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Colorado News Miner 116

Anti-LGBTQ GOP, Republican candidates, approval voting and the Boebert race, Colorado fossil update, Alan Berg, Caldara's heart, the Dillon amphitheater, trans cakes, and more.

Copyright © 2024 by Ari Armstrong
June 25, 2024

Happy Primary Day!

More Republican Fallout

My Commentary: I wrote two op-eds for Complete Colorado, "The Colorado GOP's transgender moral panic" and "Pride goeth before the state GOP's destruction". I also wrote a more-detailed article for the Colorado Times Recorder, "Exaggerations, Half-Truths, and Lies: How CO GOP Leader Williams Wraps Bigotry in Faux-Religious Rhetoric."

We Need Liberty Dems: As I Threaded: I now believe that the Republican Party of Colorado is too morally rotten to try to salvage. (I switched to Democrat to protest Dave Williams's election as chair.) People who care about economic liberty here need to form a Democratic liberty or blue-dog caucus. That's the only path forward that I see. Yes, there remain good Republicans. But they're overwhelmed by the bigoted authoritarians. Prove me wrong, Republicans.

Williams Talks to 9News: Williams denies that what he has said constitutes "anti-gay hate," and he confirms the Republican Party under his leadership is "going to stand against this Pride movement."

Corruption: Sandra Fish: "Colorado GOP spent $20,000 supporting Chairman Dave Williams’ congressional campaign in May, report shows."

Williams on Caldara: State GOP chair Dave Williams, who has used GOP resources to promote his Congressional campaign, called Jon Caldara, head of the Independence Institute (the organization which runs Complete Colorado, where I write a column), a "blowhard" and a "grifter" who "does nothing to benefit the state." Williams has picked up Trump's habit of projecting his own worst qualities onto others.

Get More Smarter on GOP: You can hear Jason Bane and Ian Silverii gloat about the implosion of the state GOP. They provide good additional background about the GOP's anti-LGBTQ bigotry.

Kaminsky on the GOP: Ross Kaminsky is among those unhappy with the party.

Denver GOP on Williams: Ernest Luning: "The [Denver] county [Republican] party's executive committee voted [June 12] to join a chorus of Republican county organizations, party officers and elected officials calling on Williams to resign or face a vote to boot him from office amid complaints over emails Williams sent at the beginning of June denouncing Pride Month."

Conspiracy Monger Williams: Williams has raised "the Possibility That His Primary Election Will Be Rigged" because of course he has.

Wadhams on Williams: Dick Wadhams does not like Dave Williams.

Republican Candidate Watch

Boebert Welcomes Oltmann: Kyle Clark: "Rep Lauren Boebert (R-CO) is hosting a campaign event tomorrow [June 14] at Joe Oltmann's DCF Guns. Oltmann has called for the mass hangings of his political opponents."

Flora on IVF: Republican congressional candidate Deborah Flora said (in Kyle Clark's summary) that "banning IVF is a states rights issue" but even state "government should [not] tell people what to do with their embryos." It's amazing how many words she spilled to answer a seemingly simple question.

Holtorf on Abortion: Republican congressional candidate Richard Holtorf says he's against abortion and votes to restrict abortion rights, yet he paid for his girlfriend to abort a fetus he fathered. Ladies and gentlemen, your Republican Party of Colorado. Sheesh.

Evans on Elections: Jason Salzman: "The Trump Campaign won't say whether Trump's endorsement of Colorado congressional candidate Gabe Evans was influenced by Evans' refusal to say, two days before the endorsement, whether he thinks the 2020 presidential election was legitimate or stolen from Trump."

Approval Voting

Kafer on Ranked-Choice Voting: At first glance it appears that Krista Kafer and I have opposite views of Emily Sirota's amendment to delay the implementation of ranked-choice voting, should voters approve it this Fall. We agree that ranked-choice voting has serious problems, most importantly that it makes for a complicated ballot. But Kafer is missing the forest for the trees. The fundamental problem is that Colorado government gives political parties special privileges and tax subsidies, and that is morally wrong as well as damaging to our democratic republic. Kafer spends not a single word discussing that problem. The problem with Kent Thiry, who is funding the ballot measure in question, is that he combines a reform of the primary system with ranked-choice voting. Those two things need not be tied! Kafer says Sirota's amendment was better than not passing the amendment. My critique was that the Democrat-dominated legislature spent the entire session failing to address the fundamental problem with our system of party favoritism. The legislature could have rendered Thiry's proposal moot. Also: None of Kafer's criticisms of ranked-choice voting apply to approval voting (vote for as many candidates as you want), which I favor.

