November. Fundraising figures don't provide a complete picture of the problems facing Jeffco candidates, but the comparisons are telling. Take a look at the chart below:

There are a handful of legislative races in Jefferson County that we are not including here, primarily because they are not really competitive seats for one Party or the other (HD-22, safe GOP seat; HD-24, safe Dem seat).

Taking into account the theoretically competitive Senate and House races, seven Democrats have raised $871,173 through the most recent — and final — quarterly fundraising period of 2014. Republicans, meanwhile, have raised about $272,406 — or about one-third the amount brought in by Jeffco Democrats.

In both HD-23 and HD-29, Republican candidates were late entrants after the first batch of GOP candidates were scrubbed from the ballot. Replacement candidates Jane Barnes and Susan Kochevar, respectively, have done very little in terms of raising money.

On the Senate side, Republican Primary winners Laura Waters Woods (SD-19) and Tony Sanchez (SD-22) have been less-than-impressive in their own fundraising efforts

While the outcomes of these Jeffco legislative races may not end up changing the makeup of either the State House or State Senate, the margins of defeat could have major repercussions for top-ballot candidates such as Bob Beauprez and Cory Gardner. If the races for Governor and U.S. Senate come down to Jefferson County voters, a weak stable of legislative candidates could spell D-O-O-M.

 

 

Coffman snuggled by Spanish-language radio host, who works for the Independence Institute

Mike Coffman spends 15 minutes with his Spanish tutor every night, and last month, he put his skills to the test by subjecting himself to the fire of a Spanish-language interview on KNRV’s radio’s “El Programa de Raaki,” electing to answer questions in Spanish.

But there was no fire at all. Not even a smolder, as Garcia snuggled Coffman as he stumbled through the interview below. At the end, Garcia repeated (in clear Spanish) Coffman’s proposal to offer a path to citizenship to Dreamers through military service.

She made no mention of Coffman’s opposition to a path to citizenship for millions of adult undocumented immigrants–or his opposition to the Senate-passed immigration-reform bill, or his votes to deport Dreamers, etc.

All this makes sense when you know that Garcia is actually an employee of the Independence Institute, the conservative think tank. But Garcia didn’t mention it during the Coffman interview, nor is it stated anywhere on the radio station’s website. And it’s never come up in previous shows I’ve listened to.

Closest thing is this disclaimer heard, in Spanish, immediately prior to the KNRV show, saying:

The following is a paid program. This station assumes no responsibility for the commentaries broadcasted.

The important thing is to be informed of what is happening around us. 1150 AM presents El Programa de Raaki. Here you will find out about how important it is to be familiar with the laws that affect us, about opportunities in education, we will talk about politics, and something more. [Music: “Let Freedom Ring," and more]

Who’s paying the bill? We don’t know, and Garcia did not comment in response to calls and emails, but “El Programa de Raaki” is featured on the home-page of the Independence Institute’s website and Garcia, who goes by Garcia-Ulam during her day job, is listed on the staff page.

A Google search took me to the July/August newsletter of the State Policy Network, which funds market-oriented think tanks, where Raaki Garcia explains the purpose of her radio show and tries to convince other think tanks to give Spanish-language radio a try.

Through The Raaki Garcia Show, Colorado’s Independence Institute reaches an audience the freedom movement often finds elusive: Hispanics. It’s the state’s only Spanish-language conservative talk radio show and Colorado’s top-rated radio show for the past year. “Hispanics from Mexico, Central, and South America grew up listening to talk radio . . . . It’s part of our culture . . . . We don’t grow up watching TV,” explains Garcia, who doubles as the Institute’s Hispanic Education Coordinator. [Fact check: Sources say KBNO has higher ratings than KNRV.]

The show has succeeded partially because Garcia was already known within Colorado’s Hispanic community, for whom trust is fundamental for any relationship. Building upon that trust, Garcia began introducing the Institute’s conservative economic policies and Colorado’s Republican legislators to her listeners. In interviews, she showcases legislators as people, rather than Republicans, to connect with her listeners and combat negative stereotypes about both the GOP and politicians more generally.

