Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirMarch 6, 20184min1445

By the lights of Beltway-insider news outlet Politico, Colorado’s Republican U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner is juggling chainsaws — while walking a tightrope. High above a pit of hungry alligators.

And still managing to smile through it all, keeping any fleeting, gloomy thoughts to himself.

His colleague John Cornyn — the Texas Republican and majority whip who once held Gardner’s high-pressure, high-stakes post as chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee — cut to the chase, telling the go-to online political mag’s Burgess Everett in a lengthy story this week: “He’s a brave man. … I admire him for being willing to take on that challenge.”

That challenge, in a nutshell, entails making deals on legislation with the same Democrats he is doggedly determined to undermine in their races back home — amid the curious chemistry of a Trump administration that seems half the time to be mounting a rear-guard action against its own fellow Republicans on Capitol Hill.

Of course, the administration itself has fostered what Politico (and everyone else) predicts will be an “anti-Trump Democratic wave election,” requiring Gardner to keep his distance at times. That, in turn, because, “Gardner is going to need bipartisan accomplishments to survive his own swing-state reelection race in 2020.”

It’s all part of what Politico’s Everett labels, “…the lonely existence of Cory Gardner.” Writes Everett:

One moment he’s working with Democrats on an immigration bill opposed by President Donald Trump and blasting the administration’s marijuana policies. The next he’s planning the political doom of those same Democrats and strategizing with Trump on how to keep the Senate in Republican hands.

Yet, the in-depth feature digs deeper to reveal Gardner so far, at least, seems no worse for the wear and tear. Sure, Everett points out, “It’s not exactly what the sunny, glad-handing pol was signing up for when he put in for the (NRSC chair’s) job just before the 2016 election.” And yet:

… Gardner seems comfortable with it. He waxes optimistically about the prospects of taking out (North Dakota Democratic U.S. Sen. Heidi) Heitkamp and the four other Democrats from deep red states, which would give the GOP its largest majority in decades.

At the top of a lengthy interview, he read headlines from POLITICO and other publications predicting the GOP’s impending doom in every election since 2010 — then bragged about the GOP’s position going into the midterms.

‘The states where we are winning are states that are incredibly ready for a Republican candidate to win. … This is an offensive cycle for us, and we have an opportunity to pick up seats that we shouldn’t have lost in the 2012 cycle.’

And the piece captures the ever-cautious Cory Gardner Colorado political observers know well:

Though Gardner never admits that his party’s prospects have declined due to Trump’s unpopularity and the failure to score top-tier candidates in states like Montana, he is realistic about the challenges he faces. When pressed on how many seats Republicans might be able to pick up, he does a brief impression of Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, with his Kentucky drawl, saying that predicting Senate races is a fool’s errand.

Very much worth a read; here’s the link again.


Adam McCoyAdam McCoyJanuary 8, 20184min718
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions (washingtonexaminer.com)

With Denver reaping millions of dollars annually in sales tax revenue from recreational marijuana, and Colorado’s market representing a billion-dollar industry, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock called a shifting federal approach toward states with legalized marijuana irresponsible.

“This is a billion-dollar-plus industry here in Colorado, (with) thousands of jobs, and what this move has done is create uncertainty with regards to investors, business owners and employers,” Hancock said in an interview on CNBC’s “Closing Bell” on Friday.

“All this move does is demonstrate how out of step the Attorney General (Jeff) Sessions is and the administration is with the rest of the country,” Hancock said.

Hancock joined the furor over the U.S. Justice Department’s announcement on Thursday it would discontinue the Obama-era, hands-off approach toward states that have legalized cannabis.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions withdrew guidelines that essentially limited federal prosecutions of marijuana businesses or individuals operating legally under state law despite the federal prohibition, Politico reports. In last week’s announcement, Sessions said prosecutions would be left up to individual U.S. attorneys.

The policy change would be felt in the local marijuana industry through impacts on business investment and sales tax revenue more so than an enforcement crackdown, Hancock said.

“We’ve already had conversations with our attorney general, as well as our acting U.S. attorney, who clearly have said they’re not going to change anything with regards to the industry here in Colorado,” Hanckock told CNBC.

Colorado’s cannabis industry racked up $1 billion in sales in the first eight months of 2017, generating more than $160 million in taxes and fees. About two-thirds of Colorado’s more than 500 marijuana dispensaries are located in Denver, and the city estimates it collected about $18 million to $20 million in sales-tax revenue in 2017 — about 3 percent of the city’s budget — from legal sales of recreational cannabis. Hancock said the money is allocated toward funding law enforcement and youth education on cannabis.

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock on Trump marijuana policy: It has given uncertainty in this billion-dollar industry from CNBC.


Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirDecember 26, 20174min2103

Some of the kids who dialed up Colorado Springs-based NORAD’s Santa Tracker on Christmas Eve to pinpoint the whereabouts of the The Jolly One as he circled the globe bearing gifts got an extra holiday surprise when the president of the United States — aka POTUS, aka Donald Trump — answered the phone. First Lady Melania Trump was taking some of the calls, as well, reports Politico.

Now in its 62nd year, the beloved tradition of tracing Santa’s contrails using state-of-the-art national-security hardware is, for youngsters, at least, probably the most important role of the North American Aerospace Defense Command. (NORAD, headquartered at Colorado Springs’ Peterson Air Force Base, has other duties, of course — notably, scanning the skies for incoming. But it’s the holidays, and let’s not get off topic.)

Politico recapped some of the exchanges between the kids and the first couple, who were spending the evening at their Mar-a-Lago winter White House in Palm Beach, Florida:

The children did not know they were going to talk to the president and the first lady and were patched through according to the White House pool report.

Trump spoke to Casper from Virginia.

“What would you like more than anything?” the president asked.

“Building blocks, that’s what I’ve always liked too. I always loved building blocks … Well I predict Santa will bring you building blocks, so many you won’t be able to use them all,” he told the child.

Some of the kids’ comments are downright awww-worthy and are sure to prolong your holiday glow; check out the full Politico report for more.

Many Coloradans are probably familiar with the story of the NORAD Christmastime ritual’s accidental origins; Denver’s Fox31 recounts it for us:

A Colorado Springs newspaper ran an ad in 1955 inviting children to call Santa but mistakenly ran the phone number for the hotline at the Continental Air Defense Command, which was tasked with monitoring the skies for a possible nuclear attack by the Soviet Union. Children began calling and the CONAD staff happily played along.

CONAD gave way to NORAD over the years, and what began as an ad hoc courtesy to kids nowadays even has its own interactive website replete with satellite imagery and a computer-graphic simulation of Old Saint Nick, sleigh and reindeer making their approach to whatever city a site visitor clicks on.

It’s “…Night Before Christmas” goes high-tech, courtesy of the Department of Defense. Think of it as a peacetime spinoff of the military budget.


Ernest LuningErnest LuningAugust 3, 201711min556

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper said Tuesday he isn’t ruling anything out, but the Democrat downplayed rumors he might join Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a Republican, on a presidential ticket. Hickenlooper responded with a laugh when Ben Sherman and Anna Palmer, co-authors of Politico Playbook, asked him about the possibility at a Playbook Exchange discussion at the offices of financial giant S&P Global in Denver.