November 30, 2007

Hybrid Vehicle Survey

**Update--thank you to those who have taken the survey so far . . . still need a few more respondents. This post will remain on top through Friday . . .

Once again, the educational activities of yours truly demand the participation of the dedicated readers of this blog to participate in a voluntary survey for my Marketing Research class. The subject is hybrid vehicles:
November 17, 2007

Hello,

The growing concern over the effects of global warming have led car manufacturers to research and develop alternative fuel vehicles, including hybrid automobiles combining an on-board rechargeable energy storage system (RESS) and a fueled power source (internal combustion engine) for vehicle propulsion. Though these vehicles have proven effective at providing greater fuel economy than conventional gasoline powered vehicles, the promise of reduced emissions and a greatly diminished impact on the environment as a driving force for purchasing these new product offerings has not been clearly measured or defined.

This survey is part of a Marketing Research project conducted by a group of graduate students of the University of Colorado at Denver and Health Science Center. Your participation as one of a small number of people selected to offer their opinion on these matters will ensure that the results more truly represent the thinking of automobile consumers. It is important that we achieve a sample response that is divers in order to most precisely reflect overall consumer attitudes. It is also important that we have approximately the same amount of male and female respondents. For this, your response is very important. Please note however that we require that respondents must also be at least 18 years of age.

Your participation is greatly appreciated, and entirely voluntary. Surveys are anonymous and you can be assured of complete confidentiality. Your responses will be used only for aggregate analysis and will not be identified as an individual response. No personal contact information will be shared with any outside parties, nor will it will not be sold or made available to any commercial entity. You may receive a summary of the survey results by requesting a copy with your submitted survey response. Please do not include contact information or request for survey results on the survey itself.

We would be most happy to answer any questions you might have. Please email us at ccogdill@wdemail.com, tabascoii@gmail.com, or chocolat0506@hotmail.com.

Thank you for your assistance.
Click Here to take survey

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November 28, 2007

Fort Collins Holiday Display Resolution Still Lacking

The Fort Collins menorah/Christmas tree/holiday lights saga is still unresolved, according to one Fort Collins Councilman:
Though a Fort Collins City Council vote last week ended a months-long discussion regarding holiday decorations on city property, one councilman said the initial question of menorah placement still has not been answered.

Councilman Wade Troxell circulated an e-mail to other council members and staff saying the city had not satisfied the need for an inclusionary city square open for free religious expression and that it should scrap parts of the plan the council adopted 6-1.

Troxell said the council needed to work with Rabbi Yerachmiel Gorelik — whose denied request to place a menorah marking Hanukkah on city property two years ago sparked the debate — to integrate a menorah with the traditional Christmas display.

Troxell cast the lone dissenting vote Nov. 20 to the proposal that maintained traditional, secular Christmas symbols such as decorated trees and colored lights on city buildings. It also created a display for next year on the Fort Collins Museum property that could have religious symbols such as the menorah.

"The museum display isn't inclusionary at all. It's a perversion of inclusion," he said. "It will be developed by city workers, which isn't an expression of faith. It's an interpretation."
As with any bureaucratic/governmental solution, the results are often incomplete, inadequate, and dissatisfying. The requested menorah that sparked this unnecessary controversy is still at issue--and was the primary reason for this councilman's no vote.

Previous coverage of the Fort Collins holiday display "task force" debacle here.

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Boulder Moonbats Removed From John Ashcroft Speech At CU

Whether you like John Ashcroft or despise his very soul, the continued reprehensible behavior displayed by moonbats of every stripe to any conservative/GOP speaker at any place of higher education is getting old:
Several protesters had to be forcibly removed from the audience at a speech given by former Attorney General John Ashcroft at the University of Colorado at Boulder Tuesday night.

The organizers of the event called in extra security from the Boulder Police Department at the last minute after hearing rumors about the protests, said Jessica Forthofer, chair of CU's Cultural Events Board, which was responsible for the speech.

"We thought that the conservative viewpoint isn't very espoused on the CU campus, and that's why we wanted John Ashcroft," Forthofer said, but she added that the board's guest speakers, who have included Rev. Al Sharpton and Charlton Heston, had never received such a heated reception.

About 20 student protesters from CU and Naropa University, wearing shirts with "shame" written on the backs and wearing American flags over their faces, welcomed Ashcroft to the stage by standing up and turning their backs to him.


But the small group of silent protesters from the Students for Peace and Justice were overshadowed by several other unidentified demonstrators who rushed the stage to confront Ashcroft repeatedly during his speech and the question-answer portion.

"I have a question," yelled one woman who was removed several times but kept finding a way back into the auditorium. "What medication are you on that you could violate our rights with such a clear conscience because I'd really like to get some."
Perhaps if she took her medication, she would realize that this sort of buffoonery does not really constitute the type of manufactured "dissent" that is able to persuade anyone outside the tinfoil-hat, moonbat camp.

Har har, medication joke. How original!
"The way we defend our country is to prosecute, but the threat of prosecution is empty to those who would willingly extinguish themselves to harm us," Ashcroft said. "Prosecution is the re-creation of the past. My directive from the president was to prevent, so we changed the way we did things."

Ashcroft remained calm while the crowd booed him loudly several times during his speech, including when he said Guantanamo Bay was a "good place" for detainees and that he was proud of the United States government and its self-policing of Abu Ghraib, but he lost his composure when a man in the audience called him a liar.

"For those of you who have nothing to learn," Ashcroft asked. "Why did you come tonight?"
To act like fools--what, did you go to college to get stupid? To assuage their guilt, worship at the altar of diversity, and repeat their claims of oppression:
Jessica Evans, a Naropa student and one of the masked protesters, said the angry outbursts from the audience was evidence that the Bush administration did not give enough voice to the concerns of the public.