Garcia encourages other think tanks to start similar shows, lest they miss a huge, and growing, audience. To do it properly, she suggests finding a host who is already known, respected, and trusted within the local Hispanic community. Ideally, the host would both speak Spanish fluently and ethnically reflect the local majority Hispanic population (e.g., Cuban or Mexican). The think tank would then identify what new and relevant information they could share with the Hispanic community, whether that’s tax credits or education policy. [BigMedia emphasis]

The use of the show to promote Republican candidates, like Coffman, appears to be out-of-line with the Independence’s Institutes non-partisan tax status.

The introduction to the article doesn’t mention Republicans in particular, but it refers to “persuadable voters.”

Generating broad support for free-market policy reforms means state think tanks must reach persuadable voters outside their typical audiences. In the spirit of this year’s Annual Meeting theme, Dare to Disrupt, several think tanks have begun engaging non-traditional partners to advance their policy goals. SPN partnered with journalist Melissa Langsam Braunstein to share the stories of—and lessons learned by—four think tanks that have formed innovative partnerships to educate the public and advance freedom.

Reaching persuadable voters clearly overlaps with Coffman’s campaign goal, as he battles Democrat Andrew Romanoff to represent a district where the population is 20 percent Hispanic.

Coffman has been campaigning in Spanish, as reported by Fox 31 Denver’s Eli Stokols last week, and he’s mostly able to get his points across, as you can hear in the Garcia interview below.

The Colorado Statesman described Coffman’s Spanish program in more detail:

Part of that effort in a district that counts more than 80 languages spoken in its public schools includes the congressman learning Spanish, a project that involves a couple hours spent with Rosetta Stone every week and nightly phone calls with a tutor. (The redrawn 6th CD counts a Hispanic population of roughly 20 percent, and Romanoff is fluent in the language.)

“He’s getting surprisingly good,” [Coffman spokesperson] Tyler Sandberg says. It makes a big difference when he shows up at community events and can communicate. “They appreciate his willingness to learn their language, especially first-generation who are more comfortable speaking in their native language.” Sandberg adds, “He can’t learn all the languages — he likes to joke that his Arabic is so poor he’d start a war by himself — but he learned a little Arabic when he was in Iraq, and the largest mosque in the state is in the district.”

But Coffman is far from fluent, in contrast to Romanoff, who is fluent. At one point during the Garcia interview, which stands as a bizarre symbol of Coffman’s struggle to adapt to his redrawn district, Coffman’s answer to Garcia’s question made no sense whatsoever, presumably meaning Coffman totally misunderstood the query. Garcia cut off the Congressman and repeated the question to him in English. Coffman then answered in Spanish.

The snuggling is so blatant maybe Garcia thinks her listeners already know about her conservative leanings and affiliations. But I still think she should state them openly.

Jon Caldara regularly identifies himself as president of the Independence Institute prior to his Devil’s Advocate KBDI-TV show, which is sponsored programming.

And so do the other tentacles of the Independence Institute’s media empire. During her daily two-hour radio show on KFKA radio in Greeley, Independence Institute staffer Amy Oliver often mentions who employs her. So does Caldara on his weekly KHOW radio show. The Institute’s stable of media commentators, like Research Director Dave Kopel, sometimes aren’t properly identified by reporters, but maybe that’s not as much in their control.

As a progressive journalist, I’d be a hypocrite if I trashed Garcia for being a conservative radio host. And I have no desire to shut her down. Obviously she’s not trying to hide her libertarian association, but she should just be more up-front about it on her radio show.

Doug Lamborn Proves Again Why Safe Seats Suck

Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs).

Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs).

