April 30, 2007

Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper Cruises To Reelection

Denver's snoozer of municipal election will culminate with Mayor John Hickenlooper's coronation reelection. From CBS4's gratuitous hagiography:
Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper isn't facing much opposition as he runs for a second term in office.

Only one person stepped forward to challenge Hickenlooper. Danny Lopez, a city employee, doesn't think any politician should run without opposition. Former Mayors Wellington Webb and Federico Pena both faced aggressive challengers in their second term elections.
Denver, despite the non-partisan election rule, has become a de facto one-party state, like many other urban areas. Contested elections only arise from a competitive Democrat field. Republicans are few and far between.
This city election hasn't been getting much attention. Part of the thinking is that people in general are much more absorbed with national issues, especially the war in Iraq, but it is also because even his detractors believe Hickenlooper is simply unbeatable.

"In the last the months, my wife was looking at me and said, 'If you have such an easy election, how come you're working so hard?'" Hickenlooper said.

It is remarkable there has been no serious campaign against him. Even he is surprised at his enduring popularity.

"I never thought about it. As kind of a skinny geek in school, I worked pretty hard to figure out how to make people like me," Hickenlooper said. "I learned how to tell a joke from my older brother."
Perhaps we should forgo formalities like elections and just proclaim Hickenlooper Mayor-for-life.
Former Denver City Councilwoman Susan Barnes-Geldt said the mayor's quick wit and quirky charm has allowed him to survive issues that could easily have taken others down.

"He is by magnitude the best retail politician the city maybe has ever seen, people love him," Barnes-Geldt said. "You know, he got a remarkable free ride from just a lousy snow removal. Even worse, the elections in November, and people seem to be willing to shrug their shoulders, which is remarkable."

Hickenlooper said if he is reelected, his second term will be all about following through on ambitious initiatives.

"Whether you're talking about homelessness or economic development, whether you're talking about 311 or reforming the city's structure, whether you're looking at mass transit, trying to get mass transit back on track," Hickenlooper said.
Hickenlooper managed to retain his teflon reputation--though during the depth of Denver's post-blizzard digout, Hickenlooper's facade showed a few cracks, and his characteristic wit disappeared behind excuses, platitudes, and tentativeness. Illegal immigration does not appear to be a city priority, what with Denver's virtual sanctuary status enshrined by activists in all levels of the city government.
"Did we really create 50,000 jobs?" Barnes-Geldt asked. "Is the city really a better place to work for city employees? Is the city safer?"

Barnes-Geldt concedes she's probably a much tougher critic than the average voter, especially this year in a ho-hum election -- one where even Hickenlooper's opponent said he's only running so the mayor doesn't win unopposed.

"I appreciate him going out and taking his time and trying to create a dialogue about what the future of this city looks like," Hickenlooper said of Lopez.

The biggest complaint heard about Hickenlooper is that he's never seen a tax increase he didn't like, but if that's true, that also has not hurt him yet.
That's true of all Democrats, not just Hickenlooper.
This is also a non-partisan election. Even though he's a democrat, there's no name republican to run against him. The joke around town is that they are only a handful of republicans in Denver anyhow.

Hickenlooper knows he needs to do more in the city's struggling neighborhoods to raise Denver up. There needs to be more amenities for the communities who really need more recreation centers and help with gang violence and those problems.

Hickenlooper also has a massive new justice center project to oversee and he's lost members of his cabinet. He needs a new city attorney and economic development director.

Denver's election is being conducted entirely by mail, so there shouldn't be a repeat of problems seen in November's elections. Then, voters waited in long lines at new voting centers after computers that were supposed to verify voter eligibility stalled.
Only a "handful" of Republicans around Denver? Try 70000. Imagine if they disparaged, oh I don't know, one of the permanently aggrieved groups with such marginalizing wording. But Republicans? There aren't enough to be worried about. And fighting gangs with more "amenities", eschewing law enforcement, and other "feel good" Hickenlooper initiatives can't go wrong, can it?

Mayor Hickenlooper, just like the election, simply mailed in his performance the last few years realizing he would cruise to reelection without a credible high-profile opponent. Of course, being a Democrat--or a "democrat"--in Denver can't hurt

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Chinablogging--Food Contamination, Panda Sex

If the China-based melamine pet food scare hasn't scared you (perhaps you don't own pets), then this news certainly might:
As American food safety regulators head to China to investigate how a chemical made from coal found its way into pet food that killed dogs and cats in the United States, workers in this heavily polluted northern city openly admit that the substance is routinely added to animal feed as a fake protein.

The Shandong Mingshui Great Chemical Company makes a chemical called melamine and sometimes sells melamine scrap to other producers who use it to make animal feed.

For years, producers of animal feed all over China have secretly supplemented their feed with the substance, called melamine, a cheap additive that looks like protein in tests, even though it does not provide any nutritional benefits, according to melamine scrap traders and agricultural workers here.

“Many companies buy melamine scrap to make animal feed, such as fish feed,” said Ji Denghui, general manager of the Fujian Sanming Dinghui Chemical Company, which sells melamine. “I don’t know if there’s a regulation on it. Probably not. No law or regulation says ‘don’t do it,’ so everyone’s doing it. The laws in China are like that, aren’t they? If there’s no accident, there won’t be any regulation.”

Melamine is at the center of a recall of 60 million packages of pet food, after the chemical was found in wheat gluten linked this month to the deaths of at least 16 pets and the illness of possibly thousands of pets in the United States.

No one knows exactly how melamine (which is not believed to be particularly toxic) became so fatal in pet food, but its presence in any form of American food is illegal.

The link to China has set off concerns among critics of the Food and Drug Administration that ingredients in pet food as well as human food, which are increasingly coming from abroad, are not being adequately screened.
Just one of the pratfalls of international trade, as different countries' legal standards and business practices can create potential hazards, including food contamination.

The USDA and FDA issued the following statement
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) continue their investigation of imported rice protein concentrate which has been found to contain melamine and melamine-related compounds. Based on information currently available, FDA and USDA believe the likelihood of illness after eating pork from swine fed the contaminated product would be very low. The agencies are taking certain actions out of an abundance of caution. As announced on April 26, swine known to have been fed adulterated (contaminated) product will not be approved to enter the food supply. (Because the animal feed in question was adulterated, USDA cannot rule out the possibility that food produced from animals fed this product could also be adulterated. USDA cannot approve potentially adulterated meat.) This update provides additional information regarding the ongoing investigation.
. . .
At this time, we have no evidence of harm to humans associated with the processed pork product, and therefore no recall of meat products processed from these animals is being issued. Testing and the joint investigation continue. If any evidence surfaces to indicate there is harm to humans, the appropriate action will be taken.

The assessment that, if there were to be harm to human health, it would be very low, is based on a number of factors, including the dilution of the contaminating melamine and melamine-related compounds from the original rice protein concentrate as it moves through the food system. First it is a partial ingredient in the pet food; second, it is only part of the total feed given to the hogs; third, it is not known to accumulate in the hogs and the hogs excrete melamine in their urine; fourth, even if present in pork, pork is only a small part of the average American diet. Neither FDA nor USDA has uncovered any evidence of harm to the swine from the contaminated feed. In addition to the dilutional factor and the lack of evidence of illnesses in the swine fed the waste pet food, we are not aware of any human illness that has occurred from exposure to melamine or its by-products. While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention systems would have limited ability to detect subtle problems due to melamine and melamine-related compounds, no problems have been detected to date. To further evaluate any potential harm to humans, the FDA is developing and implementing further tests and risk assessments based on the toxicity of the compounds and how much of the compounds consumers could be expected to actually consume.
Happy eating!

If that doesn't cheer you up, try some panda porn!

