January 31, 2008

Colorado Buried In Avalanche Of Political Visits: Obama, Hillary, Romney, And Even Bush

In no particular order:

Chelsea Clinton campaigned for her mother at CU-Boulder early Thursday, touting Hillary's "more visionary" (more costly and totalitarian?) platform. Oh, and for those still sitting on the fence, Chelsea says her mom bakes "killer" banana bread.

That doesn't seem to be enough for the 18000+ favoring Barack Obama, including those who attended Obama's rally yesterday at DU (video). Not much more than the usual "excitement" and "change" platitudes. Audio and transcript of Obama's speech:
It is time for a new generation of leadership because the old politics just won't do. I am running for president right now because I have met Americans all across this country that cannot afford to wait another day. They understand what Dr. King meant when he said that we had to recognize the "fierce urgency of now." That is why the real choice in this campaign is not between regions, or religions, or genders. It is not about rich versus poor, young versus old, it's certainly not about black versus white. It is about the past versus the future.
Obama--all talk, no substance. Beware candidates whose appeal is primarily emotional.

Mitt Romney will be in Thornton tomorrow:
The Republican presidential hopeful has scheduled a "Change Begins With Us" stop at Freeway Ford, 4471 East Evans Ave. The hourlong event starts at 2 p.m.
Ron Paul will be at the Colorado Convention Center from 6-8pm, you can just follow the Ronulans (the ones with the tinfoil hats).

President Bush, in a fundraising visit for Senate candidate Bob Schaffer, stopped to meet and praise Jeanne Assam, who brought to a halt the fatal shootings at Christian centers last December.

This will probably represent the high point of attention for Colorado's voters until after the conventions.

Now with the caucus just a few days away, here are some of the thoughts of other conservative bloggers:

Joshua Sharf:
When you've been running for President for over four years, if you run out of money, money wasn't your problem.
He has more on the coming smears of John McCain should he be the GOP nominee, and his inability to deal with an unfavorable press.

Ben DeGrow asks, "have too many conservatives in the party gone mad?"

Labels: , , , , , ,


January 29, 2008

Focus The Nation Climate Change Teach-In Coming To CU Boulder

**Update--A look at some of the Focus the Nation moonbattery taking place on campuses across the country:
At the University of Rhode Island, students placed 300-pound blocks of ice around their campus and let them melt to symbolize how global warming is affecting polar ice caps.

At Missouri State University, students will pile 20 tons of coal on campus to show how much of this air-polluting fossil fuel is needed to power their school for an hour.

At UCSD, young conservationists are preparing a performance-art show that will feature a faux polar bear in an 8-foot-tall “electric” chair. It's a creative riff on the theme of climate change harming the bears.

The activities are part of the inaugural Focus the Nation, a four-day event designed to turn the nation's college students and others into global-warming activists.

Organizers of the grass-roots campaign, which ends tomorrow, bill it as the largest teach-in in U.S. history. They said about 1,700 colleges – including San Diego State and the University of California San Diego – churches, high schools and civic groups are participating.

Focus the Nation is unadulterated political advocacy. But my campus forbids me to use my official time, paid for by taxpayers, to advocate for particular campaign issues. But global warming is so important. But my Chancellor forbids me to engage in political advocacy as part of my job. But my Chancellor is the keynote speaker for our Focus the Nation activities. But my job is to teach not indoctrinate. But I actually agree with many of the proposed policies. But it is not my job to use my platform as a professor to tell students what to think; I am supposed to teach them how to think and come to their own conclusions. But if I don't go along I'll be castigated as one of those bad guys, like a Holocaust denier or slave owner. But doing the right thing is so obvious--Roger Pielke, Jr., director of the University of Colorado's Center for Science and Technology Policy Research and an associate professor of environmental studies

Climate change moonbattery at CU

Just received this forwarded missive urging me not to forget to attend CU's Focus the Nation Climate Change Teach-In (more detailed list of events here). No less than Colorado's Governor Bill Ritter will be in attendance to kick things off:
Subject: FW: Focus The Nation: Climate Change Teach-In

