November 29, 2008

Signs Of The Season: Denver's Civic Center Lighting Ceremony

Brought the cameras and it started snowing, ever so lightly at first, and then proceeded to heavy, wet flakes that forced my Nikon back into it's bag, and out with the point-and-shoot.

We were wished Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, both appropriate and welcome for such an event. The featured acts heavily favored more religious carols--Silent Night, O Holy Night, Little Drummer Boy--and had a good mix of more secular songs as well.

Only criticism of the night--need a better sound system for a large public event such as this. I blame Mayor "Teflon" John Hickenlooper. And Barack Obama . . . where were his sound guys at?

The soft glow--courtesy of the first significant snowfall in Denver this season.

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, Peace on Earth, Happy 150 Years! (Denver)

And now for some fisheye:

I'm still fooling around with the fisheye lens, and had to put the camera away when the flakes really started to fly. Hopefully I can get back down to the Civic Center with a tripod and capture a good 180 shot from a closer range.

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November 28, 2008

Facebook: Killing Privacy and the English Language

By Julian Dunraven, J.D., M.P.A.

Honorable Friends,

This Thanksgiving, I had the pleasure of running into quite a few old friends I had not heard from in many years. Several complained to me that my email is too difficult to obtain because I was not on Facebook. It seems they did not even think to run a Google search of my name to find this blog and, apparently, it is now an incredible bother to have to ask a single other person for my contact information. Whatever. In response, I set up a very spartan Facebook entry, complete with an acerbic warning that I will only respond to emails, and will not tolerate any wretched page postings. In only a few days, though, it has been a horrifying experience.

Facebook is ghastly. I cannot believe how invasive it becomes. Did anyone else read the privacy policy? Horrid. It has taken far too long for me to slice off most of the more grasping tentacles, but I think I am content for a while now that my wall is forever fortified and my friend list is blinded. Good gods, though, I am being contacted by people I don't even know in person yet. Do they think this nonsense builds anything resembling a true relationship? They should not have access to all this information people put out there so blithely. It is dangerous! With almost no difficulty, I can chart a person's entire week just from the postings of their friends alone. It is a wretched business I say. Simply wretched.

One of my friends, laughing at my discomfort, reminded me that small towns often know everyone else’s business as well. Having come from a small town, though, I can say that small towns guard their privacy jealously. They also look out for one another, and censure the bad behavior of others through ostracism. None of that is present in Facebook. It is a gold mine of information that requires nothing in exchange. It worries me that our people, and especially the younger generations, have become so trusting that they are willing to give open access to their entire lives. Who needs domestic spying warrants when one has only to search through Facebook, MySpace, Friendster, or another such social networking sites? Perhaps more than its obliterating effect on privacy, though, I simply cannot tolerate how insipid it is.

"Oh it's so cool!" they tell me, "Look, I can throw a polar bear at you!" A polar bear, yet I was still in outraged shock over the foul idea of emoticons. Now I have to contend with flying polar bears. Perhaps they figure that if they create enough ridiculous gadgets, they will eliminate the need for any tone or meaning in writing altogether. May the gods save the English language. It is the greatest, most adaptable language in the world, yet our people and our incompetent educators are doing their utmost to mutilate it into the inarticulate grunting of savages.

Do you disagree? Just look at it. There are supposed 'friends' out there who post such scintillating updates as, "I am eating a bag of chips." When you find yourself unable to articulate a reply to these riveting observations, they toss a bloody polar bear at you. I tell you, this is nothing more than a technologically advanced version of an inanely screeching monkey chucking its own poo at its fellows.

No my honorable friends, I'll have none of it. Personal letters are dangerous enough, but at least they have substance. Phone calls are uncertain, but the connection is undeniable. Still, though, I prefer the now all but lost art of social calling: a visit in the parlor or garden over tea and scones while offering genteel conversation which does not simply make noise, but challenges and enlightens. Though the modern world has offered many improvements over my former life in the Victorian Era, Facebook is most assuredly not one of them. It provides a point of contact which can be easily found. That is all the credit I will give it.

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November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving 2008

**Update--And a big thank you to Randy at Night Twister for an awesome Thanksgiving roundup from Colorado bloggers.


First, from President George Washington:
. . . to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed;-- for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish Constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted;-- for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge;-- and, in general, for all the great and various favours which He has been pleased to confer upon us.
From Michelle Malkin on Thanksgiving Day in 2001 (courtesy of Joshua Sharf):
For "E Pluribus Unum" and "Semper Fidelis," for "God Bless America" and "In God We Trust," for "We the people" and "Of the people, by the people, for the people," for "Don't tread on me," for "Give me liberty or give me death," for "These are the times that try men's souls," for "the land of the free and the home of the brave," we give thee praise.
SP is thankful for the usual things (and the ones most likely to be taken for granted)--for a loving family; the pleasure and company and support of friends, old and new; for continued health; for employment; for the ability to communicate in such an instantaneous fashion--unparalleled in human history; for a country founded on the idea of liberty; for the endless opportunities given to us by God; and for many other things too substantial to enumerate with just a few words.


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November 25, 2008

RMA 2.0: Rocky Mtn Blogs Radio Show #2

**Update: Tuesday's lineup--Joshua, Ben, Randy, and yours truly--with special guest Michael Kerr of Red County. Stream the show live, or play/download the podcast at your convenience.

This Tuesday--November 25, 9pm.

The Blog Talk Radio version of the Rocky Mountain Alliance. A weekly chat about politics--national, state, and local.

