And the state of the Gravy is good…
Governor Bill Ritter will deliver his first State of the State address today at 11:00 a.m. Ritter will tell the convened legislature about how Colorado has been doing since he has been governor. Don’t laugh – a lot has happened since Tuesday.
The State of the State will be delivered in the House Chambers at the State Capitol and is open to the public.
Colorado Lib has a good rundown of yesterday’s opening day festivities, including speeches by Speaker of the House Andrew Romanoff and Senate President Joan Fitz-Gerald.
Denver has apparently won the right to host the 2008 Democratic National Convention, according to a report by George Merritt of The Denver Post:
National Democrats will announce today that they have picked Denver over New York for the 2008 Democratic National Convention, Denver’s host committee executive director confirmed.
Debbie Willhite said a formal announcement will be made this afternoon.
Denver’s imminent selection would bring the high-profile political gathering to the Pepsi Center in August 2008 — exactly 100 years after the city hosted its first and only national party convention. About 35,000 delegates and journalists are expected for what business leaders hope will mean a more than $160 million boon for the city.
President Bush addressed the nation last night and said that more than 20,000 additional American troops would be sent to Iraq. Bush also took full responsibility for failures in the Iraq war. John Aloysius Farrell of The Denver Post reports on the Bush plan:
If President Bush’s plan to dispatch more U.S. troops to Iraq is not America’s “last chance” for victory, “it is as near to the last chance as anything I can think of,” said Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.
The White House has insisted that America’s commitment to a stable, secure and democratic Iraq – to victory – is unconditional.
But in Bush’s nationally televised address Wednesday night, and in earlier background briefings, he and his aides acknowledged that the U.S. effort is reaching its limits.
“If the Iraqi government does not follow through on its promises, it will lose the support of the American people,” Bush told the nation.
Bush also said that a new plan is being implemented to win the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people: Slurpee machines and crates of grape bubblegum will be dropped into particularly dangerous areas of the country.
According to The Washington Post, military leaders expect the troop surge to lead to increased violence…and more casualties:
President Bush’s plan to send tens of thousands of U.S. and Iraqi reinforcements to Baghdad to jointly confront Sunni insurgents and Shiite militias is likely to touch off a more dangerous phase of the war, featuring months of fighting in the streets of the Iraqi capital, current and former military officials warned.
“The terrorists and insurgents in Iraq are without conscience, and they will make the year ahead bloody and violent,” the president said last night in explaining his revised approach. “Even if our new strategy works exactly as planned, deadly acts of violence will continue — and we must expect more Iraqi and American casualties.”
The prospect of a more intense battle in the Iraqi capital could put U.S. military commanders in exactly the sort of tough urban fight that war planners strove to avoid during the spring 2003 invasion of the country. The plan to partner U.S. and Iraqi units may compel American soldiers to rely on questionable Iraqi army and police forces as never before. And while the president insisted there is no timetable associated with the troop increase, military officials said sustaining it for more than a few months would place a major new strain on U.S. forces that already are feeling burdened by an unexpectedly long and difficult war.
A Washington Post/ABC News poll conducted following Bush’s speech last night showed that 61 percent of Americans oppose Bush’s new plan on Iraq, with 52 percent “strongly” opposed to the troop build up. So, that went over well.
The discussion over Amendment 41 has taken over the headlines for the last week. Myung Oak Kim of the Rocky Mountain News has the latest:
A lawyer hired by amendment backers has drafted a bill that would apply the new limits only to government officials who are in a decision-making role rather than to most state and local public employees as the law now states.
At the same time, House Minority Leader Mike May, R-Parker, intends to introduce a bill to send the amendment back to voters with the aim of limiting its scope to lawmakers and lobbyists. If approved by the legislature, May’s plan could not reach the ballot until November 2008.
In recent weeks, a political furor has erupted over predictions that Amendment 41’s strict rules would apply to virtually every government worker and their families, from the governor to a janitor at CU.
Two weeks ago, Colorado Attorney General John Suthers issued a legal opinion stating that the law prohibits CU professors from taking Nobel Prize money and also bars public employees’ children from taking certain scholarships. But there’s a huge disagreement over whether that’s really the case.
Meanwhile, the legislature is set to start working on a bill that would allow school boards to decide which flags can be flown in their schools. As Berny Morson of the Rocky Mountain News reports:
A geography teacher at Carmody Middle School in Lakewood was disciplined in August when he displayed the flags of China, Mexico and the United Nations in his classroom. A principal believed the display violated a state law limiting displays of foreign flags on state property.
Under House Bill 1050, the state’s 178 local school boards would decide when flags may be displayed in classrooms.
The bill also would permit the flying of non-national flags, such as banners on behalf of prisoners of war and soldiers missing in action.
Rep. Nancy Todd, D-Aurora, the main bill sponsor, said the issue is important in neighborhoods such as hers, where schools display flags to recognize the many nationalities of their students. Over 65 languages are spoken at schools in her legislative district, Todd said.
Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd announced yesterday that he will run for the Democratic Presidential nomination in 2008. After the announcement, observers around the country said, “You’re doing what now? Who are you again?”
According to a report yesterday, Republican Rep. Marilyn Musgrave had the lowest winning percentage of any congressional candidate in the country in 2006. And she’s still more popular that President Bush’s Iraq plan.