Please forward this on to your departments.
January 31st, 2008, CU Focus the Nation is part of a national teach-in
engaging millions of students about climate change and its solutions. A teach-in
is a day when an entire school turns its attention to a single issue. In this
case, it is an issue that will shape the future of current students. CU
Focus the Nation has a lot of activities planned throughout the day. Planned
events include:

* The 2% Solution Focus the Nation will stream a free, live, interactive webcast with climate scientist Stephen Schneider, sustainability expert Hunter Lovins, green jobs pioneer Van Jones and youth climate leaders, for a discussion of global warming solutions. 6:00 - 7:00 p.m. (Jan 30) / Atlas Auditorium
* Polar Visions World Premier Presented by CU climate scientist Ryan Vachon, polar climate change views from scientists and polar natives. 7:30-9:00 p.m. (Jan 30) / Atlas Auditorium
* Governor Bill Ritter kicks off Focus the Nation with his vision of a new energy economy. 9:00-10:00 a.m. / Old Main Chapel
* Discovery's Planet Earth series shown all day on the ceiling of Fiske Planetarium. 9:00 a.m.-6 p.m. / Fiske Planetarium
* Climate change panel series. Experts speak on climate justice, the difficulty of communicating climate change, and the future energy technologies that will help us fight climate change. 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. / Old Main Chapel. Check the website for individual panel times.
* Save Our Snow movie about a fearless duo of eco-minded
snowboarders traveling cross-country in a veggie-oil-fueled Winnebago to inform and
inspire people to save our snow from climate change. Enter to win a pair of HEAD racing team skis. 10:00-10:50 a.m. / Old Main Chapel.
* Ask a Climate Expert all your burning questions about climate
change in our open Q&A forum. 2:00-3:15 p.m. / Old Main Chapel
* Get FREE energy efficient light bulbs to save you money and lower your climate change impact. 9:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. in the UMC, Old Main Chapel and Fiske Planetarium
* Latin Hip-Hop by Debajo Del Agua and spoken word by LaNiece Littleton
and Jarvis Fuller. Focusing on the loss of culture due to climate change. 5:00-
8:00 p.m. / UMC cafeteria.
* The 11th Hour movie about global warming solutions followed by a
discussion with local experts. 7:00 and 9:15 p.m. / Muenziner Auditorium
/ $5 gen/$4 w student ID
* The Devil Came on Horseback about the genocide in Darfur. Hunter
Lovins, CU Law Profesor Maxine Burkett, Representative Alice Madden, and House
Speaker Andrew Romanoff and the film's narrator speak about the origins of the crisis, its link to a changing climate and why we should care. 6:00-8:00 / Cristol Chemistry Auditorium 140.

Robert Hall
Energy Program Manager
CU Environmental Center
Aside from the obvious global warmongering and climate change hysteria, this "activity" appears to breach the prohibition on activism and political advocacy that CU's Chancellor "Bud" Peterson recently outlined quite clearly:
TO: Boulder Campus Teaching & Research Faculty, Staff, Deans, Directors, Dept Chairs

FROM: Office of the Chancellor

SENDER: Chancellor G.P. "Bud" Peterson

DATE: January 18, 2008

SUBJECT: Guidelines on Campaign-Related Activities by Members of the University Community

Dear Colleagues:

In light of the many political campaigns currently, or soon to be, underway at the national, state and local levels, I would like to provide you with a set of guidelines we, as members of the University community, should keep in mind as we consider our own activities and level of involvement. The guidelines were developed by the Office of the University Counsel, and if you have questions, I urge you to contact Counsel's office at 303-492-7481.



* Engage in any activity during working hours designed to urge electors to vote for or against any campaign issues, which include campaigns for public office, state-wide campaign issues or referred measures, and local campaign issues or levies.

* Employees wishing to participate in a campaign activity should take personal leave.

* Use office supplies or equipment, including computers, telephones, printers or facsimile machines to create materials urging electors to vote for or against a campaign issue.

* Use their University email accounts to urge electors to vote for or against a campaign issue, or to forward materials that urge electors to vote for or against a campaign issue.