Listen to Rocky Mtn Blogs on internet talk radio

I'll update co-host and guest info as it becomes available. Stay tuned . . .

Last Tuesday's inaugural show is now archived--if you missed the debut show, be sure to check out the archive page to stream or download the show.

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November 22, 2008

Don't Offend The One: Sharing $3 Obama Bill Earns Mayor More Negative Attention

The mayor of Greeley has some issues of his own, but sharing a satirical $3 Obama bill with students is apparently too much:
Greeley Mayor Ed Clark, a former police officer who also is the head of security at the University Schools charter school, said today that he has apologized to the family of a student that he showed the bill to.

"I apologized to the family," Clark said. "I think I'll leave it where it is."

Clark did say that he showed the bill to students in the school cafeteria Nov. 14 when one of them asked if had an extra dollar for lunch.

According to the Greeley Tribune, the fake $3 bill is emblazoned with an image of Obama wearing a Middle Eastern headdress Clark describes as a "prince's hat." He showed it to a girl, who then showed it to classmates.

He took the bill back from the student and has since discarded it, he said.

"It was political satire," Clark said Saturday. "I'm not going to talk about it. I've got to go. sir."
Clark's other actions are certainly more newsworthy than an ill-advised sharing of fake $3 bills.

In fact, it is not clear why this has become a story at all, other than the fact that President-elect Barack Obama is mentioned in relation to some funny money not dissimilar to other fake bills that have been circulating as far back as the Clinton years (I remember $3 Clinton bills in high school).

Will any perceived slight--critism, satire, parody--to the person of our President-elect and soon-to-be inaugurated President now be considered newsworthy, or more importantly, the subject of public scrutiny and even punishment?

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PETA Vegetarians Make "Run For The Border"--Update: Video Added

**Update--video from the Denver Post:

Missed this scene earlier today--free "Tofurkeys" distributed in Larimer Square in Downtown Denver:
Holding signs that read, "Don't Gobble Us--Go Vegetarian," two PETA members wearing turkey costumes will hand out free soy-based Tofurky roasts (generously donated by Turtle Island Foods) in Denver on Thursday. The action is part of the weary birds' multicity "Turkey Drive": To avoid ending up as someone's Thanksgiving dinner, the two feathered fugitives are heading for the border in the back of a chauffeured red convertible with a sign reading, "Mexico or Bust!" Their goal? To persuade as many people as possible to give birds a break this holiday by choosing a vegetarian meal.

Most of the 300 million turkeys who are killed in the U.S. every year--an astounding 40 million at Thanksgiving alone--endure debeaking and declawing without any pain relief. They are crammed by the tens of thousands into dark, stiflingly hot warehouses, where disease, smothering, and heart attacks are common. A recent PETA investigation at a turkey farm in West Virginia revealed that workers routinely kicked and punched animals and bludgeoned birds with metal pipes, pieces of wood, and other weapons. Workers were also caught intentionally breaking turkeys' necks and other bones and stomping on their heads.

"This Thanksgiving, we can all give turkeys something to be thankful for--by serving up delicious, healthy, and humane meatless feasts," says PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk. "Holidays should be about a celebration of life, not a tortured dead bird in the middle of the table."
Mmmm--can't wait for my mother's dead bird turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes next Thursday. Yet another thing I am grateful for each year.

Each year, the same PETA stunts, with the same results: Americans love to eat turkey, especially on Thanksgiving. Tofurkey just doesn't cut it.

Sidenote--isn't the "run for the border" theme insensitive to the illegal immigrants "undocumented workers" that the left so treasures?

On a (somewhat) related note (Thanksgiving, not PETA nonsense)--fellow blogger Ben DeGrow has compiled a thoughtful and extensive list of blessings to be thankful for in the post-election holiday season.

Previous PETA moonbattery in Colorado.

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November 21, 2008

Where Do We Go From Here? Conservatism 2.0 Conference

Michelle Malkin and Glenn Reynolds discuss the need for the GOP/conservatives/libertarians to continue to keep the "big tent" open and not circle the wagons and fire inward, as the right is often prone to do.

Second, a center-right new media/blogosphere convention in the style of a Kos-convention, without the moonbattery and tinfoil, of course. CPAC, held annually inside the beltway, would clearly not fit the bill.

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November 20, 2008

RMA 2.0: Rocky Mtn Blogs Radio Show

**Update 2: Tuesday's inaugural show is now archived--if you missed the debut show, be sure to check out the archive page to stream or download the show.

**Update: first show this Tuesday November 18, 9pm--confirmed guest Seeme Hasan, founder of Muslims for America.

The Blog Talk Radio version of the Rocky Mountain Alliance. A weekly chat about politics--national, state, and local.

Listen to Rocky Mtn Blogs on internet talk radio

I'll update co-host and guest info later in the week. Stay tuned . . .

The first show will feature the excellent bloggers Randy Ketner from Night Twister and Michael Alcorn from Best Destiny.

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November 19, 2008

Atheist Billboards Sprout Up Around Denver

SP covered the earlier background story on the atheist billboards here in Colorado and on the East Coast, and now the billboards have gone up--11 in all:
Eleven billboards in have gone up in metro Denver and Colorado Springs that question the existence of God.

The first one went up at E. Colfax Avenue and Quebec Street in Denver. It says, "Don't believe in God? You are not alone." The two lines sit against a blue sky backdrop.

The billboards cost $5,000 total and will be up until mid-December.