As the Colorado Springs Gazette's Megan Schrader reports, there will no debates this year between incumbent GOP Rep. Doug Lamborn of Colorado Springs and his Democratic opponent, retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Irv Halter:

"The Congressman will not be providing Mr. Halter with a platform to spread his deceptive rhetoric and uncivil tone," campaign spokesman Jarred Rego wrote in an email to The Gazette. "People know where Congressman Lamborn stands on the issues. The only person in this race whose positions are unknown is Mr. Halter, who keeps masquerading as a moderate, all while disguising his liberal views."

Halter, a retired Air Force major general, said refusing to debate with him is part of a pattern Lamborn has shown since he was elected in 2006.

"There is huge frustration with his attendance record at meetings and his lack of accessibility," Halter said. "I get this more from Republicans than I do from Democrats. He has been a congressman for eight years, and they do not know him."

Every election season, opponents make what hay they can from the complexities, both temporal and political, of scheduling debates with one another. In the end, of course, they usually do debate at least once. But as you can see, Doug Lamborn doesn't need to hide behind scheduling excuses, he can just flatly tell the local paper that he's not going to debate his opponent because the guy is a big, bad, meanie liberal–and Doug Lamborn need not descend from his safe-seat ivory tower to even give Gen. Halter the time of day.

In a way, Lamborn's arrogant refusal to debate his Democratic opponent is a metaphor for his entire political career. The 5th Congressional District was Colorado's model safe Republican seat until the 2011 redistricting cycle made Rep. Cory Gardner's CD-4 an ultra-red bastion in its own right. Lamborn's principal competition for the seat has always been during Republican primaries, and Lamborn has faced heated primary challenges repeatedly since winning his seat in 2006. A reliable placeholder vote for the Republican majority and defense contractors, Lamborn has done almost nothing else to distinguish himself in office. His constituent services are by all accounts an afterthought compared to his predecessor Rep. Joel Hefley. And when Lamborn does make headlines, it's usually for something ridiculous he says like his Obama "tar baby" gaffe.

Given the right combination of circumstances, we can envision a Marilyn Musgrave-style pickoff of Lamborn, based solely on Lamborn's ineptitude, in any given election. His replacement might not last in office longer than Musgrave's successor did, but in terms of personal skill as a candidate and politician, Lamborn is a joke–propped up artificially by his safe Republican seat.

In a perfect world, incompetence should always be a vulnerability.

Shocked at the Ray Rice elevator video? Don’t be.

I am not shocked at the NFL Ray Rice elevator video, which shows the Ravens running back punching his fiancee, then dragging her unconscious body out of the elevator.

I am not shocked at the NFL's ignoring the incident and its initial penalty for Rice: a two-game suspension.

I am not shocked at the sudden dramatic reversal in the NFL's treatment of domestic violence offenses – now, a domestic violence offense will be treated more severely than, say, pee tainted with marijuana. A six-game ban for a first offense, lifetime ban for a second.

I wish I could say I was shocked at Ray's then- fiance, Janae Rice, declining to press charges against Rice, and eventually marrying her abuser. I've been there, and I understand.  The average victim tries to leave her abuser seven times before she succeeds, if she succeeds before she is killed or permanently injured.  I think it took me nine incidents before I left for the last time. And for all of the little kids trapped in violent homes, keep in mind that they can’t leave. They are children, who more than likely will perpetuate the cycle of violence as adults because everything they have seen in their lives teaches them that family punch-outs are just the way things work.

The NFL’s waffling merely reflects the way we as Americans deal with domestic violence – we don’t see, we hide, we look away, we blame the victim, we tell couples to “patch it up”, we  promulgate the legal fantasy that “both parties are equally to blame”.  And if there are billions of dollars on the line (1.43 billion is the average worth of an NFL franchise), then why should a woman or two getting beaten steer this financial juggernaut off course?

Sports is big business, and it is a violent business. That is sort of the point. Concussions, traumatic brain and other injury – broadcasters spend thousands of well-paid advertising minutes discussing these finer points of each game.

But what happened on that elevator,  is a crime. It should be treated like any other aggravated assault – indictment, day in court, jail time or other punishment.  Not just being sidelined for a game or six.