* Use University-hosted websites to urge electors to vote for or against a campaign issue.
Focus the Nation touts their endorsements:
To date, Focus the Nation at CU has been endorsed by Chancellor Bud Peterson, the Boulder Faculty Assembly, and the UCSU student government.
How do you spell hypocrisy? Nice to see you enforcing your own prohibition, "Bud".

Perhaps we should, you know, make a few phone calls.

Roger Pielke, Jr., director of the University of Colorado's Center for Science and Technology Policy Research and an associate professor of environmental studies--a self-described "nonskeptical heretic" and no fan of skeptics like Sen. James Inhofe states, "I'm so confused":
I am so confused.

Focus the Nation is unadulterated political advocacy. But my campus forbids me to use my official time, paid for by taxpayers, to advocate for particular campaign issues. But global warming is so important. But my Chancellor forbids me to engage in political advocacy as part of my job. But my Chancellor is the keynote speaker for our Focus the Nation activities. But my job is to teach not indoctrinate. But I actually agree with many of the proposed policies. But it is not my job to use my platform as a professor to tell students what to think; I am supposed to teach them how to think and come to their own conclusions. But if I don't go along I'll be castigated as one of those bad guys, like a Holocaust denier or slave owner. But doing the right thing is so obvious.

Thank goodness I am on sabbatical.

Labels: , , , , , , ,


Blogs For Borders Video Blogburst 012908

Freedom Folks has this week's edition.

Labels: , , , , , ,


Colorado Caucus Gains Importance; **Update: Super Tuesday

**Updated and bumped to the top through Super Tuesday--scroll for caucus info**

<---Please take a moment to vote in SP's GOP poll, located to the left in the sidebar. Democrat caucus info/Republican caucus info

9NEWS has a short primer on caucus procedures for Democrats and Republicans

With the Super Duper Tsunami Tuesday Caucus/Primary Electionpalooza (or whatever the MSM is calling it) only 26 days away (thanks Ben for the reminder!), Colorado's relatively obscure caucus should garner not only record turnout with both parties lacking a clear frontrunner, but also increased attention from the candidates:
Colorado is bracing for possible record turnouts in the Feb. 5 presidential caucuses, as state voters get swept up in the country's election fever.

Massive turnouts at the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary indicate that voters want to play a pivotal role in the country's most open presidential seat in more than 50 years. And Colorado voters — on both sides of the aisle — are no different.
. . .
GOP and Democratic Party officials say they are expecting much higher participation at the caucuses than they have had in years. State GOP head Dick Wadhams said the intensity of the race was certain to bring out new attendees.

State Democrats have told their county precincts "to prepare for record turnout," said spokesman Matt Sugar, who noted that his party is involved in numerous caucus trainings.
. . .
Unlike Iowa and New Hampshire, Colorado does not have so-called open caucuses. Only those who registered as a Democrat or Republican by the first week in December can attend the caucuses. Unaffiliateds — the state's second-largest registered group — cannot show up and vote.

The state currently boasts just over 1 million Republicans, 994,575 unaffiliateds and 875,650 Democrats. Unaffiliateds have increased by about 50,000 since March, while Democrats went up about 25,000 and Republicans 12,000.

Colorado is one of more than 20 states taking part in what's known as Super Tuesday. The front-loaded nomination schedule has accelerated the process, which may potentially result in both parties producing a nominee by dawn on Feb. 6.

The country would then have a two-candidate race for nine months — a historical first.
Having a closed caucus will prevent unaffiliateds from skewing either party's selection--giving a clearer picture of what rank-and-file Colorado Democrats and Republicans view as their ideal candidate, while leaving pollsters and bloggers to speculate on just how the 2nd largest voting bloc in Colorado will break come November.

Ben DeGrow has a good roundup of Colorado caucus information
, including Jefferson and Douglas County GOP caucus gathering information and links. More from Colorado GOP Chairman Dick Wadhams.