"What I saw out there was very real anger," Evans said. "Unfortunately the message gets lost when the voice of a heckler is the only voice of dissent heard."
Whereupon the BushCo jackbooted thugs . . . nope, no oppression here. Just removal for disrupting an event.

Anger does not count as a rational voice of dissent. Moonbats feel that there is real oppression here, that conservatives and Republicans squelch dissent. The message gets lost, not because of any concerted effort to silence opposition, but because those voicing such angry, often deranged diatribes tend not to make much rational sense.

Unless you are on some sort of moonbat/hippie medication, that is.

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November 27, 2007

Denver Diversity Training Video--"Hammer The White Guy"

**Update 2--The city pulls the offending video, CBS4 has the full 8 minute video; the city responds:
Denver has decided to shelve a diversity-training video that portrays a white man as the sole bigot among a cast of blacks, Hispanics and women.

The decision to pull the video, titled Laughing Matters — Think About It, comes after Dennis Supple, a white man who works for the city, complained that it was racist and violated his civil rights.

The video has generated intense media interest from local and national outlets, including CNN, The Washington Times and the Greg Knapp Experience, a nationally broadcast radio program.

"We have clearly struck a nerve," Kathy Maloney, spokeswoman for the Career Service Authority, said today in a news release.

"We want to use this revived attention and passion from our employees to open dialogue with the result being the best end product possible," she said. "We will suspend the use of the video until we can facilitate this collaboration at an upcoming summit."
**Update--Michelle Malkin links (thanks!) and has a snippet of the offending video

"Diversity, to me, doesn't mean hammer the white guy . . . Diversity means you have respect for everyone, regardless of their race, their gender, their religion, their sexual orientation"--Dennis Supple, city of Denver employee

Diversity training in the workplace requires the implementation of awkward, cheesy indoctrination materials, and a convenient bigoted bogeyman to demonstrate the inherent/institutional -isms that diversity/multiculturalism seeks to eliminate. Luckily for Denver and its training video, they have found the perfect bad guy--you guessed it, a white male:
The city of Denver is showing its employees a diversity training video that portrays a white man as a narrow-minded buffoon - triggering allegations of "institutional racism" against Anglos.

"Right now, their diversity program is racially motivated against white males," said Dennis Supple, a heating, ventilating and air-conditioning mechanic who has worked for the city 1 1/2 years.

The video, titled Laughing Matters - Think About It, is meant to show employees how humor at the expense of others diminishes respect in the workplace. The character who breaks all the rules is Billy, a white, blue-collar worker who's a racist, sexist goofball.

In one scene, Billy is told that another employee named Carlos can't do anything because he's waiting for supplies.

"What's his problem?" Billy says. "He can't sell breakfast burritos without the supplies or he takes a siesta?"

Supple said the video violates his civil rights and that he's considering taking the equity in his house to file a lawsuit to stop the city from showing it.

"Diversity, to me, doesn't mean hammer the white guy," Supple said. "Diversity means you have respect for everyone, regardless of their race, their gender, their religion, their sexual orientation."
The educatee has become the educator in this case, reminding the bureaucratic diversity-mongers that at best, having respect is the basis for a stable, non-discriminatory work environment. Sometimes, however, the diversity-trainers get carried away and have to fall back on excuses:
Kathy Maloney, spokeswoman for the Career Service Authority, said the video is part of a one- to three-hour facilitated discussion.

"The video itself is scheduled for updating in either 2008 or 2009, so (Supple's) input would certainly be taken into consideration for the next video," she said.

Maloney noted the last thing to appear on the 8-minute video is this phrase: "Remember, Billy could be anyone."

She also said the teaching guide tells facilitators to "ensure participants recognize this video does not highlight or target any particular individual or group."

"It's meant to represent anyone who could (use) inappropriate humor in the workplace," she said.
This would be true except that in most cases, only the majority's jokes are abolished or cause for concern. Jokes or educational points, made at the expense of the white male in the room, are acceptable or even encouraged, as a way for trainers to indoctrinate facilitate discussion:
"If you portrayed a black woman (or a Hispanic or a homosexual) in that manner, there'd be hell to pay," Supple said. "But it's OK for them to portray a white man in this manner because you put down one little (disclaimer) at the end of the (video) that says, 'Remember, anybody could be Billy.' That's a bunch of bull."

The video, developed by the city's Diversity Advisory Committee in collaboration with Channel 8, the city's television channel, won second place in 2005 for Instruction/Training from the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors.
Don't even want to know what the winning video looked like . . .

**Update--Drunkablog was, of course, on top of this story last week linking to an earlier version of the same story

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Blogs For Border Video Blogburst 112607

Freedom Folks has this week's edition.

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November 21, 2007

Odds Ends 112107

Laying around in the queue for the past few days:

Appeals Court Asked To Overturn Smoking Ban

CU scraps joint journalism school in Pakistan

University of Colorado's personnel checks get more stringent


Pope to purge the Vatican of modern music

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November 20, 2007

Fort Collins Chooses Hybrid Holiday Policy

Audio of the "holiday display task force presentation", Mayor Doug Hutchinson's ground rules and clarifications, and citizen comments:

video

An immigrant from the UK describes the nefarious encroachment of socialism/multiculturalism and explains that the "celebration of diversity" really means more restrictions and less inclusiveness:

video

Rabbi Yerachmiel Gorelik explains his original request to display a Menorah that touched off the controversy, first when his request was denied twice, and then with the formation of the "holiday task force":

video


Still legal in Fort Collins--at least this year


Citizens of Fort Collins prepare to weigh in on the "holiday task force" recommendations

Avoiding another battle in the "war on Christmas", the Fort Collins City Council ultimately decided on adopting the third, hybrid option recommended by the "holiday display task force"--keep traditions by retaining current policy, while adding a new multiholiday exhibit at the Fort Collins museum:
All holidays are welcomed and celebrated in Fort Collins. City Council voted, 6-1, to adopt a Holiday Display Policy that honors current Christmas traditions and adds a new multicultural display at the Fort Collins Museum.

