Headlines January 8, 2021
CU Won’t Fire Visiting Professor Who Participated in Pro-Trump Rally in DC
CU Boulder says it will not fire a visiting professor who contributed incendiary comments while speaking in support of President Donald Trump during the Wednesday rally in Washington DC, that led to the storming of the Capitol.
John Eastman, a professor at Chapman University is a visiting scholar at the Benson Center for Western Civilization at CU Boulder. On Wednesday, speaking at the pro-Trump rally in Washington DC, Eastman repeated the false claim that fraud occurred during the November 3rd general election, without presenting any evidence. In a statement yesterday CU Chancellor Phil DiStefano said Eastman’s continued advocacy of conspiracy theories is repugnant, and he will bear the shame for his role in undermining confidence in the rule of law.
But after looking at university policies, he concluded that the university cannot by law censor a faculty member’s political statements or initiate disciplinary action because it disapproves of them.
He added that Eastman’s conduct does not reflect the values of CU and that he has embarrassed the institution.
3 New CU Regents Sworn In
Three newly elected Regents took the oath of office Thursday. That means Democrats control the Board of Regents for the first time in more than 40 years. Nolbert Chavez, Callie Rennison, and Ilana Spiegel were sworn in in the first virtual swearing-in ceremony in CU’s history. In speeches after they were sworn in, the new Regents asserted that Coloradans elected a majority Democrat board because the voters are ready for a change.
Many Boulder Families Benefit From a Program to Help Bridge the Digital Divide
Boulder distributed more than 530 free Chromebooks, iPads, and hotspots to older adults and students through its Bridging the Digital Divide program.
The Daily Camera reports that the program was funded with $100,000 in federal coronavirus relief funds and started after the pandemic highlighted technological imbalances in Boulder. This helped school-age children to better participate in remote learning. It assisted adults 55 or older to go online to locate public health information and also fight social isolation due to the pandemic.
Eden Bailey, Boulder’s older adult services manager, said that the program’s response was fantastic and that Bridging the Digital Divide met a direct need for many community members. Boulder’s older adult services try to identify ways to match people with the resources they need.
Bridging the Digital Divide was a partnership between the Boulder Public Library and the Housing and Human Services Department.
BLM Approves Two Oil and Gas Drilling Projects on Public Lands in Colorado
The Trump administration is rushing to approve drilling projects on public lands before January 20, 2021, when the president leaves office. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management has approved for a second time two drilling projects in Colorado after considering a court-ordered greenhouse gas assessment of the development’s environmental impacts. According to the Daily Sentinel, the two upper North Fork Valley drilling projects will total up to 226 wells and result in up to 17 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions over a 30-year period. In 2019, a judge had ruled that the Trump administration did not adequately examine the indirect environmental impacts of burning oil and gas and its effect on the local deer and elk populations.
Critics Decry Trump Administration Migratory Bird Rollback
Conservation groups are expressing outrage over the Trump administration’s rollback of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. The change announced Tuesday would shield the oil and gas industry and other corporations from liability for acts that kill large numbers of birds, such as oil spills or open toxic waste pits, if the acts are deemed unintentional. Mike Leahy with the National Wildlife Federation sees it as another example of President Donald Trump weakening environmental protections.
“This rule is basically the administration ‘flipping the bird’ and saying, ‘It doesn’t matter what Congress or the courts say; we can interpret laws however we want,” said Leahy.
The U-S Fish and Wildlife Service claims it’s “clarifying” the rule to provide regulatory certainty and cut down on lawsuits. Leahy points to a study published in Science Magazine that estimates the United States has lost three-billion birds since 1970. That’s one in four birds. Unless the courts do it first, Leahy expects the Biden administration will reverse the decision, but it might not be a simple process.
Avon Restaurant Employees Enjoy COVID Tip
Good news on the COVID front this morning: It’s eight days into January but one mountain restaurant is still celebrating after a family left a $2,021 dollar tip on a $300 tab last Sunday. Service workers at Avon’s Vin48 restaurant split the tip, $1,100 for the kitchen, and $900 for the front of the house. The diners remain anonymous but there’s a movement now that calls for people with the financial means to do so, to give tips worth $2,021 at local businesses.