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National! Emergency! Forum! Fails To Draw Churchill Supporters

Ward Churchill's academic supporters did not show up to the National Emergency Forum at CU-Boulder last Saturday, but a few managed to publish their pro-Churchill apologias in a show of "solidarity":
Solidarity Statements in Support of Professor Ward Churchill:

1. Gil Anidjar – Columbia University
2. Bill Ayers – University of Illinois – Chicago
3. Dana Cloud – University of Texas
4. Drucilla Cornell – Rutgers University
5. Hamid Dabashi – Columbia University
6. Michael D’Andrea – University of Hawai’i
7. Richard Delgado – University of Pittsburgh
8. Richard Falk – UC Santa Barbara; Professor Emeritus, Princeton
9. Juan Gomez-Quinones – UCLA
10. Robert Ivie – University of Illinois, Bloomington
11. Robert Jensen – University of Texas
12. Peter N. Kirstein – St. Xavier University
13. Carlos Munoz, Jr. – UC Berkeley
14. Henry Silverman – Michigan State University
15. Paul Von Blum - UCLA
16. Immanuel Wallerstein – Yale University
17. Howard Zinn – Professor Emeritus – Boston University
Most speak of academic inquisitions, "chilling effects" on free speech, need for academic freedom, blah blah blah.

Via The Drunkablog, as usual.

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Rockies' Troy Tulowitzki Completes Unassisted Triple Play

Only the 13th unassisted triple play in major league history:
Colorado Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki left nothing to chance on his unassisted triple play Sunday.

Kelly Johnson and Edgar Renteria singled for the Atlanta Braves in the seventh inning and were running on a 3-2 pitch when Tulowitzki caught Chipper Jones' line drive behind second base. The rookie stepped on the bag to double up Johnson and then tagged Renteria for the third out.

Apparently unsure if he had completed the play properly, Tulowitzki went back and touched second base again, then threw to first. Nothing to worry about -- the inning was already over.

It was the 13th unassisted triple play in major league history and first since shortstop Rafael Furcal did it for Atlanta on Sept. 10, 2003, against St. Louis.

"It's amazing," Tulowitzki said. "It kind of just fell in my lap."
ESPN has posted the video.

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April 29, 2007

National! Emergency! Forum! For! Churchill! Is! A! Giant! Flop!

"The man identified only as El Presidente" is on assignment in New Mexico, but the Drunkablog, bless his patient soul, endured hours of Ward Churchill adulation, leftwing lunacy, and a smorgasbord of leftover food.

The Churchillites were expecting hundreds of free speech lovers, academic icons, and media to convene, as they signed up for one of the biggest classrooms at CU-Boulder.

Alas, less than 4 dozen people materialized, including covert personnel.


Churchill's clout is on the wane, what with all the plagiarism and academic dishonesty charges.

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April 27, 2007

Bob Schaffer Chats With Hugh Hewitt

Former Congressman Bob Schaffer discusses the war in Iraq, Democrats' defeatism, and a possible run for Colorado's open Senate seat in 2008. (no direct link, scroll to April 25, hour 3)

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What Would Dick Wadhams Do?

Colorado Democrats really have their knickers in a twist over Dick Wadhams:
House Majority Leader Alice Madden, D-Boulder, suggested Wednesday stamping "WWDWD" on bracelets for statehouse Republicans.

She said the letters stood for "What Would Dick Wadhams Do?"

Wadhams, an ace political operative, is the Republican Svengali who returned to Colorado to head the state party after its recent electoral losses.
Aside from the obvious savior reference, Wadhams gets the full smear/backhanded compliment treatment--an "ace political operative" and "Republican Svengali". Apparently "savvy political strategist" was unavailable for this story.

Colorado Democrats really do have a bit of Dick envy.

Wadhams spent some time with radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt (scroll to April 25, hour 2)

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April 26, 2007

Slapstick Politics In The News

From the Silver & Gold Record at CU-Boulder:
In related news, two "Bloggers" who author anti-Churchill Web sites say they were ejected from an April 12 speech by Cheyfitz because they were recording the event. According to Lt. Brad Wiesley of the UCB police, officers were called to the public meeting in the Duane Physics Building after event organizers repeatedly asked the two individuals to stop recording. Organizer Tom Mayer of sociology told S&GR that at Cheyfitz's request, those allowed to record the event were only credentialed media and those who had made arrangements beforehand. Wiesley said officers asked the two individuals to step out into the hallway to discuss the matter, and the two volunteered to leave.

But John Martin, who writes thedrunkablog.blogspot.com, and an individual who writes slapstickpolitics.blogspot.com and identified himself only as "El Presidente" and a 2001 UCB alum, say the regulations on recording were never announced and that the two did not leave the event voluntarily. Martin told S&GR that his reported comment about "fascists" was directed at event organizers, not the officers, and that another videographer was ejected from a recent "teach-in" organized by Churchill backers.
The Drunkablog and PirateBallerina have more on the Churchill "Dune Buggy Attack Battalion".

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Denver Department Of Public Works Bans Use Of "Illegal Aliens"

"I would prefer that we would use a more dignified term," said Denver City Councilwoman Judy Montero.

"Unauthorized immigrants" has now become official Denver Dept. Of Public Works' official and "immediate policy", in defiance of state law.

As staffers kowtow to Montero's politically correct terminology.

Dear Denver has the follow-up email from the Department of Public Works:
...We spoke with Sean Sullivan in the City Attorney's office and he informed us there is a State statute, House Bill 1343 that requires we include a clause in all contracts with the language "illegal aliens". Sullivan said changing the language in city contracts will create ambiguity and will not be in compliance with the statute.

However, PW will not use the term in any verbal references, such as in council meetings, PW committee meetings, etc. It will be our immediate policy to begin using the term unauthorized immigrants in all references excluding the actual contract language. If there is another term you would prefer, please let us know.
Normally there would be links to MSM coverage of this event--where are they, you ask? Good question!

George in Denver is similarly outraged by Montero's politically correct patronization.

Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper denied knowledge of the memo, or DPW's new policy. It is hard for Hick to avoid acknowledging Denver's de facto "sanctuary city" reputation. The speech police are sure to follow--starting in Public Works, where the hiring of illegal aliens is still against the law (CRS 8-17.5-102. Illegal aliens - prohibition - public contracts for services):
(1) A state agency or political subdivision shall not enter into or renew a public contract for services with a contractor who knowingly employs or contracts with an illegal alien to perform work under the contract or who knowingly contracts with a subcontractor who knowingly employs or contracts with an illegal alien to perform work under the contract. Prior to executing a public contract for services, each prospective contractor shall certify that, at the time of the certification, it does not knowingly employ or contract with an illegal alien and that the contractor has participated or attempted to participate in the basic pilot program in order to verify that it does not employ any illegal aliens.
The language of the law, passed just last year, is quite clear.

Montero is just playing the political semantics game, declaring what is "preferred" language, language that clearly isn't found in Colorado law.

She is also up for reelection in Denver's snooze-a-thon election May 1. Too bad her opponent, Waldo Benevidez, doesn't have a chance (his NYTimes article from last April sits behind the TimesSelect wall).

Mike Rosen discusses the political neutrality of the term "illegal alien", versus the politically correct alternatives, such as undocumented worker, unauthorized immigrant, etc.

Related: Freedom Folks continue with updates on the "Hold Their Feet To The Fire" conference in DC.

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Colorado's Liberal Abortion Laws

Colorado's record on abortion is long and storied (and an indicator of just how purple the state has been--or at the very least, with libertarian leanings):
Mary Rita Urbish remembers perfectly the moment 40 years ago when Colorado became ground zero in the battle over abortion.

It was April 25, 1967 - the day a proposal by a legislator named Lamm was signed into law by a governor named Love, making the state the first in the nation to liberalize its abortion law. In that moment, as supporters cheered the potential end of illegal abortions, a social movement was born.

"I was so angry," said Urbish, one of the founders of Colorado Right to Life. "It's like a continuous loop in my mind that just runs and runs and runs and runs. It makes me mad to think about it, even now, 40 years later."

Future Gov. Richard Lamm was a freshman state legislator when he introduced the bill to overhaul Colorado's century-old abortion law. His proposal, based on the recommendations of the American Law Institute, allowed a three-doctor panel to approve abortions in cases of rape, incest, severe fetal defects, to save a woman's life or if the pregnancy threatened her physical or mental health.
. . .
"Prior to that bill, it was just totally illegal, and all the abortions were in back rooms," said John Bermingham, a Denver Republican who was the bill's chief Senate sponsor. "(The bill) just seemed like the right thing to do. Back-room abortions were disgraceful."
Until Roe v. Wade asserted judicial supremacy on the issue of abortion, states including Colorado recognized that legislation offered the most appropriate road to resolving differences over such a divisive issue.

The anniversary, of course, is nothing to celebrate, even if you support choice.