Council chose to adopt a hybrid plan which incorporates elements of both the existing Holiday Display Policy and a portion of the Holiday Display Task Force recommendations.

Consistent with existing policy, interior and exterior of City buildings may include traditional displays of trees, adorned greenery, wreaths, and other secular symbols or messages. Both white and colored lights are acceptable.

Based on recommendations from the Holiday Display Task Force, a multi-cultural educational exhibit will be placed on the grounds of the Fort Collins Museum. Both secular and religious celebrations and traditions will be included.
This decision, however, does not remove the responsibility the City Council bears for having put itself in such an awkward, attention gathering situation. It failed for two years to approve a request to add a Menorah, at no cost, to its existing display. It also punted the political football created by the controversy by overreacting and appointing a bureaucratic nightmare of a task force whose composition--widely derided by the citizens of Fort Collins--seemed to be predisposed to providing a multicultural mess of a recommendation that became media fodder overnight and drew even more negative publicity for the city.

The hybrid option did not please some task force members including, unsurprisingly, the lone ACLU member:
Some members of the citizen Holiday Display Task Force committee said Monday they are unhappy with changes city staff made to a holiday display policy coming before the City Council for a vote Tuesday night.

The task force, which met weekly for more than two months, made recommendations to ban colored lights and wreaths from the exterior of city buildings but to allow building managers' discretion in determining what adorns building interiors - including flexibility for religious displays.

The "hybrid policy," mashed together with parts of the task force recommendation and input from individual council members and the public, would allow for colored lights and Christmas tree displays on city building exteriors, including Oak Street Plaza, but limits what can be placed inside city buildings to items secular in nature unless part of an educational piece of artwork.

"My primary concern is that the (hybrid) recommendation includes aspects that were neither in the original policy nor the task force recommendation," task force spokesman Seth Anthony said. "I am concerned that some of the things were not thought all the way through and carefully (vetted) like the task force recommendations were."

City manager Darin Atteberry disagreed, saying the city has a long-standing policy and tradition of using citizen group input along with other factors when preparing policy for council debate and vote.

"That is why they are called advisory groups," Atteberry said, adding these types of decisions are always left to the city's elected officials.

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Citizens Voice Strong Opposition To Holiday Task Force Recommendations

Complete audio of the citizens' open mic session will be posted later tonight.

Impressions:
--speakers criticize "holiday task force" composition as not
representative of Fort Collins population

--implore city council to be inclusive, not excluding the traditions
that have made this country great while at the same time not excluding
minority participation, including Menorahs and other religious symbols
appropriate for the season

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Task Force "Reasoning"

From the agenda--because Fort Collins is now a "dynamic, culturally
diverse community", Christmas should be relegated to the city museum,
as the "common theme" of light replaces those obnoxious and highly
offensive Christmas trees and red and green lights!

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Liveblogging Fort Collins City Council Vote

Well, trying at least, from the Fort Collins City Council chamber via
the new Slapstick Politics BlackBerry.

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November 19, 2007

Blogs For Borders Video Blogburst 111907

This week's edition courtesy of Freedom Folks.

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Fort Collins Holiday Display Flap Set For Vote; Mayor Opposes Recommendation, Sheriff Plans Christmas Tree Protest

"Fort Collins is becoming more like the imbecilic borough of Boulder than many would like to admit, where social agendas substitute for common sense"--Larimer County Sheriff Jim Alderden

Council member Diggs Brown said he agrees with the mayor, says he'll vote against the task force recommendation because he doesn't want to be the "grinch" that ruins Christmas for Fort Collins' children (video):
"I will ask City Council to reject any recommendations that diminish Christmas in Fort Collins, especially our traditional display of Christmas trees, colored lights and other traditional secular symbols," Mayor Doug Hutchinson wrote in an opinion piece in Wednesday's The Coloradoan.
Larimer County Sheriff Jim Alderden is taking a different tack--inviting the public to help him decorate a Christmas tree in protest, complete with red and green lights:
Decrying people he says are taking the "Christ out of Christmas," Larimer County Sheriff Jim Alderden is inviting the public to help decorate a Christmas tree on his office lawn, and seeking donations to ensure no tax dollars are spent on it.

"Most of the members of the Larimer County Sheriff's Office are Christians and celebrate Christmas. We pray for the continued safety of our brothers and sisters in blue, and recognize that the laws we are sworn to uphold have their very foundation in the laws laid down by God through Moses," Alderden said in his Bull's-eye newsletter. "Our criminal codes are based on Judaic Christian doctrine. To deny that by restricting symbols of Christian faith on public property is beyond the pale."

Alderden devoted his most recent newsletter to the ongoing controversy over the city's holiday light display task force's recommendation that religious symbols be limited in public places. The City Council will discuss the recommendations at Tuesday's meeting.

Because the sheriff's tree will be on county-owned property, it's not subject to the task force's recommendations.
. . .
"There's such a thing as religious tolerance, but you can be tolerant without excluding the majority, and that seems to be the road we're heading down," Alderden said. "We respect people of other faiths and religions. We respect other people's right to have their opinions, but don't ask Christians to hide their faith."
For moonbats, tolerance swings only in one direction. Everyone must accommodate the minority, while the majority must remain silent and traditions are removed to placate the delicate sensibilities of the "offended"--whether real or imagined. This is the ultimate result of nanny-statism and multi-culturalism, and RMN editor Vincent Carroll details what awaits down the slippery slope:
We used to debate whether religious symbols were appropriate — or even legal — on public property at Christmas time. Now we apparently must debate whether anything that makes someone think of Christmas should be displayed.

A city appointed task force in Fort Collins has concluded that the answer is no. Even objects that have no more religious significance than a fat elf with a long white beard might jeopardize the civic goal of ensuring that all citizens “feel valued, welcomed and included.” As a result, for example, the task force would allow no colored lights on city buildings or in common areas inside. And no ornaments. It would even mandate that any “garlands of greenery” be “unadorned.”