Approval Voting and the Boebert Race: A full 60% of people in a recent poll declined to say they prefer Lauren "Carpetbagger" Boebert for the Fourth Congressional. Of course this means that Boebert, who nevertheless shows 40% support in a crowded field, is certain to win the primary. (See also Kyle Clark's take.) This is just the sort of problem that approval voting would overcome. My guess is that, with approval voting, Boebert still would win the primary, as a lot of people probably would include her in their mix. But it's possible that enough voters could vote "anyone but Boebert" (by voting for all or many of the other candidates on the ballot) that someone else would win. We'll never know. Even if approval voting would not change the outcome in this case, obviously it would change the outcome in some cases, generally for the better. What's your reply to that, Krista?

Colorado Fossil Update

Newly Discovered Mammal: DMNS: "Denver Museum of Nature & Science researchers are excited to announce the fossil discovery of a species of a 65-million-year-old mammal that was collected in the Corral Bluffs area on the edge of Colorado Springs. The newly discovered species, named Militocodon lydae, is part of a group of animals that gave rise to all modern hoofed mammals, including deer, cows and pigs. . . . . The researchers named the mammal Militocodon lydae in honor of two extraordinary contributors to the Corral Bluffs project: volunteer and retired Colorado Springs teacher Sharon Milito and Museum supporter and champion of Colorado Springs Lyda Hill." Classy move!

Teen Rex: DMNS: In the Badlands near Marmarth, North Dakota, "a trio of young adventurers, eight-year-old Liam and 11-year-old Jessin, and their 10-year-old cousin Kaiden Madsen, were on a fossil-hunting adventure when they came across large bones weathering out of a sedimentary rock formation." They turned out to be bones from a rare juvenile T-rex.

Newly Discovered Ceratopsian: CSU: "The new dinosaur [Lokiceratops rangiformis] was identified and named by Colorado State University affiliate faculty member Joseph Sertich and University of Utah Professor Mark Loewen." See also the journal article.

Quick Takes

Remembering Alan Berg: Kyle Clark remembers Alan Berg, murdered forty years ago by Neo-Nazis. See also Wiki's entry.

Caldara's Health Scare: Jon Caldara recently had a heart scare.

Trans Care Ballot Measure: Seth Klamann: "The Colorado Supreme Court on Monday rejected a proposed ballot measure that would have broadly banned gender-affirming care and surgery for minors. The court ruled that the supporters of Initiative 175 had not quickly enough appealed a state administrative board’s rejection of the proposal."

Dillon Amphitheater: Apparently the town of Dillon has been giving one particular church a sweet deal on using the city owned outdoor amphitheater. See the DenverPost and the Friendly Atheist. I thought about writing a column to the effect that maybe towns ought not own and operate entertainment venues. That's a worthy point, but Dillon could fix the problem at hand just by renting out the amphitheater to all comers on equal terms. If you're a government entity, you can't rent to Christians unless you also rent to Muslims and Satanists.

'Insane' Sales Taxes: Ed Sealover: "Gov. Jared Polis signed into law the last of five 2024 bills aimed at making the process of calculating and remitting sales taxes a little bit easier. . . . The insanity to which [state senator Janice] Rich referred is the overlap of county, municipal and special-district boundaries that creates about 700 different taxing districts in Colorado. After a 2017 U.S. Supreme Court decision let states collect sales taxes from out-of-state e-tailers that ship goods within their boundaries, Colorado changed to a destination-based system in which retailers pay taxes based on rates applicable to the addresses where they send each item." Sales and use taxes were a terrible idea and we should abolish them.

Homeless Aid: Surprise, surprise, giving homeless people money makes them better off. Or we could just legalize (more) housing to bring down housing costs. (The legislature has made some important strides in that direction.)

Caldara on Guns: The legislature passed numerous bills needlessly hassling law-abiding gun-owners, Caldara points out, but it declined to stiffen penalties for gun thefts.

Thiry Campaign Funding: Sun: Kent Thiry tied "Let Colorado Vote Action targets 13 races [with $1.1 million] and supports more moderate Democratic and Republican candidates in their races against their more liberal or conservative opponents."