The group that started the campaign is called the Colorado Coalition of Reason or COCORE. COCORE said the billboards are not meant to offend Christians, but rather to create a more cohesive secular community of non-believers and free-thinkers.

"It simply reaches out to people who have no belief in God and are feeling isolated by the religious world around them," said Marvin Straus, co-founder of the Boulder Atheists.

"I've had feedback from people who thought it denigrated Christians. Totally untrue. It doesn't talk about Christians, or Muslims, or Hindus or any religion. It's specifically addressed to the non-believer."
Naturally, the billboards' comparatively bland statements have caused a furor, augmented by the proximity to many religious holidays that surround the four weeks that the billboards will be displayed.

Religious observers should be secure enough in their beliefs so that another's statement of non-belief presents no existential threat. The statement itself is rather benign--a shout out to fellow atheists, more or less. We'll take his word and be thankful that this country was founded on bedrock principles that include freedom of speech and expression.

But what would a Colorado November and December be without some sort of holiday controversy?

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November 18, 2008

Sen. Ken Salazar Facing Potential Primary Challenge?

Sen. Ken Salazar's probable 2010 campaign has enemies--from within the party.

One of the more principled and less vitriolic statements on Salazar's record at SquareState (debating whether Salazar is "liberal or conservative"):
I won't vote for Salazar at any stage in the 2010 elections. He might not have principles, but I do. Democrats' acceptance of Salazar's voting habits is putting the party before everything else.
That sounds familiar . . .

Will the Democrats actually manage to stage a primary battle against the incumbent, mounting a Netroots-style insurgency? Or will this simply be progressive overreach, as party hard-liners reject Salazar's "centrist" appeal for a more palatable candidate (to Dems and progressives) as a result of what they perceive as Colorado's shift from red to blue?

**Update--civil war in the lefty blogosphere erupts over Salazar

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November 17, 2008

Michelle Malkin Interview On The 2008 Election, New Media

Brad Jones at Face the State caught up with nationally syndicated columnist and blogger extraordinaire Michelle Malkin after last week's Independence Institute Founders Dinner.

In the first segment, Malkin discusses her move to Colorado, the MSM, blogging and the 2008 election.

Malkin concludes with some tips on how the blogosphere can improve, and the opportunities available with Democrats in control of executive and legislative branches at the state and federal levels.

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November 16, 2008

Blogger Bleg--WNBA Survey

It's that time of the year again--when school requirement override blogging duties. My group's Sports Marketing project centers on the potential introduction of a WNBA team in the Denver area.

The survey should take no more than a few minutes, is completely anonymous (names and email are not required or collected), is entirely voluntary, and available only to those 18 and older.

Your participation in this survey is greatly appreciated by yours truly.

Click Here to take our survey

The Denver professional sports market is unique in that very few other U.S. cities in comparable size support four major professional and four minor professional sports teams. We are interesting in learning more about additional market opportunities that might exist in the Denver professional sports market, including the potential market viability for a Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) team in Denver.

This survey is part of a Sports Marketing Research project conducted by a group of graduate students from the University of Colorado Denver. 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 professional sports consumers. It is important that we achieve a sample response that is diverse 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 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 happy to answer any questions you might have. Please email us at,, or Professor Lawrence Cunningham of the CU Denver Graduate School of Business is also available to answer any questions you may have (

Estimated survey time: 15-20 minutes.

Thank you for your assistance and consideration.


Stephanie Wilcox

Michael Sandoval

Mario Boschmann
Click Here to take survey



Liberty On The Rocks Denver

Liberty on the Rocks:
Haven't heard of Liberty on the Rocks yet? It is a group of liberty minded individuals who meet on the first and third Wednesdays of every month in downtown Denver. Hear what the madam President and the regulars have to say.

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November 15, 2008

Independence Institute Founders Dinner

A colorful layout awaited attendees at the annual Founders Dinner.

(l-r) Bob Ball, Joshua Sharf, Michelle Malkin, Ben DeGrow, Ross Kaminsky, El Presidente.

Michelle Malkin answers questions following her keynote speech.

Ben DeGrow, Mr. Bob, and Face the State have more photos, recaps, and reflections on the message of the evening--no retreat, no rebranding, no reflexive excommunication of the GOP/conservative/libertarian coalition.

Michelle Malkin graciously identified the Peoples Press Collective as one of the cyber-roots organizations coalescing around limited government, free markets, and liberty in general and promoting the message online.

Michelle joined Jon Caldara on his radio show to discuss the power of blogging and the new media.

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November 14, 2008

Burned Book Of Mormon Investigated As Bias-Motivated Crime In Colorado

Though it is quite clear that anti-Prop 8 activist have targeted Mormon temples in California--what Ed at Hot Air dubs "open season" on Mormons--including envelopes containing white powder, a burning copy of the Book of Mormon found outside a Littleton temple is now being investigated as a bias-motivated arson:
A fire outside a Littleton church is being investigated as a bias-motivated arson that may have stemmed from the church's position on a gay marriage amendment in California.

Arapahoe County sheriff's deputies responded to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints about 7 p.m. Tuesday after a church member found a burning copy of the Book of Mormon on a door step.

The caller who reported the fire told authorities that an LDS facilities manager indicated the incident may have been in retaliation for the church's stance on Proposition 8, passed in California last week.
Though speculation Wednesday was that the arson was in some way related to the furor over California's passage of Proposition 8 which banned same-sex marriage, the decision to move the investigation in the direction of bias-motivation comes just one day before Colorado groups join others across America in protest sets up a curious stage for advocates of same-sex marriage. Can victims of bias (what they allege) be guilty of bias themselves?