Mustn’t let a ribbon give the public the wrong idea.

Apparently the worry is that someone who doesn’t celebrate Dec. 25 might notice a red ribbon and think, “Aha! They’re pushing Christmas.” The next thing you know, the poor fellow will be seeking advice from a therapist on how to cope. What kind of “inclusive” city would willingly subject its citizens to such traumatic ordeals? Better to limit displays to white lights, icicles, snowflakes, snowmen, penguins, polar bears, and skis (all declared harmless by the task force) rather than flirt with the harrowing possibility that a string of colored lights might trigger a bout of depression in a sensitive passerby.
. . .
Officials who decide to scrub one holiday from the calendar in the name of a uniting “all city residents and visitors in the spirit of community celebration” may soon discover their work is more complicated than they thought.
Previous coverage of the Fort Collins "holiday task force".

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November 18, 2007

DNC Forces Auraria To Cancel Classes Next August

So much for summer break:
During the week of the convention, there will be no classes, but the campus will remain open with all classroom buildings closed.
. . .
Campus officials said the schedule change is being prompted by the expectation of huge crowds and traffic interruptions during the convention.

Several parking lots on campus will also be closed during the convention. The Auraria Parkway will be available to the convention for VIP parking.
. . .
The Secret Service told the Auraria Campus the area is part of a so-called "soft zone" which means it presents a security concern. It wasn't clear how or if the campus would be used by security forces.
One could make a crack about the Democrats not caring about education, but this decision seems like the rational if not the desirable solution to next year's impending chaos surrounding the Pepsi Center.

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Columbus Day Protestors Allege Excessive Force By Police

Moonbat Columbus Day protestors, after resisting arrest, now allege that Denver police are guilty of using "excessive force" to remove them from the street as they blocked the parade route:
A police watchdog group released video Friday they said shows Denver police using excessive force.

CopWatch said they had six cameras at the Columbus Day Parade protests, where demonstrators who staged a mid-street sit-in were hauled off by Denver police.

Cameras from 7NEWS were there as well and showed some protesters apparently resisting arrest.

However, Stephen Nash, a CopWatch spokesman, said after the protesters were removed from the sit-in, officers used pain-compliance holds on people who were already in police custody and on some who weren’t resisting.

He said non-violent protestors did not deserve that level of force and that officers could have used other non-violent techniques or handcuffs to make the arrests.

"Police have been using pain holds more and more in demonstrations across the country to kind of expand what they're allowed to do," said Nash.

CopWatch said it plans to show the video to the ACLU and other legal groups to determine if they have a human rights case against the police department.
These allegations were probably prefabricated before the parade even took place--any arrest or attempt to engage the "peaceful" protestors would be met with just such allegations.

Take a look at the photos and videos from the Columbus Day parade, and make the call. Lots of resistance, not much force.

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November 14, 2007

Boulder Eliminates Class Ranking And Valedictorian System--Competition "Unhealthy, Unfair"

"Helen: Everyone's special, Dash.
Dash: [muttering] Which is another way of saying no one is."--The Incredibles

"We have a responsibility and a goal of educating the whole child and not just coming up with this race for tenths of a percentage," said school board President Helayne Jones. "High school is supposed to be a time to try things out."

Getting rid of class rank, district officials said, should reduce the unhealthy competition for a high rank. And, without class rank, the valedictorian committee generally agreed that it no longer makes sense to continue the valedictorian system"--Boulder, 2007


Eliminating excellence is but one method employed by moonbats to bring everyone down to their level--and it is no surprise it is beginning in Boulder:
The race for valedictorian will end, starting with the class of 2010.

A Boulder Valley School District committee studying the issue agreed to mirror colleges by recognizing groups of high-achieving seniors with summa, magna and cum laude honors instead of crowning a single valedictorian.

The change comes as a result of a previous Boulder Valley decision to no longer calculate class rank.

"This honors more kids for academic achievement," said Fairview High School Principal Don Stensrud, who co-chaired the committee. "It gives kids something to strive for."
. . .
"We have a responsibility and a goal of educating the whole child and not just coming up with this race for tenths of a percentage," said school board President Helayne Jones. "High school is supposed to be a time to try things out."

Getting rid of class rank, district officials said, should reduce the unhealthy competition for a high rank. And, without class rank, the valedictorian committee generally agreed that it no longer makes sense to continue the valedictorian system.

Under the new system, the committee recommends that about the top 3 percent of students at each high school earn summa cum laude honors, 7 percent magna cum laude and 10 percent cum laude — with about 20 percent of each year's graduating class honored altogether.
In the movie The Incredibles, Helen (Elastigirl) and her son Dash disagree over the pursuit of excellence, and competition:
Helen: Dash... this is the third time this year you've been sent to the office. We need to find a better outlet. A more... constructive outlet.
Dash: Maybe I could, if you'd let me go out for sports.
Helen: Honey, you know why we can't do that.
Dash: But I promise I'll slow up. I'll only be the best by a tiny bit.
Dash: Dashiell Robert Parr, you are an incredibly competitive boy, and a bit of a show-off. The last thing you need is temptation.
Dash: You always say 'Do your best', but you don't really mean it. Why can't I do the best that I can do?
Helen: Right now, honey, the world just wants us to fit in, and to fit in, we gotta be like everyone else.
Dash: But Dad always said our powers were nothing to be ashamed of, our powers made us special.
Helen: Everyone's special, Dash.
Dash: [muttering] Which is another way of saying no one is.
State GOP lawmakers agree--competition is better for the students (especially in light of what happens in the real world):
"The action in Boulder not only is a swipe at competition, which makes our economy go 'round, but also at academic excellence," said Sen. Josh Penry, R- Fruita, who is sponsoring the graduation-standards proposal with the GOP's Rep. Rob Witwer, of Genessee.