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April 25, 2007

Inhofe Challenges Hollywood To Take "Gore Pledge"

How much you wanna bet the Hollywood moonbat hypocrites won't take up Sen. Inhofe's offer?
A leading skeptic of global-warming science is challenging celebrity activists such as Al Gore and Sheryl Crow to lower their "carbon footprint" to the same level as the average American by Earth Day in April 2008.

"I simply believe that former Vice President Al Gore and his Hollywood friends who demand we change the way we live to avert this over-hyped 'crisis' not only talk the talk, but walk the walk," said Sen. James M. Inhofe, Oklahoma Republican.

"How hard is it for these elitists to become as frugal in their energy consumption as the average American? I think the American public has a right to know they are being had."

A so-called "Gore Pledge" was introduced last month when the former vice president appeared before a Senate committee to discuss his views on climate change. Mr. Inhofe asked Mr. Gore to sign the pledge to reduce his use of products that produce greenhouse gases, but he declined, instead citing alternative carbon trade-offs.

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The Middle Kingdom: Chinablogging

With an imminent trip to China just a few weeks away, it wouldn't be too bad to note some China-related headlines people may have missed:

Report: China Will Pass U.S. As Polluter:
China will pass the United States as the world's biggest source of greenhouse gasses this year, an official with the International Energy Agency was quoted as saying.

China had been forecast to surpass the U.S. in 2010, but its sizzling economic growth has pushed the date forward, the IEA's chief economist, Fatih Birol, was quoted as saying in an interview appearing in Tuesday's Wall Street Journal newspaper.

"In the past couple of months, economic growth and related coal consumption has grown at such an unexpected rate," Birol was quoted as saying. China's rising emissions will effectively cancel out attempts by other countries to reduce their own, he said.

Those comments follow the weekend release of a Chinese government report detailing the costs of climate change but asserting that the country should focus on development before cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

Higher than average temperatures meant spreading deserts, worsening droughts, shrinking glaciers and increased spread of diseases, said the report, compiled by more than a dozen government bodies. It said emission limits were unfair and would constrain China's current energy and manufacturing industries.

China is a signatory to the Kyoto Protocol on reducing greenhouse gasses, but is exempt from its restrictions because it is a developing country.

The Paris-based IEA advises developed country on energy policy.
China to use Marxism to clean-up Internet:
China's leaders are hoping that Karl Marx can shift the country's Internet users away from "decadent" content and help them clean up the Web, state media reported.

The Communist Party's Politburo this week asked media and cultural groups to promote and produce more "healthy online cultural products" including promotion of the ideology of Marxism, Xinhua news agency reported late Monday.

The government wants the Internet to "represent the social progress and the splendid traditional culture of China", the agency said, quoting a release from the meeting, which was led by President Hu Jintao.

The campaign's aim is to nurture a healthy online culture and prevent "decadent" material from spreading, Xinhua said.

China's Communist Party leaders, who enforce strict curbs on the press, have made no secret of the fact they regard the Internet as a threat and that it should be subjected to the same controls as traditional media.

In January, Hu called on the party to "purify" China's Internet community, which is rapidly growing as the country's economy expands.

The numbers going online jumped by almost 24 percent last year to reach 137 million, around one in ten Chinese, Xinhua quoted the China Internet Network Information Center as saying.

The country recently launched a crackdown on Internet pornography and last month capped the number of new cybercafes allowed to open this year, a measure state media said was aimed at stemming growing Internet addiction.
Chinese pirates beat Spider-Man to the punch:
China's infamous movie pirates have done it again -- "Spider-Man 3" is already being sold on Beijing's streets almost two weeks ahead of its U.S. premier.

Costing just over $1 apiece, the pirated DVDs appear to be of the actual movie, complete with a picture of the hero in a new, black spider suit which he wears for some of the film.

There is even a warning on the back, printed in Chinese, against pirating the product.

But put the one bought on Tuesday in the machine, and it does not work -- a common problem with Chinese-made DVDs, which are often made with poor equipment in dingy backrooms.

Early pirated copies of Hollywood blockbusters are sometimes filmed in cinemas and viewers can see people walking in front of the screen or hear members of the audience coughing. Other DVDs show totally different films to what may be advertised on the cover. China has been riled by U.S. complaints to the World Trade Organisation that it is not doing enough to tackle piracy, such as the billions lost each year by Hollywood to copyright pirates.

The government says it does take the problem seriously, but faces a multitude of problems such as convincing the man on the street not to buy fakes.

"It's too expensive to go to the cinema to watch movies," said Beijing resident Duan Nana. "This has a lot to do with why people are rushing to buy fake DVDs and watch movies at home. It's very common and it's logical."
China to Force Rain Ahead of Olympics:
Chance of showers during the 2008 Beijing Olympics: 50 percent. But Chinese meteorologists have a plan to bring sunshine.

The meteorologists say they can force rain in the days before the Olympics, through a process known as cloud-seeding, to clean the air and ensure clear skies. China has been tinkering with artificial rainmaking for decades, but whether it works is a matter of debate among scientists.

Weather patterns for the past 30 years indicate there is a 50 percent chance of rain for both the opening ceremony on Aug. 8, 2008 and the closing ceremony two weeks later, said Wang Yubin, an engineer with the Beijing Meteorological Bureau.

The forced rain could also help clean Beijing's polluted air, said Wang Jianjie, another meteorologist with the bureau.

"When conditions permit, we will artificially increase rainfall," she said. "Rainfall is a way to naturally clean the air."

In 2003, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences questioned the science behind cloud-seeding as "too weak." But China frequently uses artificial rainmaking in the drought-plagued north.

Last May, Beijing boasted having generated rainfall to clear the air and streets following the worst dust storm in a decade.

Technicians with the Beijing Weather Modification Office said they fired seven rocket shells containing 163 cigarette-size sticks of silver iodide over the city's skies. They claimed it provoked a chemical reaction in clouds that forced four-tenths of an inch of rain.

Beijing's air pollution is among Asia's worst. Officials have shuttered several chemical and steel plants on the city's edge, and many polluters will shut down _ or cut back _ during the Olympics. But the city also has 2.9 million registered vehicles, and the number is expected to reach 3.3 million by the Olympics, a 13 percent increase.

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Courthouse Tryst Could Lead To Disbarment For Judge, Prosecutor

Disorder in the court as Grafton Biddle (there's a name!) and Laurie Steinman engaged in a little extra-judicial hanky-panky, and could face disbarment for their, uh, exertions:
A Douglas County judge and a female prosecutor admitted having sex in his chambers, and on more than one occasion he slipped into the women's showers at the courthouse for a tryst.

Those are some of the details included in a complaint filed Friday with the Attorney Regulation Council, which is looking into allegations that could result in their disbarment.

Grafton Minot Biddle, 57, resigned Dec. 18 after his fourth wife sent a letter to the chief judge saying he was having an affair with Laurie A. Steinman, 29.

Carol Chambers, district attorney for the 18th Judicial District, fired Steinman on Dec. 22, the day she admitted to the affair, the complaint said.

As rumors of their romance became fodder for courthouse gossip, the complaint said, Biddle encouraged Steinman to permanently delete messages they exchanged using their e-mail accounts at work.

"If people read this stuff, we're dead," Biddle told Steinman, according to the complaint.
. . .
The relationship began last spring, with Biddle offering to mentor Steinman in his chambers over morning cups of coffee.

They had sex on the Fourth of July, a courthouse holiday, in Biddle's chambers. "Both admit they had sex a number of times in . . . Judge Biddle's judicial chamber during the summer of 2006," according to the complaint, which said the pair "degraded the sanctity of the courtroom."

Biddle asked Steinman to join his gym and enroll in a Navy Seals training class, where they were together three or four times a week. After working out, they went to the courthouse, where there were showers in the basement.

"On a number of occasions, Judge Biddle would 'sneak' into the women's shower facility in the courthouse early in the morning to shower with Ms. Steinman," the complaint said.

Biddle's wife, Gail Liles, first reported the affair in December to Judge William Blair Sylvester, chief judge of the 18th Judicial District.

"I'm shocked and thoroughly disgusted," Liles, who filed for divorce, said on Monday after reading the complaint. "This has devastated my whole family."
Penalties for the amorous couple range from private reprimand to disbarment. Then there is Biddle's divorce settlement.

Justice may be blind, but this brief legal affair is certainly eye-popping in its licentiousness! More details here.