Civil Sense has some more observations on this form of counter-productive protesting.

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Golden: Yes To Santa, No To Menorah

"This is a chance for Golden to lead. I want to argue for diversity instead of neutrality. This should be a time to celebrate everything"--Ellene Duffy, Golden

Golden had the vote, and a requested Menorah is out (video):
Santa Claus will ride Golden's historic downtown arch again this holiday season, but an Evergreen rabbi will not be allowed to erect a menorah alongside a 30-foot spruce tree decorated with lights on city property.

The Golden City Council unanimously approved a resolution regarding holiday displays that was amended at the last minute to allow Santa to stay on the downtown arch because of its historical significance.

The ordinance prohibits holiday displays on city property of any religious symbols or symbols associated with a particular religious or cultural tradition.

City officials had amended the resolution to include Santa over concerns that he might be viewed as a religious symbol.

Rabbi Levi Brackman, who addressed council members Thursday night, said he was surprised at the exception in spite of an overwhelming show of support from citizens calling on the council to figure out a way to allow all kinds of religious displays during the Christmas season.

"I am stunned that council completely ignored the citizens here tonight," Brackman said.
It was Rabbi Brackman's request to include a Menorah in the city's holiday display that prompted Thursday's vote. Public sentiment against the ordinance and the city's own promise to study the issue next year means that like the holiday display controversy in Fort Collins, this subject won't be going away anytime soon:
The council passed the ordinance in response to Brackman's request to erect a menorah, a nine-stemmed candelabra that symbolizes the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah.

Council members vowed to revisit the issue this spring to study ways to make holiday displays more inclusive of religious traditions. Mayor Jacob Smith said the council should take its time in making such decisions.

More than 25 citizens addressed the council about the controversy, frequently breaking into applause when speakers exhorted council members to find a way to include holiday displays from all religions. Ellene Duffy, 43, a 14-year Golden resident, described herself as "anti religious" and called on council members to find a way to include all religious views in holiday displays.

"This is a chance for Golden to lead," said Ellene Duffy, 43. "I want to argue for diversity instead of neutrality. This should be a time to celebrate everything."
Not a bad idea from this level-headed resident. Hopefully Golden's vote amounts to more than a knee-jerk reaction to avoid engaging the citizenry on an issue that is clearly important to many from a variety of religious (and even irreligious) beliefs.

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November 12, 2008

'Tis The Season For Holiday Display Controversies And Atheist Advertising

It is November, so it must be time for holiday display controversies, with a special bonus this year--atheist billboards, from D.C. to Denver.

First from D.C.:
You better watch out. There is a new combatant in the Christmas wars.

Ads proclaiming, "Why believe in a god? Just be good for goodness' sake," will appear on Washington, D.C., buses starting next week and running through December. The American Humanist Association unveiled the provocative $40,000 holiday ad campaign Tuesday.
. . .
"We are trying to reach our audience, and sometimes in order to reach an audience, everybody has to hear you," said Fred Edwords, spokesman for the humanist group. "Our reason for doing it during the holidays is there are an awful lot of agnostics, atheists and other types of non-theists who feel a little alone during the holidays because of its association with traditional religion."
. . .
Edwords said the purpose isn't to argue that God doesn't exist or change minds about a deity, although "we are trying to plant a seed of rational thought and critical thinking and questioning in people's minds."
A similar campaign has sprouted in Denver:
Here's an unusual sign that the holidays are coming: just in time for Christmas, a group of atheists and freethinkers plan to sponsor 11 billboards in Colorado.

Against a blue sky backdrop, their billboard poses the question: "Don't believe in God? - You are not alone."

COCORE, an umbrella organization of 11 groups ranging from the Boulder Heretics to the Humanists of Colorado, are spending $5,000 to post their message at 10 sites in Denver and one in Colorado Springs, for four weeks starting around Nov. 17.
. . .
Straub said the one sign in Colorado Springs was not meant to tweak religious groups in that area.

"Absolutely not," Straub said Tuesday, noting that there is a freethinkers chapter in Colorado Springs.

He said the primary goal of the campaign is to reach about eight to 14 percent of the population who tell pollsters that they are not religious.
I support both campaigns on First Amendment grounds. There is nothing inherently offensive about the content, and the phrasing itself isn't as potentially provocative as the D.C. ad campaign.

I do, however, question the timing.

Why not conduct a campaign that occurs year-round? The groups believe that their efforts aren't intended to "tweak religious groups," but the choice of November/December should clearly indicate their intentions. At worst it is a cynical attempt to draw free media attention due to the proximity to Christmas and Hanukkah, and at best is a lame gesture at piggy-backing on the popularity of the holiday season.

Meanwhile, fresh on the heels of the holiday display controversy the last few years up in Fort Collins (extensive coverage and analysis by SP), a rabbi has asked the city of Golden to allow a Menorah display on city property, prompting another dispute over displays:
'Tis the season for municipal holiday decorations, and the city of Golden, after being asked to allow placement of a Jewish menorah on public property, will consider a resolution Thursday that says only secular displays are acceptable.

Golden's proposed policy excludes religious symbols. Its list of acceptable celebratory symbols includes snowflakes, icicles, snowmen, snowballs, ice skates, skis, penguins, polar bears, other animals, lights and foliage — real or artificial and in garland, bush or tree form.