"It sends out a message to students across Colorado that academic performance doesn't matter all that much," Penry said. "That is precisely the opposite of what we should be telling our kids so they can compete in the 21st century economy."

"The gold medal winner in the hundred meters race at the Olympics is usually only a few hundreths of a second faster than the silver medal winner, and the silver medal winner is probably only a few hundreths of a second faster than the runner who wins the bronze," Penry said. "By the reasoning in I'm hearing out of Boulder, we should melt down all three medals and make one award to all the top finishers. That gets our kids nowhere."
. . .
Added Penry, "China and India are raising their standards while Boulder is dumbing down."

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Global Warming Campus Teach-In At CU

**Update--cufocusthenation.com has gone live:
Why we need a teach-in

The CU Environmental Center knows the challenge of getting students to pay attention to and be motivated by climate change. From surveys we know many students are under-educated or misinformed on the causes and wide-ranging implications of climate change that will invariably impact their professional and personal lives.

We stand at a unique moment in human history. Decisions that are ours to make today – to stabilize climate change pollution and invest in clean energy solutions – will have a profound impact on every human being. We owe our young people one day of focused discussion on climate change solutions for America.

More than just one day, Focus the Nation is an unprecedented educational initiative, to-date involving over a thousand colleges, universities, high schools, middle schools, faith groups, civic organizations and businesses.

Focus the Nation is a catalyzing force shifting the national conversation about climate change towards a determination to face this challenge.

"At CU, we will be organizing a "teach-in" on that date, meaning that no student, faculty, or staff member should be able to go through campus without encountering the topic of climate change."



Hoping to spread the indoctrination to schools across the nation on January 31, 2008 (from a CU email):
Fellow graduate students --

I am working with the Environmental Center on campus to promote Focus the Nation, a nationwide effort to designate one day (January 31, 2008) to discussing climate change and the relevant challenges that face us.

At CU, we will be organizing a "teach-in" on that date, meaning that no student, faculty, or staff member should be able to go through campus without encountering the topic of climate change. The primary way of meeting that goal is to have faculty members -- and TAs/graduate instructors -- incorporate the topic into their class activities. This is by no means limited to departments such as Environmental Studies or Atmospheric Chemistry; in fact, the idea is to get students who are not normally studying climate change to understand its relevance to all of our lives.

I've attached a flyer with more information. How can grad students help with this effort?

1. Commit to incorporating climate change into your recitation or class and register on http://www.cufocusthenation.com.

2. Help convince faculty to join in the effort and incorporate climate change into their courses.

3. Come up with ideas of how to teach/discuss climate change in your discipline.

4. Volunteer to help Focus the Nation's Graduate Student Outreach Committee (i.e., me)!

Please let me know if you have any questions or are looking for more ways to help.

Thanks,
Eric

--
Eric Gordon
Candidate for Master of Science
Environmental Studies Program
University of Colorado at Boulder
As far as I can tell, this is still in the germinal stage, with an update promised on November 15. It may be too late, however. The tipping point has already been reached (no, not that tipping point).

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November 13, 2007

Colorado Supreme Court Approves "Fertilized Egg" Petitions For Next Year's Ballot

"Shall there be an amendment to the Colorado constitution defining the term "person" to include any human being from the moment of fertilization as "person" is used in those provisions of the Colorado constitution relating to inalienable rights, equality of justice, and due process of law?"

Click here for a link to the CSC's decision, and a bit of background.

If the proposed ballot measure petition receives adequate support and goes before the voters in next year's election, expect not only the Senate race but also the Presidential campaigns to flog or assiduously avoid the issue (as is their wont) in what should be an already heated atmosphere, what with all the media attention the Democratic National Convention will bring to the state.

Proponents argue that the measure clarifies the defintion of a person, while opponents fear a back-door attempt to outlaw abortion. Let the harangues and ad hominem attacks begin:
The Colorado Supreme Court cleared the way Tuesday for an anti-abortion group to collect signatures for a ballot measure that would define a fertilized egg as a person.

The court approved the language of the proposal, rejecting a challenge from abortion-rights supporters who argued it was misleading and dealt with more than one subject in violation of the state constitution.

If approved by voters, the measure would give fertilized eggs the state constitutional protections of inalienable rights, justice and due process.

"Proponents of this initiative have publicly stated that the goal is to make all abortion illegal — but nothing in the language of the initiative or its title even mentions abortion," Kathryn Wittneben of NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado said in a statement. "If that’s not misleading, I don’t know what is."

Wittneben said a NARAL board member was one of six people who challenged the State Title Board’s July approval of the initiative’s language.

Proponents, led by 20-year-old Kristi Burton of Peyton, argue that the initiative would simply define a human.

"It’s very clearly a single subject," Burton said. "If it’s a human being, it’s a person, and hey, they deserve equal rights under our law."

Burton and her group, Colorado for Equal Rights, now must collect 76,000 signatures to get the measure on the ballot.
Leave it to the MSM to once again label the measure's supporters as "anti-abortion" (not "pro-life"), as opposed to the "abortion-rights" activists such as NARAL.

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NutRoots Camp!



My three words for this year's NutRoots' Camp--koolaid drinking moonbats!
Join us for another successful RootsCamp. RootsCamp is a progressive conference that's actually FUN: there's no preset schedule, everyone can (and should) participate, and you only discuss topics that are interesting to you. So, come and share your innovative ideas and wisdom.
Host orgs include--"ProgressNow, Democracy for Colorado, Drinking Liberally, NARAL, ACLU Colorado, The Bell Policy Center, Latina Initiative, White House Project, SEIU, and many other great groups."

Video from the previous camp in February--part I, part II.

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Around The Colorado Blogosphere 111307

For the most comprehensive coverage of the 2008 Senate race between Republican Bob Schaffer and Democrat Mark Udall--

For in-depth analysis and updates on "bag man" Bill Ritter's executive order on unions, visit Ben DeGrow.