PS--The Drunkablog was on this yesterday--salaciousness!

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April 24, 2007

Ward Churchill Receives Last Ditch Support From Professors

Churchill's acolytes, aka "Dune Buggy Attack Battalion", have offered their 11th hour defense of their favorite Indian academic--and call for CU to rescind its report:
A group of professors at the University of Colorado at Boulder is demanding that CU retract the report that forms the basis for the possible firing of professor Ward Churchill.

In an open letter released Monday, seven CU professors and two professors from other institutions said the report - which accused Churchill of academic misconduct and plagiarism - is error-filled, relies on biased information and distorts other information. The group said if the university does not retract the report, it may file charges of research misconduct against the authors of the report.

"We feel that when you're making a report on which a person's job and reputation rests, you should be exceedingly careful about what kind of claims you make," said CU professor Tom Mayer, one of the scholars who signed the letter. "We feel they haven't been exceedingly careful at all, but have been quite sloppy, which is exactly what they accused Churchill of being."
More background here.

PirateBallerina has a copy of the letter that includes their refutations, and a list of the signatories.

The Drunkablog provides more context and a roundup of links.

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Student Defends Max Karson, Says Comments Taken Out Of Context

An anonymous student from Max Karson's "Historical and Contemporary Issues of Black Women" class defended the comments he made that led to his arrest last week after the VT massacre:
One student who's in the women's-studies course — who said the class has about 25 women and four men — thinks Karson's comments were taken out of context.

"Max is honest, and people aren't always willing to hear what he has to say," said the student, who didn't want her name published.

She said Tuesday's debate started as an effort to understand how someone could go on a killing spree like the Virginia gunman's.

Karson — who circulates a controversial underground publication called The Yeti on the campus — told his peers that he thinks institutions provoke anger in people, which eventually causes them to "crack," the student said.

"He said, 'Anyone who has walked on this campus and hasn't wanted 30 people dead is lying to themselves,'" she said.

When Karson was asked why institutions make him so mad, the student said Karson used the women's-studies class to illustrate his point: The room was in a basement and had unfinished walls and fluorescent lights.

According to a police report, Karson said: "The basement room with fluorescent lights and the unfinished wall make him angry enough to kill people."

"But I didn't feel threatened," the student said. "He was just theorizing in an intellectual discussion about why people kill."

Police said one of the more-serious comments students reported Karson making that day came as an answer to the question, "Are you going to do something Thursday?"

Karson's reply: "Well, not necessarily this Thursday," according to police.

But the student said that wasn't the end of Karson's statement. She said he added, "Or any other day."

"Generally, Max makes the class uncomfortable, and they disagree with him often," the student said. "But I think people were reacting in fear because 30 people had just died, and they don't want to be one of those people."
This revelation does not immediately exonerate Karson, but certainly contextualizes some of his statements. The case will certainly examine what types of statements constitute enough of a threat to engender fear--and justify the arrest on "interference" charges. If the case is weak, and it looks like it very well could be, then the CUPD arrested Karson for exercising his free speech rights, however off-color or speculative they might be.

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Playing The "Chickenhawk" Argument On The VT Massacre

John Derbyshire, Mark Steyn and Kathy Shaidle are conservative chickenhawks on the VT massacre? April says no, and I agree.

Shaidle--not blaming the victims, but the doctrine society operates under.

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April 23, 2007

Immigration Reform--Hold Their Feet To The Fire

Freedom Folks is liveblogging the whole thing--they have links to the other bloggers there, as well as constant updates.

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April 21, 2007

Celebrate Earth Day!

If you're of the red variety--today is Lenin's birthday. If you happen to be of the green persuasion (or a watermelon, green on outside, red on the inside!) today is Earth's day.

Relapsed Catholic says Earth Day is crap.

Sen. Inhofe challenges Hollywood to take the "Gore Pledge".

Sheryl Crow implores us to be sparing with our TP--1 square only!

Cox & Forkum give us the "Farce of Nature".

Earth Day, a "Festivus" for the smug among us!

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Laws Defined

Many, many hilarious laws:
Artists' Law of Bravery
Criticism of a religion is inversely proportional to the probability of its proponents killing you multiplied by their density

Boyle's Law
Global Warming is a product of peer-Pressure and the Volume of calls for 'something to be done'

The Roe Wade Feminist Law
Hatred of the killing of adults (gun ownership and war) is directly proportional to Love of the killing of babies (abortion)



April 20, 2007

Democrat In Deep Doo-Doo For Leaving Feces At Musgrave's Office

Literally, as her appeal on free speech grounds to have the charges dropped failed:
A Democratic volunteer facing a criminal charge for leaving dog poop at the office of Republican Rep. Marilyn Musgrave lost a bid Wednesday to have the case dropped.

Kathleen Ensz faces a May 22 trial on a charge of using a noxious substance.

Prosecutors say she left dog poop wrapped in one of Musgrave's mailings at the congresswoman's Greeley office last June because she was angry over repeatedly getting such mailings. Ensz was a volunteer for the Weld County Democratic Party at the time.

Ensz's attorneys have argued what she did was a form of speech protected by the First Amendment.

A judge on Wednesday denied a motion to dismiss the charge.

Ensz, 64, is a retired French professor who taught at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley.

Using a noxious substance is a misdemeanor carrying a jail sentence of up to six months and a fine of $50 to $750.
As I said back in January, shouldn't Ensz, the Democrats' self-appointed "craptivist" and former professor be more eloquent and insightful than reducing herself to the behavior of poo-flinging monkeys?

Beware the Democrats' next smear campaign . . . or at least hold your nose!

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April 19, 2007

Joe Nacchio Guilty

On 19 of 42 counts.

More here:
A jury found former Qwest CEO Joe Nacchio guilty on 19 of the 42 counts against him on Thursday afternoon.

He was found guilty of counts 24 through 42 of the 42 count indictment against him and not guilty of counts one through 23.

Each of the counts carries a penalty of up to ten years in prison and a $1 million fine. However, the sentence is expected to be served concurrently and not consecutively.

The jury, made up of eight men and four women, started deliberations last Thursday and made several requests, including writing materials, more copies of the indictment and a master list of evidence. The requests were signed by the airline pilot who identified himself as the foreman.
. . .
The SEC has a pending civil fraud lawsuit against Nacchio and other one-time executives at Qwest.
More analysis here.

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Max Karson's Arresting Comments--Overreaction And Censorship Or Sensible Precaution?

CU student Max Karson's ill-timed comments (the question of legality is to be decided, as you will see below) have earned him notoriety, an arrest for "interference", and suspension from school pending his trial:
A University of Colorado student has been arrested after making "threatening" comments in class that seemed sympathetic toward the gunman who killed 32 students at Virginia Tech, authorities said.

Max Karson of Denver was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of interfering with staff, faculty or students of an education institution.
. . .
University police Cmdr. Brad Wiesley said that during a class discussion of the Virginia Tech massacre, Karson "made comments about understanding how someone could kill 32 people."

Several witnesses told investigators Karson said he was "angry about all kinds of things from the fluorescent light bulbs to the unpainted walls, and it made him angry enough to kill people," according to a police report.
. . .
Karson has also produced a video on youtube that ends in a deadly shooting he called a comedy.
The film has been made private since I viewed it; it depicted Karson as a jokester given three minutes to make another guy laugh--he is ultimately unsuccessful, and the other individual shoots him. His site is still up for now. The class, for what its worth, was a women's black studies course.

His father, a University of Denver professor, argues that his son's words, however ill-advised, we're neither illegal nor threatening. The school, in his opinion, has violated his free speech rights. Attorney David Lane, of Ward Churchill fame, suggests that a violation of free speech may have occurred, but his ambiguous statement about killings are questionable, and context is important.

What were Karson's words? There is little detail, other than this purported quote:
"If anyone in here says that they've never been so angry that you wanted to kill 32 people, you're lying," Karson said, according to a statement made by a CU faculty member.
People say stupid things all the time; in the heat of passion, words become weapons. Most people would readily admit that in a particularly angry state they have made some statement along the lines of "I am so angry I could do . . . to that person." But serious contemplation of killing innocent people (not in self-defense)? Highly unlikely. Context is important, as is the state of mind of the person making such a declaration. Karson's intent is clearly in question.