Rabbi Levi Brackman, director of Judaism in the Foothills, has asked the City Council for permission to install a 6- to 8-foot menorah, a candelabrum used during the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah. The site Brackman requested is on city property, next to a large conifer that is traditionally strung with lights, at 10th and Washington streets.

Mayor Jacob Smith said Brackman's request catalyzed the discussion at an Oct. 16 study session of the city's first formal policy on holiday decorations.

After reading the city's resolution, drafted Oct. 30, Brackman realized its passage would make the menorah a no-go in Golden.

"This is secularist discrimination against religion," said Brackman, who heads the center for Jewish education and outreach. "And the other thing is that . . . Christmas trees are not secular. You won't find a secular person from the Jewish or Muslim traditions who celebrates the holidays with lights on trees."

At the study session, the mayor said trying to evenhandedly include many religious and secular symbols in a constitutionally correct, multicultural display — the all-or-none approach approved in recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions — would be challenging enough to cause city officials extreme hair loss or even "brain damage."

The city will consider excluding all religious symbols.
The flat-footed government solution to be inclusive of all during the "holiday season"--exclude all religious symbols.

It doesn't appear that Golden has backed itself into the corner the way that Fort Collins own display regulations had--allowing a Christmas tree (described as such) while appearing to not allow a Menorah. The mayor's lame joke about hair loss and "brain damage" notwithstanding, it is clearly the job of the City Council to sort out these difficult, often heated controversies, and the Supreme Court appears to give cities little flexibility with an all-or-nothing approach.

Thursday's vote will certainly not end the growing controversy in Golden--we'll keep you posted.

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November 11, 2008

Thank A Veteran--November 11, 2008

Celebrate Veterans Day--thank a veteran.

More at Michelle Malkin and Gateway Pundit.



Bailouts Continue to Multiply Using Money From Your Accounts

By Julian Dunraven, J.D., M.P.A.

Honorable Friends:

We are now past the election, but I cannot stop thinking of Disney’s Alice in Wonderland and the Dodo’s jolly caucus race. Do you recall the scene? The Dodo perches atop a pillar of rock on a beach, presiding over a crowd of critters running endlessly around his pillar in an attempt to get dry while the tide continues to crash over their heads. The Dodo instructs them that they must all run with the others if they want to get dry, all the while singing his ridiculous song:

'Round and 'round and 'round we go
Until forevermore
For once we were behind
But now we find we are be-

Forward, backward, inward, outward
Come and join the chase
Nothing could be drier
Than a jolly caucus race!

Certainly, everyone has been running together in our own caucus race. Both parties and both presidential candidates decided to run with the bailouts, and the bailouts continue to multiply and grow.

Yesterday morning the AP announced that AIG’s bailout has grown to more than $150 billion. Of this, $40 billion buys preferred stock for public ownership. The original $85 billion loan has been reduced to $60 billion and another $37.8 billion loan has been transformed into a $52.5 billion aid package.

We also have GM and Ford with their hands out for bailout money according to The Ludwig von Mises Institute. Have no doubt that they will get what they seek. They will get a bailout or two despite the fact that other automobile makers are doing just fine. They will get it despite the fact that, as the Institute points out, Ford has fewer employees than Abercrombie and Fitch and GM has far fewer employees than Target, Wal-Mart, or McDonalds, yet these companies would be laughed at if they demanded a bailout.

Goldman Sachs and Fannie and Freddie also are showing losses. Facing a third quarter net loss of over $29 billion, and a total outstanding debt of $880 billion as of October 31st, Fannie has warned that its $100 billion bailout may not be enough.

So where is all the requested bailout money coming from? Well, $40 billion of AIG’s money is coming from the $850 billion bailout package Congress just passed. The rest is being printed by the Fed. But let us be honest: all the bailout money has been printed. We were running a deficit long before we ever made even the first bailout.

Understand that, by printing money, the government pays for these bailouts by taking value out of the savings accounts of private citizens. As the money supply is increased through inflation, and by printing more than $2 trillion in the last few weeks we have increased the money supply by almost 50%, the money we hold in savings is devalued. Thus, we must all work harder and longer in order to save less. It is a very subtle form of theft, but make no mistake—it is theft. The citizens of this country are all having their accounts raided, through inflation, to pay for the failed policies of these companies.

Now look at who is running things. Michael Alix has been named as senior vice president of the bank supervision group of the New York Fed. Formerly, he was the chief risk officer at Bear Sterns, which went under back in March from its derivative investments. Former officials of Goldman Sachs can be found throughout the Treasury Department and Fed. I suppose if Goldman continues to suffer, its management can always find new employment with government. Don’t you feel safe?

So this is the state of affairs. The whole country is drowning in debt and asking for bailouts. Our government dodos, who happen to be the same fools who got us into such debt in the first place, are now busy pouring even more debt through inflation upon us to facilitate the requested bailouts. But keep running, they say, and eventually you will get dry. Pay no attention to the rising waves.

Honorable friends, we have fallen down the rabbit hole, but isn’t it entertaining?

'Round and 'round and 'round we go
Until forevermore
For once we were behind
But now we find we are . . . still behind

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November 10, 2008

United States Marine Corps Celebrates 233 Years Of Fighting For Liberty

In honor of the United States Marine Corps' 233rd birthday:

Semper Fi!--and thanks to my father (post-Vietnam), grandfather (Korea), great uncle (WWII), and all veterans--a debt that can never be repaid.