Best Destiny has some more thoughts on Veterans' Day
:
So on this day in which cities and banks celebrate our Veterans, please take a moment to think not just of the 3800 who have died in Iraq, and all of those from WWII and Vietnam who we tend to think about so easily, but take a moment to consider the lesser-known heroes who have done some amazing hard work around the world that never get memorialized properly.

And thank all of them for their service.

If Denver can't get a small mail-in election in 2007 counted on time, what will happen next year when the Presidential election could once again hinge on a few dozen electoral votes, and the eyes of the nation have to wait for Denver's bumbling election officials to call on the SWAT team once again to count ballots?

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November 12, 2007

Blogs For Borders Video Blogburst 111207

This week's edition is up over at Freedom Folks.

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Modern War Memorials

They don't make 'em like they used to:
Much as the academics love this kind of talk and this kind of architecture, something in the public spirit reviles before it. We all die, so to offer voids to the memory of our heroes, and to list deaths without comment about what they did in life is an assertion of meaninglessness, of pointlessness. It is to say, "You sacrificed for others -- but that's not worthy of mention, because now you're just as dead as anyone else."

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November 08, 2007

Fort Collins' "Holiday Task Force" Recommendations Draw Community Ire


Displays like this could get the axe for being "too Christmas-y"

The inclusive, multicultural/diversity, and bureaucratic approach to the holidays taken up by Fort Collins has led to the ridiculous proposals put forth last week by the 17-member "holiday task force" designated to eliminate Christmas make the city's displays more "educational", drawing the ire of local residents:
"On the display you'll see symbols and recognition and descriptions of all the various traditions that are celebrated here in Fort Collins," said Seth Anthony, a spokesperson for the task force, which included representatives from a variety of secular and religious groups.

What appears to be attracting controversy is another recommendation that would not allow colored lights and other symbols associated with Christmas in other outside public areas.

"The council's intent was to be positive, be expansive, to be more inclusive. I'm not sure why we would want to restrict any aspect of what has been years and years of traditional holiday displays," said Fort Collins Mayor Doug Hutchinson, who has received angry calls from many people, some of whom claim the city is stealing Christmas.

However, those with the task force say its proposal is appropriate.

"We have to be careful that the displays that we have not endorse any particular religion. Putting things in a multicultural context, or an educational context really helps us be very safely on the good side of the First Amendment," said Anthony, who is an ACLU member.

That said, Anthony adds Christmas would not be absent from Fort Collins if the recommendations were to pass. He says they would not prohibit Christmas trees or decorations inside public buildings and businesses would still throw up all sorts of Christmas displays.
I'm sure they'll take care of those glaring omissions next year.

The flimsy reasoning continues:
Though the recommendation's language does not address Christmas trees by name, the consensus among task force members was that Christmas trees would not fall within its recommendations, said Seth Anthony, spokesman for the task force.

"Some symbols, even though the Supreme Court has declared that in many contexts they are secular symbols, often still send a message to some members of the community that they and their traditions are not values and not wanted. We don't want to send that message," Anthony said.

But the Fort Collins museum's display of white lights in trees on its grounds - including an evergreen tree lighted as part of the Downtown Business Association's Community Holiday Tree lighting and Carolfest, could continue under the new recommendation, he said.

The task force also will recommend that the Fort Collins Museum develop a multicultural display of religious and cultural symbols or objects associated with a variety of winter holidays such as Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and Diwali. Such a display could include such objects as a crèche with a star overhead, a menorah or a Kwanzaa kenora, to name a few.

The final decision for what is included in the display, which will likely be outdoors beginning in 2008, would rest with museum staff, Anthony said.

Because the Downtown Development Authority owns Old Town Square, any holiday display policies approved by council would not apply there.

"I expect criticism from people who feel like we are taking Christmas away. And I expect we will get criticism from people who think educational display endorses religions," Anthony said. "(But) to the extent we can, recognizing that offending no one will be impossible, we want to be inclusive."
For anti-Christmas moonbats, excluding Christmas trees = being more inclusive. Nuance. So is the inclusion of Anthony, the ACLU member. How many times were lawsuits mentioned before the rest of the task force finally conceded?

The negative feedback to the mayor of Fort Collins remains strong
:
Mayor Doug Hutchinson said he was pleased with the proposal that focused on the museum but had questions about other proposals that could limit decorations on the exterior of most city buildings.

Said Hutchinson: "I have had an ocean of input. People are saying that the issue is not religious. It's about a long-standing tradition. The basic intent (of the council) was not to destroy anything. When you do away with Christmas trees, when you are doing away with a tradition that people in Fort Collins hold dear; that is the nerve that was touched."
The holiday task force believes that a museum would provide the proper venue for the dangerous religious symbols:
The Fort Collins Museum would be the focal point of a multicultural winter holiday display under recommendations released Tuesday by a city task force.

In a 10-page document, the Holiday Display Task Force outlined a proposal for an educational, multicultural display outside the museum representing a variety of religious and nonreligious celebrations that take place between Nov. 1 and Jan. 30.

"What the task force tried to accomplish was to craft holiday displays to celebrate our commonality and also to recognize the diversity of winter holidays celebrated by members of the community and to create a festive atmosphere during the winter season," said Seth Anthony, one of the spokesmen for the task force.

Museum staff would design the display. The task force's document included illustrations of symbols as examples of what could be included in the display, including a crèche with a star above, a menorah, a Yule log and a snowflake, among others.
Committee approved "festive atmosphere" to be exact. And just so the religiosity doesn't get out of hand, they included "illustrations" of the permitted symbols. Apparently the Fort Collins Museum staff is either too stupid to know what should belong in a holiday display, or just simply can't be trusted to make their own decisions.

Perhaps another wing could be added to the museum showcasing rights and traditions once enjoyed by Americans before the onset of malignant moonbattery.