In this case, Karson's words unsurprisingly disturbed his classmates and teacher. His previous record of antagonizing CU's administration and fellow students gives a picture of Karson as an agent provacateur, willing to engage others with (to his mind) alternative points-of-view. My defense of his writings last November (a search of his name yields more on his past).

In light of the events at VT, his statements threw up all the usual red flags, and earned him his arrest and suspension. They may earn him more than just notoriety. They also call attention to the heightened state of emotion following the VT massacre--Karson's words, if made in class just last week, would have perhaps raised eyebrows and snickering from his fellow students. This week, he went to jail.

The debate over how to prevent future Columbines and VT massacres includes the discussion of intervention when "red flags" are apparent. Is the fear justified or is Karson's audience overreacting? Second-guessing becomes the name of the game following any tragedy. One can understand CUPD's desire to protect students and faculty from potential harm. People across the country would be hopping mad if the CUPD heard complaints about Karson and failed to take action.

So which is it? Can we have it both ways--unfettered free speech (unless inciting violence, which is at question here) or the "mask" of safety in charging those with disturbing thoughts and expressions with crimes, so as to prevent larger catastrophes?

Karson has earned himself, rightly or wrongly, a day in court. The context of his statements will be revealed in more detail. Is having disturbing (to others) thoughts a crime? Is he victim of of his own poor judgment and timing? Or has CUPD averted a future massacre? It is doubtful the court decision will render a definitive answer, but the outcome will assuredly lead to more questions on how or if we can avoid yet another Columbine or VT massacre.

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Triumph Of Censorship: Loveland Sculpture Removed

Censorship as a yellow strap.

The infamous "Triangle", which contained nude figures (the horror!), was removed from the roundabout it had occupied for nearly a year and transferred to a nearby "art park":
The controversial sculpture 'Triangle' in Loveland was moved from a roundabout on the east side of the city to a sculpture park Tuesday.
. . .
Some people objected to the sculpture's public placement.

The 1,200 lb. bronze statue was placed on a flatbed truck and driven across town.

The roundabout may now be art free for awhile.

"Aside from the controversy about 'Triangle' as a sculpture, there are also a lot of opinions about whether we should be placing sculptures in roundabouts," said Susan Ison with the city of Loveland. "So I think the visual arts commission really wants to think about that some more before placing another piece here."

The Loveland Arts Commission decided to move the sculpture after the City Council threatened to take away the commission's power.
Loveland's art director quit over the controversy--calling it a "public art lynching" that would leave only "safe art".

The offending statue:

More background on the Loveland sculpture kerfuffle.

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Blogs For Borders Video Blogburst 041707

You know the drill.



April 18, 2007

Cartoonists Blame Gun Culture, NRA, 2nd Amendment, Bush And Iraq War For VT Massacre

No mention of the perpetrator(s) (and these cartoons may indeed have been completed before Cho Seung-Hui was identified), but these editorial cartoonists begin by blaming the Iraq War, America's "gun culture", the NRA and even (inevitably?) President George W. Bush:

Iraq War moral equivalency.

Terror: Made in USA.

That stubborn 2nd Amendment.

Blaming the NRA.

NRA as special interest peddler to legislators.

The triumvirate: Bush, NRA, and gun rights legislators.

Attacking John McCain and the ridiculous! 2nd Amendment.

He should be putting that sticker on, not scraping it off--Cho Seung-Hui killed those VT students and faculty, not his weapons.

America's gun culture gets its due.

More of the same.

America's guns guarantee freedom, something the unarmed citizens were unable to achieve under the oppressive Communist regimes, and severely limited their ability to fight back against the rampaging Nazis. Liviu Librescu had seen violence before, and displayed heroism in defending his students. He wasn't a victim of "random gun violence" but a psychopathic killer who showed no respect for human life.

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Fitz-Gerald To Run For Udall's Seat

Just across the wires--and entirely expected after Rep. Mark Udall solidified his own campaign intentions earlier this week:
State Senate president and Golden Democrat Joan Fitz-Gerald says she will run for the Second Congressional District seat being vacated by Mark Udall.

Fitz-Gerald was elected to the state Senate in 2000, and became the first woman in Colorado history to be elected as Senate president in 2005.

She says in a news release that she is excited to announce her candidacy for Congress, and bring Colorado's record of change to Washington.

Fitz-Gerald says that as the wife and daughter of military veterans, she supports the bipartisan efforts in Congress to bring the war to a close.

She says she also supports resolutions in the Colorado Senate that opposed troop escalation, and honored military veterans and fallen soldiers.

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After The VT Massacre: Gun Control?--Update: Penn & Teller's "Bullshit"

Roger Fraley of XDA fisks an editorial from The Times of London that suggests "America’s deep-rooted and sometimes lethal commitment to its own freedoms" leads to the type of gun violence seen at VT. Money quote:
Don't tread on me. ...cold, dead hands. Lethal commitment to Freedom. All good thoughts.
Other European MSM highlighted America's pervasive gun culture, a violent society, the Iraq War, and even Charlton Heston as explanations for the outburst at VT. Our Constitution and the pesky rights afforded American citizens and their reluctance to cede them to an ever-burgeoning Federal Government was a recurring theme.

Perhaps the Europeans are jealous--jealous of our enshrined freedoms and of our ability to maintain a desire to keep them in the face of ridiculous calls for emotional, knee-jerk reactions to an isolated but tragic event. In similar situations, Europeans permanently surrendered their freedoms for a little temporary safety. We all know how Benjamin Franklin felt about that equation.

Liberal Denver blogger Jeralyn Merritt of TalkLeft calls gun control a "non-cure" and says what every gun-rights and 2nd Amendment advocate said right after Columbine:
Guns effected, but did not cause the killings. They were the means by which an unbalanced, disturbed individual carried out his rage.
For the time being, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid opposes a "rush to judgment" in introducing new gun control legislation--noting that the time for such measures may come down the road, even though the issue has been a loser for Democrats for nearly a decade.

Local gun rights organizations showed up to protest GOP Presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani's visit to Denver, only to have it cancelled at the last moment due to the events at VT.

Penn & Teller's "Bullshit" offers their take on gun control
. (obviously, NSFW)

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April 17, 2007

Human Smuggler With Suspected Illegal Immigrants Stopped In Wheat Ridge, CO

A human smuggler is caught at a 24-hour King Soopers in Wheat Ridge when passengers (suspected illegal immigrants from Mexico) spent too much time freshening up in the restroom:
A man accused of smuggling 11 Mexicans into the U.S. is being held at the Jefferson County Jail.

Police say King Soopers security called to report several suspected illegal immigrants spending long periods of time in the restrooms of the store on the 3400 block of Youngfield Street.

Officers say the six men and four women had arrived from Mexico in a 6-passenger F-150 pickup truck. They had not showered in recent days and were using the restrooms at the store to wash up.

The men and women ranged in age from 18 to 36 years old. Many told police they paid the driver anywhere from $500 to $1,000 to be driven from a village in Mexico to Georgia where they were planning to work on a farm.

Police arrested the driver of the truck, 36-year-old Abram Calderon-Garcia of Mexico on charges of smuggling humans, a class three felony. He is scheduled to appear in court Wednesday morning.
A ride from Mexico to Georgia via Colorado is quite a circuitous route--and just a small part of the massive human smuggling operation that takes thousands of illegal immigrants in hundreds of vehicles a week across Colorado's interstate highways. At least this story has a happy ending, no one was injured.

Just a day earlier, 8 of 15 suspected illegal immigrants from Guatemala and Mexico perished on a remote highway in southeast Utah.


Udall Files For Senate Run

Rep. Mark Udall confirmed his much-anticipated but unsurprising intention to run by forming a committee for Sen. Wayne Allard's seat as the Democrat's candidate in 2008:
Democratic Congressman Mark Udall on Monday filed federal paperwork to run for the Senate and announced he has raised $1.5 million for the campaign.

Udall has made no secret of his intention to run next year for the seat being vacated by GOP Sen. Wayne Allard, who is retiring. Udall has not yet formally announced. Udall indicated that a formal campaign announcement would be set for later this year.

Udall said Monday he raised $334,882 for his Senate campaign in the first three months of the year, bringing his total cash on hand to $1.537 million.
. . .
"There's a lot of focus on this race," Udall said.