Football fans, I have a question for you: Are you willing to allow  more severe penalties for criminally violent football players, even if this means fewer big stars, less violent games, or (horrors) that your favorite team may not win, if the MVP is grounded for battery and assault? Ray Rice was fired from the Ravens team. Does this now fix the problem of violence perpetrated on and off the football field?

Because I think that’s the conflict at the bottom of this.  How addicted are you to football violence? How ambivalent are you about your favorite blood sport? You bought the T shirt – hell, you probably bought all  your kids jerseys, too. Not to mention the season tickets, the team logo towels and mugs and jackets and souvenirs.  Fans make football what it is.

The NFL’s sudden decision to severely penalize players with domestic assaults is, in my opinion, a transparent attempt to woo back their female fan base, to get them to give the fan-franchise relationship a go one more time, to promise that things will get better, that the violence won't happen again, but let's just  keep the dollars flowing.  Will it work?

Live Blog (Sort Of): Mark Udall vs. Cory Gardner, U.S. Senate Debate

GardnerStache

Perhaps Cory Gardner could have formed a better connection with the Western Slope by borrowing Randy Baumgardner’s mustache.

It’s time to fire up the Colorado Pols Debate Diary once again. That's right, friends: It's live-blog time!

It has become something of a tradition here at Colorado Pols for us to give you, our loyal readers, a live blog, play-by-play of political debates in Colorado. This afternoon we are live-blogging a video replay of Saturday's first U.S. Senate debate between Sen. Mark Udall and Rep. Cory Gardner. You've seen some clips from Saturday's Club 20 debate in Grand Junction, and you may have followed some of the action on Twitter.

We didn't go to Grand Junction on Saturday evening, but we were able to get our hands on a full recording of the Udall/Gardner debate. Since this is the first time we are watching the debate as it unfolds, this really is live in one sense of the word; we'll be updating the diary below in real time as we watch the video. In other words, the debate isn't "live," but our "live blog" is "live." Whatever — you get the point.

We will provide a link to the full debate video as soon as a public version becomes available (we don't want to download and host the entire video ourselves because of space limitations).

*NOTE: The most current update appears at the top of the page. As always, unless it is in direct quotes, consider all statements paraphrased in the interest of time.

 

FINAL IMPRESSIONS
While neither Mark Udall nor Cory Gardner was particularly impressive during their first debate, there were clear contrasts drawn on Saturday. Gardner seemed to stick to a pre-debate strategy that revolved around saying "Obama" as many times as possible and otherwise dancing around any specific question. Udall was not as commanding as he has been in the past, but he was devastatingly effective when he calmly pointed out inconsistencies in Gardner's record or his refusal to answer direct questions. Gardner clearly wants to stay out of the weeds on specific policy questions, and that's a reasonable strategy, but he needs to recognize when his "strategy" is starting to backfire; Gardner is painting himself into a corner by repeatedly offering up answers of little substance, because it doesn't take long before it becomes more theme than strategy. This was also — theoretically, at least — friendly territory for Gardner, but he failed to take advantage of that atmosphere by not adjusting and adapting his strategy during the debate. Gardner needed a 'Win" here; there was less at stake for Udall, but he pulled out the victory anyway. We're very interested to see how each candidate changes their approach heading into the next big debate.

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Campaign Ads Criticize the ACA, But Are the Claims Accurate?

(Facts beat fiction every time – promoted by Colorado Pols)

As it turns out, maybe not.

As it turns out, maybe not.

​Every time we turn on the TV, we see a new political ad opposing the Affordable Care Act. How do some of these claims stand up to closer examination?

Claim: 355,000 Coloradans have received cancellation notices for health insurance policies.

What you need to know: It’s true that thousands of Coloradans were notified in 2013 that their policies would not be renewed in 2014. Note the time frame: It was a one-time event, prompted by provisions in the ACA that required insurance policies to meet minimum standards.