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Greeley Mayor Ousted After Swift Meatpacking Comments


Confrontation at last year's ICE raid of Greeley's Swift meatpacking plant

Anyone still doubtful about the effect that illegal immigration has on Colorado politics (particularly in damaging the GOP's electoral chances), or who believes that a "comprehensive" reform package will be more palatable than strong enforcement should take a look at the results of yesterday's mayoral election in Greeley:
Challenger Ed Clark ousted incumbent Mayor Tom Selders handily Tuesday night in an election overshadowed by issues of illegal immigration.

Clark, a school security guard and former Greeley police officer, bested Selders 7,288 votes to 5,015. Selders, a longtime fixture in city government and a two-term mayor, couldn't be reached for comment Tuesday night.

Selders earned the ire of many conservatives in Greeley for traveling to Washington, D.C., earlier this year to complain that raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents at Swift meatpacking plants were disruptive to families.

At least two outside groups targeted Selders for his stance, saying he was soft on illegal immigrants.

One group - Alliance for a Better Greeley - distributed a mailer showing a group characterized as gangsters flashing gang signs under text that read "Tom Selders is Good for Business."
Last year's raid at the Swift meatpacking plant has had repercussions throughout the Northern Colorado community, prompting Weld County DA Ken Buck's recent illegal immigrant crime forum.

The 61-39 drubbing reveals that a strong enforcement position is not only politically viable, but reflects bipartisan accord on one issue at a time when even intraparty fracture seems to be the rule. Just look at the move Democrats made in breaking with NY Governor Eliot Spitzer over his proposed move to grant driver's licenses to illegal immigrants.

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November 07, 2007

Denver Election 2007 Results



Get out your checkbooks!

Looks like all of the ballot measures--1A-1I--will pass, as will Question 100, on making marijuana the city's lowest law-enforcement priority.

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Coffman Makes Congressional Run Official

Republican Secretary of State Mike Coffman, a veteran with high name recognition, has made his rumored run for Rep. Tom Tancredo's seat official. The primary in Colorado's 6th Congressional District would now appear his to lose.

Though state GOP leaders and rank-and-file Republicans differ on whether his run is a net gain--a veteran and top-notch replacement for Tancredo--or a net loss of the SOS and election watchdog position to the Democrats, the truth is that Coffman represents one of a limited number of talented top-tier candidates left on the state's GOP bench for the foreseeable future.

A Coffman victory--and surrender of the SOS to the Democrats--should be measured in the intent of the candidate to stick with the seat come reelection, and not merely use the office as a springboard for a gubernatorial or Senate run in 2010. It is hard, however, to fault him for leaping at the opportunity to assume a safe Republican seat before the post-2010 redistricting.

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CU System To Be Smoke-free

Entirely smoke-free, indoors and outdoors! CU Regent Michael Carrigan is leading the charge to snuff out smoking freedom and personal responsibility throughout the entire CU system:
The University of Colorado could be the first college system in the state to go entirely smoke-free - inside and out - if CU Regent Michael Carrigan gets his way.

The measure, planned for introduction early next year after a survey on the issue goes out this week, would affect 75,000 people and would be the strictest smoke-free policy in the state.

The idea is to eventually ban smoking - and perhaps all tobacco - on nearly 2,000 acres of CU property. It would need the support of a majority of the school's nine-member governing board.

It would be the second multicampus university system in the country to make such a move.

"The university has an opportunity to be a leader in 21st-century health care, and I'm confident that 10 years from now, most campuses will have a smoking ban in effect," said Carrigan, who represents Denver.

About 25 percent of college- age students in Colorado smoke. That is higher than adults in the 25-34 age group, in which about 18 percent light up, according to a study by the Tobacco Program Evaluation Group among Colorado adults.

This week's survey will gauge the opinion of CU's 52,000 students, 20,000 staffers and 4,100 faculty members.

CU senior officials say they believe the response will be favorable toward the measure.

If so, Carrigan said he would bring the matter to his colleagues for vote next spring. It could take effect as soon as next fall.
CU's Regents have much better things to deal with than policing campuses and enforcing stifling bans on smoking. But that's ok, Carrigan has a method for dealing with student and faculty smokers:
Enforcement of the policy is still unclear, Carrigan said. He thinks peer pressure works best.

"The glowering looks from peers can be the most effective enforcement out there," he said.
Perhaps an informant system or some farcical show trials will also be used to enforce this--as one commenter put it--essentially "Maoist notion of control". Carrigan also claims to be working for the "rights of the majority" (video), but doesn't that conflict with CU's diversity mantra that not only encourages but enforces the views of even the tiniest minority?

Last time we checked it was that other vice of young and old--alcohol--that has consistently registered a more appalling record of hazard to the health of students, faculty and the community and no one, including us, has called for banning the consumption of alcohol.

Is smoking a nuisance? Sure, to the people who either don't smoke or the rabid ex-smokers who constantly remind everyone they know about the offensive nature of the habit. I don't smoke, though I do enjoy a cigar 3-4 times a year, usually for holidays and my birthday.

Author and Denver Post columnist David Harsanyi recently penned a book on what he calls the "Nanny State: How Food Fascists, Teetotaling Do-Gooders, Priggish Moralists, and other Boneheaded Bureaucrats are Turning America into a Nation of Children". In attempting to police the smoking habits of the state's largest campus system, Carrigan is telling the students (and faculty) that they can't be trusted to make their own decisions, and that it is the administration and the state's responsibility to regulate their lives and prevent them from using, outdoors, a legal and taxed product. So much for personal responsibility, let alone personal choice.

Allowing the moonbat mini-emperors and nanny statists to use the "non-smokers' veto" in any other situation--banning any legal act that one doesn't approve of--would be ridiculed for the assault on personal freedom that it represents at its core. If these people were intellectually coherent or honest, they would ban tobacco products altogether, rather than going about it peacemeal. But the regulatory moonbats enjoy control and the punitive taxes they place on tobacco consumption. Get the "nose in the tent" by banning smoking indoors, then in all public places, and now finally, outdoors as well at CU campuses.