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Ward Churchill, Dinesh D'Souza Debate Western Civilization

And, as usual, Ward Churchill brings a knife to the proverbial intellectual gun battle against Dinesh D'Souza:
Churchill began the debate by calling Western civilization a “synthesis of lies” and a “fraud” because it plagiarized and assimilated ideas from other cultures without giving due credit. He said that he “didn’t quite know what Western civilization is,” but that it was triumphalist and supremacist.

“There is no argument against Western civilization at all from Ward Churchill,” D’Souza responded. “His argument is against the narrative of Western civilization.”

D’Souza discussed how the world has progressed and benefited from the influences of Western civilization. According to D’Souza, Western civilization has humanized the world. He noted that while Western civilization participated in slavery, abolitionism is a uniquely Western concept.

“The Chinese had slaves, the Indians had slaves, even the American Indians had slaves before Columbus ever step foot on this continent. It is not slavery that is Western, it is abolition.”
. . .
“For me Western civilization isn’t just about a theory, it’s about a life lived in America. We’re debating whether the West has made life better, and it certainly has for me,” said D’Souza. “Ward Churchill is taking the tragic facts of history and ideologizing them into white oppression.”
Of course Churchill doesn't know what Western Civilization is--but he knows that he is against it, and uses the same anti-imperialist claptrap that has gained him such a following on the left.

However, it appears it must be time to fill the legal war chest, as it would have baffled even the casual observer of Churchill's typical MO of avoiding real debate while he was still a tenured professor. Either that or the election of Barack Obama has stolen away some of Churchill's coveted left-wing victimization and tinfoil-hat crowd.

In related tinfoil-hattedness news, Drunkablog keeps an eye on the progress of those arrested during the DNC--complete with ACLU-liciousness.

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November 08, 2008

SP's Election Night Coverage Video

Finally, via CBS4.

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November 06, 2008

Recovering from the Election and Preparing the Republican Party for the Future

By Julian Dunraven, J.D., M.P.A.

Honorable friends,

This year, as I handed out candy to trick-or-treaters for Samhain/Halloween, I received a terrible cold in exchange. I spent the last few days sniffling and moaning in bed. At some point, I recall watching a somewhat blurry talking head announce that Barack Obama had just won the election. That set off a wave of coughing I thought might kill me. Cursing cold medication induced hallucinations, I promptly poured myself more cough syrup and tried to return to sleep.

The next day, the irritating headlines refused to disappear, even when I refused any medication at all. The morbidly depressed phone calls that began to pour in confirmed that I was not hallucinating, however much I may have wanted to. Stupidity had finally achieved a majority of votes.

I have also heard from the other side, and I am astounded at what they are saying. Consider this email that invaded my inbox this morning:

“As you read the lovely quote below, which speaks volumes, listen to the ‘Yes We Can’ song one more time. Our future is looking brighter everyday and history has been made.
‘It is said that Rosa [Parks] sat so that Martin [Luther King Jr.] could walk. And Martin walked so that Obama could run. And Obama ran so that we could fly. It’s time to take wing.’”

Now, maybe it is because I am ill, but my breakfast was the only thing threatening to take wing after I read that. One had only to see the enraptured expressions of adulation on the faces of the crowd at Obama’s victory speech to know that this woman is not alone in her sentiment, though. They haven’t simply elected a president; a new messiah has risen to save the nation and the world. I, however, will not be among the worshipers of our new god-president.

As a devotee of the Old Religion of Ireland and a student of history, I know of countless examples where a man has claimed power along with semi-divine status. In each case, the new divinity ended up looking just like old-fashioned tyranny. Only once has the title of messiah ever stuck. But in that case, the man who claimed it never seized power or commanded armies. Rather, he presented a simple message of love that rose to preeminence through persuasion—not state power. To my knowledge, many Christians are still pretty happy with him, though it appears that some have found a replacement.

That replacement had best be up to the task. As the storm clouds gather, the silver lining for Republicans is that, with Democrats in control of both houses of Congress and the White House, they will not be able to blame us for anything anymore. Whatever happens from here will be up to them. I have no doubt whatsoever that if they implement even half of the economic plans they have proposed, they will make things much worse. What will happen when their god-president fails?

Republicans need to be taking advantage of this time to regroup. First, though, we must acknowledge that, by abandoning the fiscal responsibility that had been a fundamental principle of the party for decades, the party set itself up for the rise of this false messiah of socialism. The people have every right to doubt Republican commitment to free markets and spending cuts after the hideous displays they have witnessed during the Bush administration.

Expecting the party to reform on its own, however, seems ridiculous. If Republican leaders failed to uphold their principles, we the people also failed to hold them accountable. If we want to take back the Republican Party, reform it, and hope to have any chance of success, we all have to increase our involvement with the party, as well as make our demands very clear. Congress and our Party leaders have shown that they are utterly unprepared for and confused by the massive economic issues that broadsided the campaigns this year. If you find yourself to be just as clueless and confused by these issues as Congress is, though, you cannot hope to help set them on the correct path. So start by educating yourself.

The issues we will be facing are indeed immense. For most people, it has been many years since they last sat in an economics classroom, if they ever did at all. Fortunately, one of my honorable friends managed to find a site that provides a very simple but comprehensive summary of all the issues we face. I invite you to check out Chris Martenson’s free Crash Course in the Economy. His short lessons will leave you in a much better position to understand exactly how we got here and what we are facing. It will also give you a very good idea of what to demand from the Republican candidates we will soon have to send out to clean up the disasters Obama and the Democrats will inevitably wreak in our society.