Some analysts have said candidates could spend a total of $20 million, which would make it the most expensive in state history.

Udall said Democrat Ken Salazar spent $10 million to win his seat two years ago and he expects to spend at least that much.

"It's too much money. It's a shame Congress costs that much," Udall said.
A shame, yes, but the reality in a bitterly divided nation.

Udall had more to say on his intended run:
"I intend to run a campaign that breaks the old mold of bitter and partisan politics, in favor of one that is about bringing Coloradans together," Udall said Monday. "Our country is facing deep crises at home and abroad. We must find a way to successfully end the war in Iraq and mount an effective strategy against terrorism, and we must build a safer, stronger and more prosperous America. We can only meet these challenges by working in new ways that reach across old partisan divides, and elevate our public debates. That is what I have always strived for in my political life, and it is my intention to build a campaign organization that matches the best expectations of Coloradans."
Colorado Confidential has more on Udall's "unity" platform, building bridges, "I'm not from Boulder" rhetoric, universal health care, etc.

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April 16, 2007

Allard Endorses Romney; Giuliani In Town For Fundraiser

Sen. Wayne Allard's endorsement of Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney had my head spinning:
Colorado Republican Sen. Wayne Allard is endorsing former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney for president, the campaign announced Monday.

Allard praised the candidate as someone who could bring “a much needed breath of fresh air to Washington.” He is the fifth GOP senator to publicly back Romney.

“After reviewing Governor Romney’s impressive resume and having the opportunity to visit one-on-one with him about his vision of innovation and change for America, I am proud to announce my endorsement of him,” Allard said in a statement.

Romney noted the Colorado Republican’s commitment to fiscal conservatism and homeland security.

“Senator Allard’s record of leadership and commitment to change make him a valuable addition to my campaign team,” Romney stated. “In Congress, he has fought to restrain spending while working to ensure that Americans are safe at home and abroad. Senator Allard understands, as I do, that we must bring innovation and transformation to Washington if we are to meet the new generation of challenges facing our country today.”
Colorado Conservative Project sums it up nicely: Allard endorses Romney, conservatives weep

The Political Pale Horse asks, "What the hell?"

**Update--Giuliani fundraiser cancelled due to VA Tech massacre

Meanwhile, former NY Mayor Rudy Giuliani is in town tonight to raise cash . . . but has also appeared to make a comment that marginalizes social conservatives in the GOP:
“Our party is going to grow, and we are going to win in 2008 if we are a party characterized by what we’re for, not if we’re a party that’s known for what we’re against,” the former New York mayor said at a midday campaign stop.

Republicans can win, he said, if they nominate a candidate committed to the fight against terrorism and high taxes, rather than a pure social conservative.

“Our party has to get beyond issues like that,” Giuliani said, a reference to abortion rights, which he supports.
Social conservatives prepared to make allowances for a moderate candidate like Giuliani can accept compromises, or are at the very least willing to entertain a candidate that will at least take them seriously. Ostracizing them with flippant comments dismissing the importance of the issues social conservatives hold dear will do nothing to endear him to skeptical GOP voters hesitant to countenance a socially liberal Presidential candidate.

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April 15, 2007

Fisking Howard Dean's DNC Speech

--Dean should know his history; he mentions the "Cross of Gold" speech delivered by thrice-defeated Democrat William Jennings Bryan as coming from the 1908 Denver Democrat National Convention, when in fact Bryan made his comments a mere 12 years earlier in Chicago; perhaps the thought of yet another ignominious defeat clouds his memory

--Dean says Democrats won't be afraid to be in every single state this time around; however, Fox News is another matter

--Dems a party of "American values", works for everyone, not just rich Democrats Republicans

--"tough" but "smart" foreign policy, translation: cut and run

--change direction? RUN AWAY!

--mentions the deplorable Walter Reed fiasco, promises to make pathetic governmental agency not so bad, no doubt in anticipation of "universal health care" run by the same government bureaucrats

--calls for honest government, accountability; touts Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, shocked he didn't mention Sen. Diane Feinstein, continues GOP "culture of corruption" meme

--"restore America to its moral greatness" blather

Wow. A staggering, thought-provoking, galvanizing 4+ minutes! The mind boggles!


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John Kerry Visits Denver, Touts New Book

Sen. Kerry was in Denver Sunday, flogging his new book and talking politics with the (liberal) folks at the Tattered Cover book store, trying to capture some of the heat (pun intended) generated by Al Gore's Global Hysteria Tour:
Kerry said he wants to increase awareness about environmental issues and the things everyday people are doing to make a difference.

"This doesn't belong to a democrat or a republican or a conservative or a liberal," Kerry said. "These are just practical real things that every American needs to think about."

Kerry eventually opened up the room to questions which ranged from the current presidential race to America's role in Iraq.

"The consequences are obviously disastrous," Kerry said. "This is the most disastrous foreign policy choice made in any country anywhere in modern time."
Because nothing sells to the liberal/Democratic crowd like a little Bush-bashing. One can debate the merits of the Iraq War--but "worst foreign policy choice" anywhere since the French Revolution (roughly the start of the modern era)? Is he serious?

And what of talk about running for President again in the future?
"Could that change?" Kerry said. "It might. It may change over years. It may change over months. I can't tell you, but I've said very clearly I don't consider myself out of it forever."
. . .
When asked whether he expected that decision to change in time for the 2008 race, Kerry said, "If suddenly the field changed or the dynamics of the nation shifted, who knows? You might look at it differently, but I don't see that. I don't foresee that. That's not where I am today and that's not what I'm doing."
Kerry's one shining moment in the political sun came in 2004, when a rising wave of anti-war sentiment combined with the perennial anti-Bush rhetoric to produce . . . the second highest vote count received by a Presidential candidate ever. Of course, he lost to George W. Bush, who won both the electoral college (meaningful) and the "popular" vote (meaningless). He is unlikely to see that level of support again, as the majority of Kerry's supporters voted not for him, but against Bush.

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April 14, 2007

On Denver's Weather And Global Warming/Climate Change

Anyone around these parts knows the fickle nature of Colorado weather. What transpired over the last 36 hours, however, really boggles the mind. Up to a foot of snow was forecast for Denver and surrounding areas by Friday morning, but when everyone woke up to a complete ly dry city--with nary a flake in sight--many reactions were like bestdestiny's:
I can accept a margin of error--say, 35%. But to be COMPLETELY wrong is just laughable.

But what's more, we're supposed to believe what climate scientists say is going to happen in 50 years, when they are frequently 100% wrong about what's going to happen in 12 hours? And further, we're supposed to significantly alter our whole economy to "forestall" the "grave consequences" of such predictions?
Viewer and listener outrage over such a missed forecast prompted a rare explanation/apology from network forecasters:
Over the past week, the 9NEWS Weather Team had been closely studying several forecast models to predict the track of this storm system. For the last four days, nearly all those weather models agreed that a developing low pressure system in Oregon would track southeast through Nevada and into northern Arizona before turning east and progressing along the New Mexico and Colorado state line.

By late Thursday evening, a few weather models were hinting that the storm could track slightly more south then had been predicted. By early Friday morning, it was obvious that the storm would track considerably farther south into New Mexico then any model had predicted.

9NEWS understands that our Thursday forecast for up to a foot of snow on Friday prompted major plans for preparation. The legislature cancelled its session so lawmakers would not have to drive through the snow. The Colorado Department of Transportation had 79 plows on the roads in the metro area ready to tackle the expected snowfall. And the airlines called for the pre-emptive cancellations of more than 90 flights to prevent planes, crews, and passengers from being stranded in a snowstorm. The flight cancellation decisions were made using the recommendations from the airlines' own staff of meteorologists.

During severe weather forecasters carry a heavier burden. Meteorologists understand that their predictions and models for blizzards, hurricanes and tornadoes can help determine the safety of viewers. While the "weather guy" may catch a good amount of flack for making the wrong forecast, a conservative warning that may inconvenience people can help avoid danger.
No one doubts the meteorologists' sincerity--it is better to err on the side of caution.

What this situation reveals about the public's expectation of weather forecasters' ability to predict storms using scientific equipment and computer models, however, says a lot about how public perceptions have been changed by the constant MSM harping on impending global warming/climate change disaster, most notably argued by the profit prophet of doom himself, Al Gore.