Whether the letters were called “cancellation notices” – an incorrect term – or “non-renewal notices” – a more accurate description – the reason for the change in most cases was that the policies did not include the ACA’s 10 essential benefits. These include preventive-care services and coverage for pregnancy and mental health, and they are designed to ensure that Americans have adequate insurance for health emergencies.

Use of the term “cancellation notice” implies that customers were cut loose, left high and dry. In fact, because of the ACA, insurance companies were required to give customers the option of purchasing an alternative policy. Customers also had the option of buying a competing plan through the health insurance exchange. Those plans had the potential to be cheaper, and if a customer’s income was low enough, subsidies could make coverage even more affordable.

Also, after complaints and to help people navigate the new landscape, the Colorado Division of Insurance allowed policyholders to keep non-compliant plans through the end of 2015, as long as the carrier continued to offer them.

Finally, it’s worth remembering that the individual market was unpredictable for customers before the ACA. Insurance companies often canceled or changed policies every year, forcing families to scramble for new policies or settle for ones that often didn’t meet their needs.

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Radio host would be “shocked beyond imagination” if Beauprez likened Americans to sheep. Well, he did.

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

“Both Ways” Bob Beauprez (right).

I spoke last week with the radio duo of yore, Dan Caplis and Craig Silverman, who were co-hosting Dan Caplis' KNUS show.

Caplis and Silverman think The Denver Post should have more coverage of Hick's comments on CNN about the death-penalty, despite copious coverage already, including blog posts, letters, a front-page news story, titled "Gov. suggests killer could get full reprieve," and then a pile-on weekend piece, "Colorado's Death Penalty Voters Could Make Hickenlooper Pay."

I pointed out that The Post has yet to even mention many of the most bizarre statements that Hick's opponent, Bob Beauprez, made during his "wilderness years," after he left Congress and started running (and talking) in Tea Party circles, like Beauprez's radio 2010 comments, reported by the Colorado Independent's Susan Greene that we're living "ever closer" to "one world order," and "we're living through what a short time ago was fantasy, Orwell's 1984."

Beauprez: "A lot of people think we're kind of out there, that we're on the fringe, for even talking like this, but the real failure is to not recognize the reality that's around you,"

Yes, that's the word "reality" he used.

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UN Liberals, Unicorn Bans, and Better Broadband—The Battle for Senate District 5

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Senator Gail Schwartz, who has rather tirelessly worked on behalf of Senate District 5 is term-limited, and the battle to replace her is considered one of the top races this cycle for control of the Colorado Senate.  The contest is between Kerry Donavan, town councilor for Vail, and member of a long time Eagle County business and ranching family; and, Don Suppes the self-proclaimed “most conservative mayor” from Orchard City, an incorporated water district on the southern flanks of Grand Mesa, somewhere roughly between Delta and Cedaredge

The Club 20 debates yesterday not only included the marque races for Governor and U.S. Senator, and the second string races for CD 3 (Tipton, R-Worthless and Tapia, D-Pueblo, again) and CD 2 (featuring George Leing talking to himself), but a number of down ticket races as well including one shaping up to be a major battle in the fight to keep or take control of the state senate. 

Senate District 5–which includes Eagle, Lake, Gunnison, Chafee, Pitkin, and Delta counties–bridges the Divide: at the spine of the continent, as well as in the politics in western Colorado. 

Far from the ‘Republican stronghold’ some imagine it to be—western Colorado actually has classically divided politics: a number of areas are blue and trending bluer, even as the Republican strangleholds on places like Mesa and Moffat County increase.

And there is a strong sentiment toward being non-affiliated: which spans the range from conservative to liberal, and not always in familiar pairings.  A lot of folks like guns, and pot.  Your neighbors might be a changing band of hippies or survivalists bunkering down for the post-apocalypse.  Sometimes its the same group of people.  Its not a new thing and we like it that way.  We can be a little crusty, but most of us are friendly, and we help each other out.  