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November 04, 2008

Colorado Election Results 2008--Ballot Results (Amendments, Referenda)

Most recent items at the top--scroll for earlier updates:

Colorado post-mortems:
Mount Virtus on a few bright spots
Joshua Sharf on the Colorado initiatives
Rocky Mountain Right's promising signs
The New Conservative's thoughts on the new socialism (same as the old) and the remaining bulwark against disaster in the Senate
Night Twister calls for finding a new voice
The Daily Blogster on bamboozling a center-right nation

Election 2008 initial reflections, movie clip edition!

9:58pm--Ben DeGrow, as always, has a measured and graceful response for an otherwise horrendous night for the GOP and conservatives in Colorado and across the country.

9:46pm--Turning to the Colorado races:

No surprises at the state level--Obama, Udall, and the other House races, including Markey over Musgrave. There isn't much sense in update numbers, as all the races at this level have been called.

Amendments and referenda--
46--Too bad, if anything belonged in the Colorado constitution, it was the elimination of discrimination.
47--Union money can buy a lot of things, and one of them is a no on 47.
48--Not at this time, not in this state, not in the Colorado constitution.
49--More of the same, money buys votes.
50--Looks like expanded gaming is the only true runaway measure, until liberals ban it, of course.
51--State sales tax measures, regardless of the intention, don't belong in the constitution.
54--The only measure of the heavily targeted campaign against 47/49/54 to still be passed, pending the final vote tally.
58--Coloradans said no to Ritter, a rare loss for the governor going in to 2010.
59--Funding for education is like pouring water through a sieve.
Ref L--No to lowering the age limit.
Ref O--Too close to call.

The interesting analysis will be a breakdown of Colorado at the local level--county-by-county tallies.

9:01pm--All Hail President Obama!

6:40pm--I'll be up against Bill Menezes of Colorado Media Matters!

4:20pm--My friends at Complete Colorado will be running a continuous election media roundup for all things Colorado

4:06pm--Encouraging (given the DNC and polls showing a swelling Obama lead), but not definitively positive news--Colorado GOP voters keep pace with Democrats in early voting turnout

4:02pm--Fellow blogger and candidate for Colorado House District 6--Joshua Sharf--has some preliminary numbers on early voting turnout in Denver.

Early exit polls should emerge in the next few hours--stay tuned for coverage. Peoples Press Collective has live streaming video from around town, and will also carry comprehensive election roundups as the day progresses--Mr. Bob of The Daily Blogster has updates at his blog and PPC as well. I'll be adding links as they come in.

Reminder--Slapstick Politics will be joining CBS4 for live webcast election analysis at 7 pm.

Email election day tips to slapstickpolitics (at) gmail (dot) com.

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Election 2008 Initial Reflections--Movie Clip Edition!

Conflicting emotions, but these famous clips sum up my mood, and are pretty self-explanatory (and NSFW):

Ignore the digital dog (WTF?):

I couldn't end it on a depressing note, now, could I?

Tomorrow, the fight begins. Not for 2010 or 2012, but for the future of the country. One chapter has closed, and another has opened.

I, for one, do not welcome our new socialist overlords . . .

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Slapstick Politics And CBS4 Election Night Coverage

SP will be a featured blogger on CBS4's election night coverage, from 7-8pm.

Joining yours truly will be Brooke Wagner and Gloria Neal of CBS4. Click here for a preview of the webcast.

The best coverage of Election 2008 in Colorado will come from my friends at the Rocky Mountain Alliance and Peoples Press Collective.

Don't forget to vote, or turn in your mail-in ballot.

Questions about the 2008 ballot? Need a quick reference guide to take with you into the voting booth?
SP's ballot guide will take you through the state-level amendments and referenda, and Peoples Press Collective has assembled one as well. For thorough backgrounding and roundup of more links and other guides, Ben DeGrow has the most comprehensive roundup.

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Colorado Voter Registration--Final October Voter Affiliation Numbers

Final numbers for Colorado (as of October 22, out of 3,203,583):
Democrats--1,051,643 (32.8%)
Republicans--1,063,347 (33.2%)
Unaffiliateds--1,069,294 (33.4%)

As of October 29, 1,123,173 voters had returned their mail-in ballots or cast an early vote:
Number of Mail-In Ballots Received--880,491
Number of Early Voting Ballots Cast--242,682

**Update--As of October 30, 1,291,571 ballots cast:
Number of Mail-In Ballots Received--993,542
Number of Early Voting Ballots Cast--298,029

**Update 2--As of October 31, 1,477,836 ballots cast:
Number of Mail-In Ballots Received--1,112,782
Number of Early Voting Ballots Cast--365,054

**Update 3--As of November 2, 1,589,981 ballots cast:
Number of Mail-In Ballots Received--1,224,766
Number of Early Voting Ballots Cast--365,215

Final pre-election numbers:
Number of Mail-In Ballots Received--1,339,065
Number of Early Voting Ballots Cast--365,215

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Counting Colorado: Voting Results May Take Time; Sarah Palin Makes Final Stop

**Update--Colorado called for Obama/Udall, more election night results and analysis

Oh goodie!
More than 200,000 mail-in ballots poured into county clerks' offices across Colorado over the weekend, easing tonight's ballot- counting burden.

But with nearly 300,000 mail-in ballots still left to be turned in and potentially as many as 1 million people statewide voting today at the polls, clerks still expect a late night tallying results.