Claims of global scientific consensus on the planet's future based on analysis of sophisticated computer models has implanted the expectation, almost certainty, of the ability to know the future. But in their explanations of why Denver's forecast failed, one network's meteorologists acknowledged the profound lack of exactness of the method:
A missed forecast to one might be calling for cold with snow but it turns out sunny and warm.

To another, a storm that was predicted to form and move into the state misses its mark by 100 miles, might also be a missed forecast.

Regardless, it is weather, and it will do what it does no matter how much technology is developed to try and predict it.

Meteorology is a science, and exciting, because you just never know what could happen -- the old saying, "never say never" comes to mind.

On a very basic level, predicting weather is like dropping a branch in a river and predicting exactly where that branch will be the next day or in several days from now. You have to calculate the current, the eddies, the bank flow, the curves in the bank, etc. Computer models take all of that information and try to calculate an outcome. But tiny mistakes in the data, or gaps in the data, can dramatically change the answer.
Indeed, anything is possible. They recognize that weather is inherently unpredictable, and instead can only deal with the qualifying language of possibilities, likelihoods, or chance. They say meteorology is a science--which it is--but also admit that it is exciting precisely because of the inability to gauge with 100% accuracy the whims of nature.

In fact, they also argue that the imprecise computer models are exactly that because they are never complete. All of the possible variables are not always present as "mistakes" or "gaps" in the data "can dramatically change the answer". If this is true for predicting weather up to 7 days in advance, it is exponentially more certain for any model dealing with innumerable data points, variables, etc. that would have to be incorporated in projecting weather 50 years from now.

Catastrophic events like Hurricane Katrina are highlighted precisely because an unlikely yet perfect combination of weather conditions aligned to produce a deadly megastorm that killed 1200 people and destroyed New Orleans. Denver's most recent blizzard had a precedent, but it was over 90 years ago. Denver endures snowfall annually, but only every few decades is it blasted by conditions such as we had in December.

Which is why even the "consensus" figures often include a wide range of possible outcomes, even though the MSM and global warming propagandists seize on the most dire, the least likely outliers that warn of global catastrophe. Global warming/climate change opponents acknowledge that temperatures have been getting warmer over the past century (which is contrary to the lies often put out in the media, that they deny the warming), but take issue with the rather facile anthropomorphic attribution that has become the foundation of global warming rhetoric.

In any scientific experiment where dozens of factors are possibly contributory, where data is incomplete, and where even the most complex computer model is either incorrect or at the very least imprecise, the public's reliance on so-called "experts" calling for radical changes in human behavior at legal, societal, and global levels should be made caution and an honest debate--not a closure of minds based on an unsettled matter. Honesty on the part of the MSM would reveal the imprecision of the science and the lack of certainty that informs even the most educated assertions as to the upcoming weather forecasts, including the annual hurricane predictions which notably (and thankfully) were overstated last year, or the unpredictability of the El Nino/La Nina phenomenon.

So what's the weather gonna be like this week? Who knows--not even the scientists are 100% certain!


April 12, 2007

Thursday Link Sweep

Gov. Bill Ritter "un-vetoes" legislation previously opposed by Gov. Bill Owens. Owens wielded the veto pen unhesitatingly, while his successor has only rejected two bills, one of which could be the most damaging to his party--HB 1072, that eased union voting procedures:
"What a difference an election makes," said Carrie Doyle, executive director of Colorado Conservation Voters. "Bill Ritter said he would be a 'stubborn steward' for the environment, and he is keeping his campaign promises."

For three years, Rep. Al White, R-Winter Park, pushed for a bill that allows communities to increase their taxing capability to buy and maintain open space. It was vetoed twice but was signed into law this year.

"There are just different perspectives between the governors," White said.

"That's why people elect a governor in a different party. They expect change," said Senate President Joan Fitz-Gerald, D-Coal Creek Canyon.
Once again, politicians have a gift for pointing out the obvious.

One would expect that if the Colorado GOP regains a majority in either house, that Ritter would also yield his veto pen more often, just as Owens did with Democrats in the legislature. Democrats hold the power, and as expected, have pushed their party's agenda. Aside from Ritter's perceived misstep on the union bill, it is no surprise that Democrats are getting their way. The liberal blog Colorado Confidential lists the 64 bills that Ritter has signed so far.

A nannyist bill authorizing police to pull over drivers suspected of not wearing a seat belt has been defeated.

The recently enacted state-wide smoking ban has been ruled unconstitutional because of its exemptions. It is a horrible piece of nannyist regulation, designed to tell businesses that lawmakers know more about how they should run their ventures than allowing businesses to choose what services they offer or allow.

That a Republican--House Minority Leader Mike May, the sponsor of the Colorado Indoor Clean Air Act--brought forth this ridiculous legislation is disappointing. Business owners and employees should make the decision on whether or not to allow smoking at their facilities, not legislators. The exemptions (casinos, cigar bars, and the smoking lounges at DIA) only made the law even more ridiculous and open to the type of ruling made here. Perhaps we could truly enjoy the freedom we are promised when legislators on both sides of the aisle quit playing "government knows best" with our rights.

David Harsanyi nails it:
If all you need is a Jesus Complex and a seat in the legislature to ban unhealthy activity, what stops Boyd, Johnson et al. from banning hazardous activities like eating at fast-food restaurants, rock climbing or getting married?

"It bothers me that we are becoming a nanny state," explains the Harvard-educated Martin. "I don't smoke. I'm married to a Mormon, who hates it when I come home smelling like smoke. But shouldn't it be the individual's personal choice to smoke or not? In bars and nightclubs, a person should be able to enjoy smoking as a social activity - a legal activity between consenting adults - if the owner allows it on his property?"

No. No. No.

According to legislators, you must be healthy and safe, not happy or free.

Though there is little precedent, Martin believes there are various legal avenues to use, and he will appeal if Adams County court is overturned.

"If smoking is legal and a legal substance, then we should have the fundamental freedom of association and action. We should be able to partake in the activity within reasonable bounds," explained Martin. "It should be up to owners to decide what happens on their private property. Not allowing a business to choose erodes their basic freedoms. Even if those freedoms entail making unhealthy choices."


April 11, 2007

Wednesday Link Sweep

--Via PirateBallerina: a grand total of two dozen Churchill sycophants managed to rouse themselves to rally at CU-Boulder today. Drunkablog confirms the paltry showing with excellent pictures of the signs the protestors carried--many of them actually spelled correctly! The students turned out to support their main man:
"The only complaints are politically motivated," said Aaron Smith, a CU senior ethnic studies major. "We're not going to stand idly by and let them fire one of CU's most distinguished professors."
More on this week's Churchillpalooza. Even liberals admit it was a poor showing:
A major problem with news outlets is pack journalism, he said. It is a waste to have dozens of reporters covering the same story. Tongue in cheek, Martin said that prior to the session he and Dodd had been outside covering a rag-tag rally in support of Ward Churchill.

"Fifteen sophomores and a bullhorn that didn't work," he said, does not warrant extensive coverage. "A gross mis-allocation of resources," he joked.
--The usefulness of generic polls this far out from 2008

--exvigilare describes the difficulty of playing "Taps"

--Ben DeGrow calls attention to the "Colorado Call To Action"

Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper--the unpolitician runs for reelection in a "boring" race


April 10, 2007

CU's Annual Conference On World Affairs Draws Moonbats

As the CWA does every year, of course. This year's edition features a token "neo-conservative", a Democratic Presidential candidate (Joe Biden) and a mélange of wacky liberal panels, leftist projection, and the latest moonbat theories, including:
1101 Inconvenient Truths: Why Don't We Believe Our Scientists

1103 Freedom Torture

1109 Hang in There, Justice John Paul Stevens

1502 Countdown to Armageddon

1504 Latin America: Backlash or Axis of Hope

1805 I Never Thought I'd Miss Nixon

2101 Sally and Eve, Adam and Steve

2302 Environmental Stewardship and Indigenous People

2601 The Draft: A Sure Cure for Citizen Apathy

2800 TEA AND STORYTELLING Mexican Tales of Wonder and Woe (Bilingual in English and Español)
Those are just some of the highlights of the first two days. Global warming and climate change are highlighted, as are attacks on capitalism and praise for illegal immigration. Anyone who has attended one of these "intellectual" shindigs (I did for the four years I was an undergraduate) knows that anything but an honest and open forum is conducted representing both or all sides of contentious issues. Holding the conference in Boulder draws not only liberal panelists, but the usual gaggle of crazy lefties from the university and the city itself, who dominate the Q & A and intimidate conservative voices. Just picture a Ward Churchill rant-fest and project that over five days, about 100 panels, and thousands of attendees.