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Tancrendo to Obama: Get out of the office or face armed rebellion

(Eep – promoted by Colorado Pols)

(Image credit goes to Constantine Report)

 

The word “treason” gets thrown around a lot these days, but in this case the shoe absolutely fits.

Tom Tancredo, a former Colorado Congressman and recent Gubernatorial primary loser, has become increasingly vocal about the idea that if Obama isn’t impeached, or better yet, steps down willingly, there will be an armed rebellion in the United States which forces him to do so. Concern-troll Tancredo doesn’t want to see violence, so he is kindly asking the president to consider taking the first option. In other words: blackmailing the freely elected President of the United States by threatening violence against him and his administration. In other-other words: treason.

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Gardner: “There is no federal personhood bill.”

(Once again–the federal Life at Conception Act contains the same operative language as Colorado's Personhood abortion ban. Gardner's distinction according to fact-checkers, is complete BS. – promoted by Colorado Pols)

Cory Gardner's Personhood twist

9News political reporter Brandon Rittiman got one-on-one interviews with both senatorial candidates last week, and the questions he chose to ask Sen. Mark Udall and his Republican opponent, Rep. Cory Gardner, should earn him the respect of conservatives and progressives.

One of Rittiman's questions for Gardner has been consistently overlooked by Denver journalists:

Rittiman: How do you square your recent change on personhood at the state level with the bill that you still are on in Congress. The life begins at conception act?

Gardner: Well, there is no federal personhood bill. They're two different pieces of legislation, two different things.

Rittman followed up by pointing out that other co-sponsors of the bill say it it is federal personhood, and asking, "But it's still a piece of legislation that says abortion ought to be illegal, no?"

Gardner: No. It says life begins at conception. Look, Sen. Mark Udall is trying to say that it's something that it's not.

Rather than letting Gardner's false statement slide, Rittiman reported:

Rittiman: At the very least, the bill is meant to set up a legal challenge to a woman's right to choose. [Factcheck.org supports Rittiman's reporting here.]

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Club20 Live Blog

(Action in comments, coverage to follow – promoted by Colorado Pols)

POLS UPDATE: The first video clip forwarded to us from today's Club 20 debates is of GOP gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez, rejecting coverage of pre-existying conditions and making some pretty stark "personal experience" claims about the Affordable Care Act and Colorado's new insurance exchange. Fact-checkers, sharpen your pencils:

BEAUPREZ: What you need is leadership and not just conversation. And that's what we've had. We did all this, all this Obamacare, we did all of that and increased premiums on people, to take care of people with pre-existing conditions, I don't think so. [Pols emphasis] There is a much easier and much cheaper way and much more efficient way to do that. My, my daughter-in-law to be, checked on your insurance exchange, she got her insurance cancelled, and it would cost exactly twice as much to get a new policy as it did before. [Pols emphasis] Therefore, she doesn't have one today. That's a crime, ladies and gentlemen, you want to ensure people, you ought to make it affordable… (inaudible, applause) 

The Denver Post's Joey Bunch reports from the gubernatorial debate:

Beauprez hammered on one of Hickenlooper's perceived strengths: a rebounding economy, citing statistics that painted a dimmer picture than those Hickenlooper has cited for months, including the nation's fastest growing economy…

Beauprez said Hickenlooper had not grown the state's economy as much as the size of its government. He recited his campaign refrain about his disdain for regulations.

"On Day One, I will freeze non-essential regulations," he vowed.

The affable governor responded with uncharacteristically sharp elbows.

"Maybe you should be running for congress if you want to target federal issues," Hickenlooper said. [Pols emphasis]

—–

club20logoclearbackground

Both ways opening, sounds like he got the meds wrong.

OK, big event starting Gardner v. Udall…

READ THIS: The Many Lies of Con Man Cory

(Link rich – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

This evening, Rep. Cory Gardner will join Sen. Mark Udall in Grand Junction for the first debate of the 2014 U.S. Senate race. There are a lot of issues at stake in this race, and I wanted to take a moment to recap everything we’ve been talking about so far.