"The days of finding out the results at 10 p.m. are over," said Alton Dillard, a spokesman for the Denver Elections Division. "There are too many moving targets in an election these days."
We can, however, expect half of the results from early voting and mail-in ballots to be announced shortly after the polls close in Colorado at 7pm.

Meanwhile, GOP VP candidate Sarah Palin is hoping her campaign's targeting of Colorado in these last few weeks will pay off.

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Battleground Colorado--2008 Electoral College Scenarios

With the polls all over the map for any number of states, here are a few of the possible Electoral Vote outcomes, with the battleground of Colorado as the focus. The first two involve John McCain retaining Colorado by the smallest of margins--say 1-2%. As I'll be discussing national and local races on CBS4 on election night, here are the key states I'll be watching as the evening progresses (poll closing times, EST):
7 p.m. Indiana, Virginia
7:30 p.m. Ohio, North Carolina
8 p.m. Pennsylvania, Florida, Missouri
9 p.m. Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, North Dakota
10 p.m. Nevada, Montana
With the exception of Pennsylvania, McCain must basically win the states above the line to have a snowball's chance in Phoenix. Or, as Allahpundit advises, begin drinking immediately.

Using CNN's interactive calculator, here are a few of the possible outcomes, with a focus on the retention or loss of Colorado.

First, the proverbial "nightmare" scenario resulting in an Electoral College tie at 269-269 (2004 results, minus Iowa, Nevada, and New Mexico--all Bush states):

The "best case" scenario for John McCain--the same map as above, plus Pennsylvania (290-248):

Barack Obama wins 311-227, peeling off 5 states that went to Bush in 2004--Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado, Iowa, Ohio and Virginia.

McCain could still win without Colorado if he manages to flip Pennsylvania (281-257), and doesn't lose any other states east of the Mississippi (Ohio, Virginia, North Carolina). In this scenario, McCain could lose Missouri (along with Iowa, New Mexico, Colorado and Nevada) and still eke out a 270-268 win.

What are your Electoral College predictions?

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November 03, 2008

Final Push: Colorado Ballot Cheat Sheet, 2008 Amendments And Referenda

Questions about the 2008 ballot? Need a quick reference guide to take with you into the voting booth?

SP's ballot guide will take you through the state-level amendments and referenda, and Peoples Press Collective has assembled one as well. For thorough backgrounding and roundup of more links and other guides, Ben DeGrow has the most comprehensive roundup.

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November 02, 2008

Final Push: McCain In Grand Junction On Election Day; Schaffer Tightens Against Udall

One final campaign swing for Sen. John McCain, in a state that has clearly felt its status as a "battleground" in the 2008 election.

Apparently he isn't ready to concede Colorado until after the actual votes have been cast. And there will be a ton of votes here and across the country, perhaps at record levels.

Meanwhile Bob Schaffer has begun to close against Mark Udall in the state's expensive race for Senate. But will close enough be enough to put him over the finish line?

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ProgressNow Flies Anti-McCain Banner At Broncos Game

With the hard-hitting charge that Sen. John McCain is a "Raiders fan," even though the game is against the Miami Dolphins:
It seems there's no escape from politics this year, not even on the football field. A plane pulling a banner saying "McCain is a Raiders Fan" flew over Invesco Field on Sunday as fans gathered for the Denver Broncos-Miami Dolphins game.

The liberal group ProgressNow hired the plane after hearing about the plans of McCain supporters to hold a "hibachi tailgate" party in one of the stadium's parking lots.

They planned to hand out "Joe the Plumber" stickers and other campaign materials. The Raiders are longtime rivals of the Denver Broncos.

Invesco Field is where Barack Obama gave his speech accepting the Democratic presidential nomination during the party's national convention in August.
More--photos and a ProgressNow press release.

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Ivory Tower Of Hope--University Of Colorado Donates 21-1 For Barack Obama

Chronicling bias in the rarefied air of academia qualifies as a "dog bites man" type of story--we know the outcome, but the delight (or horror) is often found in the details.

CU Boulder has earned its reputation as a bastion of academic liberalism and extremism. Ward Churchill, anyone?

This year's election provided an opportunity to reexamine that bias via fundraising reports that would reveal, more than simple party registration or classroom indoctrination, how America's places of higher learning were treating the epic battle between Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain in dollars and cents.

You guessed it--they really, really like Obama.

Using this donor list tool, you can search by candidate, name, employer, state, and zip code. We decided to see just how much "hope" there was for Obama versus McCain, and the results were a complete shock.

Not really.

The University of Colorado system saw its employees donate 21-1 for Obama. A quick check of two other schools--University of California (including Berkeley) and Harvard University--immediately reveals that CU is actually low in terms of per-candidate ratios.

University of Colorado: Obama--$112,386; McCain--$5,401

University of California: Obama--$355,242 (donations above $1,000 only); McCain--$17,620

Harvard University: Obama--$499,057; McCain--$17,046

Obama--the change he needs, courtesy (in part) of America's ivory towers of privilege.

How does your alma mater fare? Or your zip code?

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November 01, 2008

Barack Obama's Final Push For Battleground Colorado; Sarah Palin And Michelle Obama Returning To Colorado On Monday

The battle for Colorado isn't over.

Barack Obama drew thousands more to a rally in Pueblo, where he took shots at John McCain and Vice President Dick Cheney. His visit forced the Secret Service to shut down local businesses (h/t Complete Colorado)--exactly the change we need in this economy.

Both campaigns will seek to make closing arguments before Tuesday's election--Sarah Palin and Michelle Obama will both be in Colorado on Monday.

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