It's not going to be long before the ban reaches state-wide. So much for those recent pro-marijuana initiatives (and CU's annual 4/20 potfest)--you won't be busted 'cuz its weed, but you will be for lighting up!

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Blogs For Borders Video Blogburst 110507

Back after a brief hiatus, Freedom Folks' Blogs for Borders video blogburst is back in action.

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November 06, 2007

Around The Colorado Blogosphere 110607

The Colorado Index asks rhetorically, "is environmentalism an established religion"? As Ben DeGrow points out, if Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter has his way, Al Gore's climate fearmongering dogma will be an explicit part of every Colorado school.

Best Destiny finds the Democrats' profession of faith . . . lacking.

On the other side of the political fence, Dave Chandler of Colorado Green lambastes Colorado "Dimocrats" for not impeaching Vice President Dick Cheney:
Here's the message of the day ...

"Dear George and Dick:

Permission granted to kill, maim, lie, cheat and steal.

Your friends, Charlie Schumer, Di Feinstein, Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer and the Rest of Your Dimocrat Pals in the House."

And you're still a register Dimocrat because ... why?

Ben DeGrow has posted a touching tribute to his grandfather, and it encapsulates for me as it probably does for so many of us in our late 20s or early 30s the type of grandfathers we were fortunate to have--"a man with a tremendous work ethic and incredible moral character".

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MLB GMs Consider Instant Replay

It probably won't go anywhere this off-season, but the General Managers are at least willing to take a look at using instant replay on those questionable calls that can make or break a season--think of either of the contested calls in the Colorado Rockies' tiebreaker game that sent them into the playoffs:
For the first time Tuesday, baseball general managers recommended instant replay be used to help umpires make close calls.

The recommendation, by a 25-5 vote, was limited to boundary calls -- whether potential home runs are fair or foul, whether balls go over fences or hit the top and bounce back, and whether fans interfere with possible homers.

Baseball commissioner Bud Selig opposes the use of replays but said last month he was willing to let GMs examine the issue.

"I don't like instant replay because I don't like all the delays. I think it sometimes creates as many problems or more than it solves," Selig said then.

But Jimmie Lee Solomon, an executive vice president in the commissioner's office, thinks Selig's stance has changed a bit recently.

"He seemed to be softer, at least on the consideration of the subject," Solomon said Tuesday.
There wouldn't be too many delays using these guidelines as the number of iffy calls is rather low. But at least having the ability to review plays, especially in playoff situations, should certainly be considered as part of the game in the 21st century.

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November 05, 2007

Calling All Colorado Blogs: Join BlogNetNews

As the new Colorado editor for BlogNetNews, it is my responsibility to actively recruit Colorado blogs not yet listed--from the left, right, and center. If you blog primarily on Colorado, including but not limited to politics, culture, or news of the day, you are eligible to join. To find out more about BlogNetNews, click here.

Click here to join--includes information on requirements and blog approval.

Though I am the "editor", I have absolutely no say in content, and will enforce none. My duties include approving new submissions, adding links, and removing old or abandoned blogs.

If your blog is already listed, but you know of one that isn't, don't hesitate to refer the blog. BlogNetNews' mission is to be Colorado's frontpage--to "find the best content fast".

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New Poll--Udall Leads Schaffer 48-41



A new poll conducted by SurveyUSA for Roll Call shows Democrat Rep. Mark Udall leading Republican and former Rep. Bob Schaffer 48-41 (h/t Schaffer v Udall).

Favorability ratings for Schaffer and Udall show that more than half of those surveyed remain neutral or unfamiliar with either candidate (51% for Udall, 72% for Schaffer). That is why it is difficult to discern much from the overall numbers, until the unfamiliars and neutrals begin to shrink:





Udall's favorability is higher than Schaffer's (30-12), but his unfavorables are also greater (19-15).

More SurveyUSA polls.

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November 02, 2007

Fort Collins' "Holiday Display Task Force" Deemphasizes Christmas, Favoring "Winter Symbols" And Diversity


This display is too "Christmas-y" and therefore offensive to Fort Collins' "holiday display task force"

Beginning with last year's controversy over a Menorah display, Fort Collins' holiday displays will be "festive" but decidedly less "Christmas-y" this year--a "secular winter celebration incorporating cultural and religious differences" (video). In order to avoid controversy and not offend anyone, Christmas elements will be deemphasized in favor of celebrating Fort Collins' "diversity"--blue and white lights instead of red and green.

Who is responsible for the recommendations? Why Fort Collins' own "holiday display task force"--17 "religious, cultural, and legal experts". Holiday-by-committee will render the already watered-down displays into meaningless "winter symbols" when they issue their recommendation to the city council in the coming weeks.

Stop The ACLU--Friday Free For All

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November 01, 2007

Around The Blogosphere 110107

Michael at Best Destiny catches the MSM playing loose with the facts on an illegal immigration story.

Ben at Mount Virtus riffs on the meaning of polls of GOP evangelicals this far away from the election.

Other stories:
From the good news in academia department (admittedly small, but every now and then they get one right)--CU system actively recruiting veterans, says perspective of students with military service unique and desired

State GOP lawmakers revealed their illegal immigration bills scheduled for the 2008 session

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Churchilliana Continued

All via Drunkablog, who has exhibited the patience of a saint and the tenacity of a pit bull in keeping up with Ward Churchill--

Guardian article indicates that Churchill-style plagiarism is merely the "tip of the iceberg" in academia.

And then in a demonstration of his fantastic ability to resist vomiting, he liveblogged Churchill's latest hagiographical interview, takes a look at Churchill's circle of friends and supporters, and Churchill's latest bid to infuse himself into a controversy--the upcoming 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics.

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