No politician is perfect, but Cory Gardner could truly be one of the most deceptive candidates Colorado has seen in years. Just this week, the Associated Press reported that one of Gardner’s latest TV ads, which you’ve probably seen, claims credit for “launching” Colorado’s green energy industry. The truth is Gardner opposed the landmark 2004 law, Amendment 37, that made Colorado a leader in the renewable energy economy. And the bill that Gardner sponsored never funded a single renewable energy project before being repealed.

Tell Cory Gardner it’s time for the lies to stop.

There’s a reason we call him Con Man Cory. From the moment Cory Gardner entered the race for the U.S. Senate, he has been covering up his long political record–a record that ranked him as the 10th most right-wing member of Congress in 2012, according to National Journal. Days after getting into the Senate race, Gardner claimed to have disavowed the Colorado Personhood abortion bans he’s supported for years, even though he is still sponsor of federal legislation that would do the same thing: ban abortion and many common forms of birth control.

On every issue that matters to women and families, Gardner is not only trying to claim a new position; he is trying to pretend his old votes didn’t happen. Gardner claims today that he "never" supported the disastrous shutdown of the federal government last year, which impeded recovery from devastating floods that impacted our state just days before. But the truth is, Gardner did support the shutdown, voted with his party at every step to shut down the government, and publicly defended the Republican strategy. In addition to impeding flood recovery, the shutdown’s closure of the state’s national parks and monuments cost Colorado’s economy millions of dollars.

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Pigeon Pie and Fracking Sage Grouse: On Caring for Our Furred, Finned, and Feathered Neighbors

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

A recent story on National Public Radio about the last passenger pigeon’s death in the Cincinnati Zoo – 100 years ago on September 1—raises questions about the role and responsibility of humans in caring for the well-being of other species.

The passenger pigeon was once the most plentiful bird in North America, flocks of which would blacken the sun behind mile after mile of undulating clouds—driven to rapid extinction by human avarice, poor practice, and the absence of professional wildlife management that follows species, and science, even across state lines. 

Those human failures are what we remember the passenger pigeon for, as an article about its recent, sad anniversary in the NY Times noted: 

[We] remember the passenger pigeon because of the largest-scale human-caused extinction in history.  Possibly the most abundant bird ever to have existed, this gregarious pigeon once migrated in giant flocks that sometimes exceeded three billion, darkening the skies over eastern North America for days at a time. No wild bird in the world comes close to those numbers today. Yet 100 years ago this week, the very last pigeon of her kind died in her cage at the Cincinnati Zoo. Her name was Martha, and her passing merits our close attention today.

Martha’s passing merits our attention and reflection because we know better now, or at least we should.  Now we have professional wildlife management. And we have federal laws that can compel action if state management to protect vulnerable species is not sufficient to get the job done.

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What Military Gear Did Your Police Department Purchase?

Do you want to know what military surplus equipment your favorite law enforcement division picked up under the 1033 program? Well, you're in luck! NPR has published its research in nice easy-to-search files on Google Drive. According to their analysis, only three percent of the transfers under the program were weapons – but there are still a lot of weapons in the bunch.

Is your city or county police department suddenly flush with bayonets? (Yes, I'm looking at you, Englewood and La Plata – WTF do you need with dozens of bayonets?!?!?) Did your county sheriff's office acquire more M16A1's and M14's than it had officers? (That might be you, El Paso County, with 44 M16's and 4 M14's…) Did your city find itself severely short of M16A1s the last time it had to control protesters (Colorado Springs – 140 M16's and 14 M14's)?

Or perhaps your department opted for a robot bomb disposal unit (we got a few, but let's give a special shout out to the bombing hotspots of Mesa and La Plata counties for picking up three each!), or what appears to be serious amounts of firefighting equipment (Archuleta seems like it went on a particular spree with intrenchment tools and packs…), or maybe just some utility vehicles.

Colorado's list is all here, sorted by organization. If you'd like it split out differently, or want to peruse other states' data, the complete data set is also available.