Other panels range from the innocuous "2102 Life's a Risk" to the pointless "2703 Texas is Bigger than France" to the bizarre "5304 Burning Man: Geeks and Hippies Join Hands". Tributes to former panelists like liberal columnist Molly Ivins--"5600B A Moment NOT of Silence in Honor of Molly Ivins (Feel free to bring pots and pans to bang!)" are tempered by the somewhat serious topics that might actually provide an interesting exchange--"4600 China and India: Playing by Their Own Rules".

Liberal moonbat Harry Belafonte, known for praising Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez, hanging with St. Cindy Sheehan and sharing a smooch with fellow moonbat Danny Glover, had to cancel his participation due to health. Heartache.*
*(for the moonbats, that's heartache over his absence at the conference--we wish him well health-wise)

When Harry met Danny

Delaware Senator and Democratic candidate for Presidente Joseph R. Biden, Jr. will deliver a speech on Friday--"5500A PLENARY America's Interests, Iraq's Future". Liberal columnist Paul Krugman will hold forth on "5202 Wages, Wealth and Politics". Oh joy.

And if all of this isn't your cup of tea, you can still enjoy the concurrently running Churchillpalooza! extravaganza this week only!


Tuesday Link Sweep

--The Politics of Selective Outrage:
Selective outrage and political posturing are the twin juggernauts of the political play book that the left has masterfully employed in its prosecution of high crimes and misdemeanors in the court of political correctness.
. . .
If these periodic episodes advanced the cause of civic tolerance or our understanding of what generates them they might be excused as a justified if unsightly exercise. But they bring neither a cultural catharsis nor the desperately needed enlightenment necessary to inhibit future occurrences and, as such, are of no utility whatsoever.
--Illiterate voucher opponent threatens Colorado Senator's grandchildren:
nancy, we are going to take it out on your grandchildren (even the one from Darfur). we know where they live (we have contacts all over the country) and where they go to school.

you are worse than Andrews. cranberg must pay, but your grandchildren will pay first.

the edcation panthers
Mount Virtus calls the threat "despicable and criminal", we'd second that.

--Howard Dean hopes to resolve labor issues plaguing Denver's DNC (video):
Howard Dean says he expects controversy, but he believes that problems with unions, protestors and politics will be resolved before the 2008 Democratic National Convention is held in Denver.
. . .
In an interview with 9NEWS, Dean downplayed concern about the Pepsi Center being a non-union facility, which has been an issue with the labor community.

"There's going to be a little clash here and there, but at the end of the day, we expect the labor movement will get along very well with what's going on in Colorado," said Dean.
. . .
Dean is coming to Denver on Thursday for a rally and to start working out some of the labor problems.
Dean also believes that Colorado is fertile ground for Democratic expansion, based on the inroads the party has made in recent elections:
Both Democrats and Republicans say they are looking forward to the convention in Denver. The Democrats see it as an opportunity to win western states in the presidential race, while the Republicans say it is an opportunity to showcase their differences.

"We can win in the west, but we need to be out here," said Howard Dean, former governor of Vermont and current DNC chairman. "The way you spread ideas and have people get to know you, is to show up in town."
. . .
Western states have been moving toward Democratic candidates recently. Democrats currently occupy governorships from Canada to Mexico, including Colorado Governor Bill Ritter. Dean says it's a sign that the traditionally Republican West is no more.

"One of the biggest mistakes Republicans have made is they've written off people who disagree with them. We won't do that," he said.

Dick Wadhams runs the Colorado Republican Party and welcomes the convention. He says Colorado will clearly be able to see the differences in candidates come November 2008.

"The fact is a very liberal national political party, the Democratic Party, is coming to Denver, Colorado next summer," said Wadhams.

Dean says the differences between the East Coast Democrats and the Western Democrats is exaggerated, and the varying opinions of members show the party's diversity.
--"Business oversight" or excessive governmental regulation?

--12 suspected illegal immigrants stopped in van near Utah border

--(via Republican Princess)--go to google, select maps, select get directions, enter new york, new york and paris, france--then read #23 in the list of directions


Blogs For Borders Video Blogburst 04/10/07

Freedom Folks has this week's edition of the Blogs For Borders Video Blogburst.



Have a week and some brain cells to waste? (via Drunkablog):
Wednesday April 11, 12:00 p.m.

Join Students and Faculty for Academic Freedom at the UMC Fountain, University of Colorado at Boulder, to march on the regents, demanding the CU administration stop its political witchhunt.

Thursday April 12, 7:00 p.m.

Ward Churchill Must Not Be Silenced: Critique of CU’s “Investigative Report”


* Eric Cheyfitz, professor of American Indian Studies, Cornell Univ.
* Michael Yellow Bird (Hidatsa/Arikara), professor of Indigenous Nations Studies, Univ. of Kansas
* Emma Perez, professor of Ethnic Studies, Univ. of Colorado-Boulder

Saturday April 28, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
(lunch will be served)

National Emergency Forum to Protect Dissent and Critical Thinking: Why Ward Churchill Must Not Be Fired


* Derrick Bell, law professor, New York Univ.; prolific author and founder of critical race theory
* Jennifer Harbury (invited), attorney, author of Truth, Torture and the American Way
* Alan Jones, professor & associate dean, Pitzer College
* Chris Mato Nunpa (Dakota), professor of Indigenous Studies, SW Minnesota State Univ.
* Dean Saitta, “dangerous” professor of Anthropology, Univ. of Denver

. . . and other scholars and activists . . .
More on Thursday's colloquium defending Churchill here.

Churchill devotees published the following "open letter" in the April 12 edition of The New York Review of Books:
The militarist reflex to rely on the war option for post-9/11 security is daily proving itself disastrously dysfunctional, and as its failures become more manifest, those American leaders responsible reaffirm their extremism, relying on a brew of fear, demonization, and global ambition to pacify a nervous, poorly informed, and confused citizenry at home. And where there are expressions of significant, principled opposition, the impulse of the rulers is often repressive. In such a setting it is hardly surprising that academic freedom is menaced, but not less troubling.

The relentless pursuit of and punitive approach of the University of Colorado at Boulder to Professor Ward Churchill is a revealing instance of the ethos that is currently threatening academic freedom. The voice of the university and intellectual community needs to be heard strongly and unequivocally in defense of dissent and critical thinking. And one concrete expression of such a resolve is to oppose the recommended dismissal of Ward Churchill from his position as a senior tenured faculty member. Faculty across the country are encouraged to circulate this letter among colleagues; send letters of protest and concern to the new Chancellor (Bud Peterson, Bud.Peterson@colorado.edu) and President (Hank Brown, Officeofthepresident@cu.edu), as well as to the Privilege & Tenure (P&T) Committee (Weldon Lodwick, Chair of the P&T Committee, Weldon.lodwick@cudenver.edu; and in general publicize and mobilize within and beyond the academy in opposition to the attempted dismissal of Churchill.
You can bore yourself to death enjoy the full text of the letter here.

The usual gang of leftist idiots and terrorist sympathizers signed the petition:
DERRICK BELL, Visiting Professor of Law, New York University School of Law
NOAM CHOMSKY, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
JUAN COLE, University of Michigan
DRUCILLA CORNELL, Rutgers University
RICHARD DELGADO, University Distinguished Professor of Law, and Derrick Bell Fellow,University of Pittsburgh
RICHARD FALK, Milbank Professor of International Law Emeritus, Princeton University Visiting Distinguished Professor (since 2002), Global Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara
IRENE GENDZIER, Boston University
RASHID KHALIDI, Edward Said Professor of Arab Studies;
Director – Middle East Institute; Columbia University
MAHMOOD MAMDANI, Herbert Lehman Professor of Government and Anthropology, Columbia University
IMMANUEL WALLERSTEIN, Senior Research Scholar, Department of Sociology,Yale University
HOWARD ZINN, professor emeritus, Boston University
(Affiliations for identification only)
With backing like that, how can Churchill be wrong?