The Denver PostMay 31, 20172min390

What a grim story to read the day after Memorial Day: The problem of stolen opioid and other drugs remains a serious and growing one at our nation’s hospitals and clinics for military veterans.

Coloradans well know that such thefts, also called drug diversions, can lead to frightening situations in which patients face infections from those stealing the drugs. Drug diversions have troubled Colorado private hospitals in recent years. In addition to infection risks, patients recovering from surgery and otherwise dealing with extreme pain are left to suffer as a result of a thief’s search for a fix.

Veterans hospitals are seeing the problem in much greater numbers. The Associated Press has found that the rate of stolen drugs from Veterans Affairs hospitals is twice what occurs in private facilities. Federal officials say the VA’s large stockpiles of drugs and high volume of patients at its facilities contribute to the problem. As Jeffrey Hughes, the acting VA assistant inspector general for investigations, told The AP, “Veterans may be denied necessary medications or their proper dosage and medical records may contain false information to hide the diversion, further putting veterans’ health at risk.”

Read more at The Denver Post.



The Denver PostMay 30, 20171min410

It’s a harsh reality — the U.S. cannot afford to cover the current number of Medicaid recipients with the current level of benefits.

Just how expensive is Medicaid? Republicans in the U.S. House were able to find $834 billion in savings over 10 years by drastically cutting the federal insurance coverage for the poor in their now notoriously bad American Health Care Act.

President Donald Trump’s budget suggests paring down the program by (possibly another) $610 billion over 10 years. In all, the AHCA and Trump’s budget could cut around half of federal Medicaid spending, more than $1.4 trillion over 10 years, although the White House has said some of the president’s cuts overlap with the AHCA cuts.

Read more at The Denver Post.



The Denver PostMay 27, 20172min310

President Donald Trump’s claim that his administration would focus its massive deportation efforts on removing criminals isn’t proving all that reliable.

The decision by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials early this month to rein in a little-used congressional privilege exposes the hardliner ideology behind statistics that show many of those being trucked out of the county aren’t bad actors.

ICE’s policy change also complicates celebration of the agency’s sensible agreement to stop deportation orders on Denver’s Jeanette Vizguerra and Arturo Hernandez Garcia. The stayed deportations suggested the agency meant to mute its chilling message in its arrest and plan for the deportation of Hernandez Garcia last month. (How else to interpret seizing a well-known sanctuary seeker who in July 2015 left a Denver church basement with a letter from federal officials informing him he was good to go?)

Similarly, the agency’s crackdown led Vizguerra into sanctuary. Her story made her one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world.

Read more at The Denver Post



The Denver PostMay 26, 20171min240

The 25 members of the Colorado Sex Offender Management Board need to overhaul their system for assessing the risk of and providing treatment for the state’s many incarcerated sex offenders.

Never has that been more clear than after reading how dependent the assessment and treatment system is on the use of lie detector tests, known as polygraphs.

The Denver Post’s Christopher N. Osher reported that Colorado has spent $5 million over seven years on polygraph tests for convicted sex offenders, used as a key part of determining whether these criminals should be eligible for release, and if so what supervision should look like. Often sex offenders are required to take multiple tests over the same subjects if they fail or have inconclusive results, with both the state and the criminals picking up the tab, and they regularly get tested as part of parole.

Read more at The Denver Post.



The Denver PostMay 23, 20171min280

President Donald Trump took the high road in attempting to reset the tone and substance of his views of Islam this weekend in Riyadh.  His reset was dramatic and sorely needed. We applaud the discipline he exhibited in reforming his views.

On the campaign trail, of course, Trump’s take on the major world religionwas disastrously wrongheaded and viciously hardhearted. Among his comments were jewels like “I think Islam hates us” and “We have a problem in this country: it’s called Muslims.” He said he would consider shuttering mosques on our soil and creating a database of Muslims. Presumably, such a black list could help in his call for killing the families of terrorists.

And his call “for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States” contributed to the judicial rejection of the travel ban he attempted, twice, to enact against several Muslim-majority countries.

