Is Michael Bennet ready to break from the Democrats on education? Is he prepared to take on the teachers’ unions on testing? Is he going to try to leverage his role as Democratic moderate to get changes in a Republican-backed education bill? That’s what Juan Williams writes in the Hill, quoting Bennet as saying, “Let me warn you, I don’t have the party line — I’m sui generis on this one.”
In the wake of the measles outbreak, vaccines have suddenly gone partisan. Rand Paul links vaccines to “mental disorders.” Chris Christie says parents should be given a “choice.” Barack Obama, meanwhile, strongly urged kids to be vaccinated, and Hillary Clinton tweets: “The science is clear: The earth is round, the sky is blue, and #vaccineswork. Let’s protect all our kids. #GrandmothersKnowBest.” Via Los Angeles Times.
ISIS supports kids getting vaccinated. Via Vox.
Chris Christie and the expensive trips he takes that are paid for by others: King Abdullah was a friend, so it was just personal. Via the New York Times.
In the National Journal, John Judis writes that the Democratic advantage everyone talked about i 2012 was all a mirage. The Republicans have the advantage, he says, and it only figures to grow.
That Colorado law protecting the cable-telecom companies that provide internet here from public-sector competition may soon become moot. The FCC is considering a proposal that would pre-empt those kind of state laws, freeing municipalities to install public broadband networks. What’s more, the agency at last will also weigh a draft rule to regulate the Internet as a utility. Translation: Net neutrality would likely be protected from corporate-proposed fast-lane/slow-lane “we decide what you see” online experiences. via Ars Technica.
John Cassidy offers 10 takeaways from Obama’s budget proposal, starting with the fact that both houses of Congress are controlled by Republicans. Via the New Yorker.
Eugene Robinson writes in the Washington Post that Obama’s budget gives Republicans a real chance to make a deal. Will they take it? (What do you think?)
The Super Bowl had a fantastic finish to a great game. Did anyone notice the concussions along the way? Via the Atlantic.
The Colorado Joint Budget Committee denied a Youth Corrections funding request for $1.2 million last week, citing “unanswered questions” as reason to withhold money to pay for more security staff. Chairmen Kent Lambert, R-Colorado Springs, said the committee asked some basic questions like “Where is the department in the hiring process, and if they had already hired people, where is the money coming from? Was it already appropriated?” to which they received no response. Turns out, the department had hired 53 additional staffers after a series of violent incidents at juvenile offender centers this fall. Spring Creek Youth Services Center, in Lambert’s own Colorado Springs, is the epicenter of much of the drama, after a so-called riot and numerous reports of a chaotic and unsafe environment there surfaced this August. An audit revealed the department wasn’t adequately overseeing the psychotropic meds kids are prescribed. ACLU reporters found low staffing ratios are in large part to blame for the rise in assaults and far-from-ideal rehabilitation practices. “I don’t think the issues are going away,” Lambert said, “We have to readdress this as part of our normal budget cycle.” Via the Gazette.
The Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge, a former nuclear weapons site is slated for a prescribed burn in the near future, but a local goat herder is speaking up, saying that her goats could do the same job without the risks. Boulder’s Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center and nearby citizens have raised concerns that burning such an area could release and spread radioactive plutonium. A spokesman for the Fish and Wildlife Service eight-state Mountain-Prairie regional office in Denver says grazing is not an option and several local politicians say grazing would bring up some animal abuse questions. Herder Lani Malmberg says her goats would be just fine — they’re not intended to produce anything for human consumption anyway. Via the Durango Herald.
Nobody in the Denver area will go without a phillips head or that obscurely-sized drill bit ever again, now that the Denver Tool Library is within a month of opening its doors. The project surpassed its crowdfunding goals. The Denver Tool Library will be located at 555 Santa Fe Drive and will provide workshops and a communal workspace. Via Westword.
The Colorado State Patrol said that marijuana was a factor in 12 percent of DUIs issued in 2014, the first year the drug was legal for recreational sale. The release of that stat, they say, is meant to underscore the Department of Transportation’s new slogan: “Drive High, Get a DUI.” Via the Pueblo Chieftain.
[ Compiled by Mike Littwin, Nat Stein, John Tomasic.]