Fentanyl Exaggeration: Black-market fentanyl is super-dangerous, particularly because often it's mixed in with other drugs, so many users don't even know that they're consuming it, or in what quantity. But some claims made about the drug were exaggerated, Chase Woodruff reports on the "Common Sense Institute's eye-catching assertion that the DEA seized enough fentanyl to 'kill every Coloradan 36 times over.'" See the report in question. Woodruff continues, "But the claim rests on an elementary misunderstanding of the data reported by the DEA and the form in which fentanyl is most commonly used and distributed. . . . the [Common Sense] authors assumed the 425 kilograms of fentanyl pills seized in Colorado in 2023 represented pure fentanyl. Steffan Tubbs, the DEA's Rocky Mountain Field Division spokesperson, confirmed to Newsline that its 'stats do not reflect pure fentanyl.'"

Coming-Out Cake: Government continues to hassle Jack Phillips over his refusals to bake cakes for causes he disfavors. See the CPR article. At issue is a pink cake with blue frosting that a transgender woman ordered explicitly as a "coming out" cake. District court judge A. Bruce Jones said such a cake is "not inherently expressive." That's stupid logic. Nothing is "inherently expressive." A raised middle finger means "f*** you" only because that meaning has culturally developed. It does not matter that the cake colors in question were not "inherently expressive"; they were made expressive by the person who articulated their symbolic meaning. Phillips should win again. This is true even though Phillips is a bigot and a jerk for not baking cakes for LGBTQ-related celebrations. There is no "asshole exception" to the First Amendment.

Charters and Board of Ed: One of the Board of Education Democratic primary races has become a proxy fight over charter schools, reports the Sun.

Schools Suck: For 2022 in Colorado, "62% of fourth graders weren't proficient in reading in 2022," while 72% of eighth graders were "not proficient in math." This is according to "Kids Count" from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, as reported by Joe Mueller.

Bag Ban Fallout: Hannah Metzger: "Some Colorado grocery stores have stopped providing shoppers with handheld baskets after losing too many to theft. While corporate denies the practice, employees from three metro Denver grocery stores told Westword their stores have given up on keeping the baskets in stock. . . . At the downtown King Soopers, at 20th Street and Chestnut Place, there were no handbaskets in the store. An employee said they no longer carry them."

Oltmann: Heidi Beedle: "U.S. Magistrate Judge Kathryn Starnella recommended that Douglas County podcaster and gun store owner Joe Oltmann be held in contempt of court for fleeing a June 6 deposition."

Election Conspiracy Mongering: Vaughn Vial: "Election Fraud Conspiracists Continue to Impede County Clerks' Preparations for November."

Deaths: The Colorado Sun reports that 44,862 Coloradans died in 2023. Notably, homicide did not make the top-ten list. First was cancer with 8,411 deaths, second heart disease (8,071), third accidents (4,150), seventh suicide (1,290). Notably, fentanyl-related deaths are rolled into these "accident" stats with 1,097 deaths (most of the total of that category). In reality, those deaths are caused by drug-war policies that create a dangerous black-market in drugs. There were 366 homicides.

Davis on Christian Nationalism: Logan Davis got kicked out of a Christian nationalist event at Radiance Church in Commerce City. It's almost as though the organizers realize their views cannot withstand scrutiny.

Pride and Palestine: "What about the queers in Gaza? Free Palestine," read one of the signs at the Denver Pride event. Here's the start of a Wiki page: "Homosexuality in the Palestinian territories is considered a taboo subject; lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people experience persecution and violence." The situation in the region in question is untenable and horrible. But let's not pretend that a "free Palestine" is likely to be some sort of liberal, LGBTQ-friendly mecca.

Corporate Sponsorships: Jason Salzman: "A conference in Denver this weekend featuring right-wing Republicans, conservative leaders, and election conspiracists, lists prominent corporations as sponsors, including Google, Microsoft, and the Coca-Cola Company."

Library Rules: Elizabeth Hernandez: A new law says "a public library shall not proscribe or prohibit the circulation or procurement of a library resource because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval of the library resource." Offhand this seems okay.

Zornio the Control Freak Here's a recent headline for her column: "6 reasons why campfires should be banned year-round in Colorado." Sheesh.

Tree Vandals: Someone did "hundreds of thousands of dollars" of damage to trees at an Elizabeth tree farm. Hope they catch the perps!

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