Read more at The Denver Post.


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The Denver PostMay 22, 20171min470

Gov. John Hickenlooper’s decision to pardon Rene Lima-Marin Friday sends a clear message to federal officials now considering the much-wronged man’s deportation. We hope ICE gets that message, and joins in the effort to finally provide Lima-Marin justice, and with it freedom.

Colorado’s three branches of state government — its legislative, judicial and executive — have now spoken out in clearest terms. It is time to do right by Lima-Marin. What an insult to decency it would be to once again subject him to grave injustice as a result of cruel technicalities.

Lima-Marin is being held by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcementofficials following his dramatic release from state prison earlier this week.

Because his parents brought him here from Cuba when he was 2 years old — as part of a massive refugee boatlift — his criminal conviction makes him fair game for deportation in the current crackdown mindset within the Trump administration.

Read more at The Denver Post.



The Denver PostMay 19, 20171min330

Sen. Cory Gardner had a chance to take a stand against his fellow Republicans’ plans to ax methane emissions regulations in a way that prohibits similar rules, but he demurred last week.

Instead it was Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and John McCain of Arizona who voted with Democrats to block the use of the Congressional Review Act on methane emissions rules established for oil and gas extraction operations on federal and tribal lands. Michael Bennet, Colorado’s Democratic senator, bragged on Twitter he cast the final and deciding vote stopping debate with a 51-49 result. We appreciate Bennet’s vote on a tough issue.

Gardner, a first-term Republican from Yuma, says he wasn’t voting on the merits of the bill, but rather to move forward the issue for debate.

Read more at The Denver Post.



The Denver PostMay 16, 20171min330

No doubt, many will criticize allowing prison inmates in Colorado to use electronic tablets as softhearted and wrongheaded. No doubt, many of those who have been victimized by crime will share that view. We’ll say from the outset that, as we take up this question, we definitely sympathize.

Indeed, it came as a rude shock that criminals in lock-up are getting to use tablets to listen to music, play games, text and call friends and loved ones.

Yet a review of the plan to pilot the tablets convinces us this idea is worth trying. As Colorado Department of Corrections Director Rick Raemisch tells us, this program is meant to make Colorado safer and reduce crime. The more we consider the potential for this program, the more we see his point.

Read more at The Denver Post.



The Denver PostMay 13, 20172min360

The Denver Broncos were right to revoke tickets from season ticket holders who sold every ticket they had in the 2016 season to strangers on a secondary market.

These were not fans who gave all their tickets to friends and family, or even fans who sold their tickets to neighbors and acquaintances.

No, these fans maximized their profit by selling every single ticket on third-party online sites, sometimes for hundreds of dollars over face value. And some of these season ticket holders had done so for years, even scoring playoff tickets only to sell those at a high markup, too.

We’re not opposed to season ticket holders selling their tickets. In fact, many sell tickets to games they cannot attend, or to some of the hottest games of the season, to offset some or all of the cost of holding tickets.

But when there are 75,000 fans on the wait list for season tickets and the Broncos have sold out every game since 1970, it’s time to cull the pack of those privileged few who hold 22,000 season ticket accounts, which represents 97 percent of the stadium’s capacity.

Read more at The Denver Post



The Denver PostMay 9, 20171min260

Coloradans should take heart that a bill moving through the legislature would make it easier for veterans to translate military training into college credit. As parents and educators of traditional college students know all too well, sometimes even small roadblocks can get in the way of graduation, and the status quo for veterans contains more than a few.

Joining a classroom full of recent high school graduates after combat duty in some of the world’s most dangerous places carries plenty of challenges. Not least among those challenges is that some college courses repeat material already mastered by members of the military, but whether that mastery equates to official recognition varies from campus to campus.

As The Denver Post’s Monte Whaley reported this week, the contemporary military spends well north of $100,000 training each new service member. The training leads to nurses and medics, intelligence analysts, drone operators, logistics and mobilization specialists, and, of course, computer programmers.

Read more at The Denver Post.