Denver County GOP caucuses are arranged geographically, centered in the 9 State House districts that comprise the county:

District 1 - Kennedy High School
District 2 - Colorado Automobile Dealers Association offices
District 3 - Harvard Gulch Recreation Center, 550 East Iliff (Logan & Iliff)
District 4 - Lake Middle School
District 5 - Tivoli Auditorium, Auraria Campus
District 6 - Location 1: Windsor Gardens, 595 S. Clinton Street (Clinton & Alameda)
Location 2: Central Christian Church, 3690 Cherry Creek Drive South (Garfield & Cherry Creek Drive South)
District 7 - location TBD
District 8 - Park Hill Methodist Church, 5209 Montview Boulevard
District 9 - Hamilton Middle School, 8600 Dartmouth
DemNotes captures the excitement felt on the other side. Not every Democrat, however, knows which lever they will pull in the upcoming election:
Cory Madden, a student at the University of Denver, said part of his class is engaged in a youth voting project to get people involved in the presidential race.

He hasn't registered yet but plans to as a Democrat. However, he doesn't know which Democrat will get his vote.

"[Dude--ed.] I'm just not getting a huge political vibe yet," said Madden, 19, who is originally from Ohio.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , ,


January 25, 2008

The Few--The Proud--The Marines: New Ad, Silent Drill Team

Check out the new ad for the Marine Corps (via Instapundit):

Saw this video last year, the Marine Corps' Silent Drill Team at Denver's Pepsi Center (with over 2 million views, h/t Ace):

Labels: , , , ,


January 24, 2008

Mark Udall Flip-Flops On War In Afghanistan

"To put troops in there seems like folly"--Mark Udall on Afghanistan, Sept. 2001

"The real central front in the war on terror . . . This is the right fight . . . It's a war of necessity as opposed to the war of choice"--Mark Udall on Afghanistan, Jan. 2007, after his recent 36 hour trip

He was against it before he was for it--Mark Udall's opinions on the war in Afghanistan have changed just a bit

After what was likely a staggeringly comprehensive 36 hour stop in Afghanistan, Democrat and Senate candidate Mark Udall was prepared to repudiate his earlier feelings on taking the war to the terrorists in Afghanistan which he originally believed to an erroneous, if not outright dangerous move:
"I returned believing more than ever that we have to finish the job in Afghanistan...that we have to return our focus — which I think has been fuzzy — to the importance of the effort underway there," Udall told reporters in a conference call Wednesday.

Udall, a longtime opponent of the Iraq war, calls Afghanistan "the real central front in the war on terror."
. . .
Udall said he agreed with the Pentagon's recent decision to add 3,200 U.S. Marines to the battlefield, bringing the U.S. commitment to more than 30,000 troops. But he said more forces would be available if the military began a phased redeployment of troops currently stationed in Iraq.

"This is the right fight," Udall said of Afghanistan. "It's a war of necessity as opposed to the war of choice."
. . .
"At this point, because of the instability in Afghanistan, and frankly the increase over the last year of violence and the (rebuilding) of the Taliban presence in the south, I think we have no choice but to continue our presence there and even build on it," he said.
Udall even endorses a "surge" in Afghanistan by redeploying troops currently in Iraq, and advocates the type of "nation building" that he vehemently opposes in Iraq (from his press release):
“I came back from Afghanistan in awe of our troops and the work they are doing with the Afghan people to make their country a stable and secure place to live.

“If there is a message I want to convey to my fellow Coloradans, it is that we cannot allow the Taliban or Al Qaeda to defeat us in this part of the world.

“The American people understand who attacked us on 9-11. They also understand that after nearly 7 years we still haven’t fully defeated the Taliban, or Al Qaeda and we haven’t eliminated Osama bin Laden. Finishing those jobs are critical, and we have to get them done.

“Afghanistan and Pakistan are the true central front of the fight against Islamic terrorism and I believe the U.S. needs to do more to counter growing instability in those countries. However, I am deeply concerned that the Bush Administration’s focus on nation-building in Iraq has led us to neglect nation-building in Afghanistan.

“I opposed the war in Iraq in part, because I was worried that this would happen – and my fears have borne out. We are not losing in Afghanistan, but unless we can secure more resources – including additional NATO forces – we could lose ground in this critical part of the world, and the consequences would be disastrous.

“The Administration is belatedly coming around to the view that we need more forces in Afghanistan. A ‘surge’ in Afghanistan makes sense, but it should be linked to a redeployment strategy I’ve called for in Iraq.
A true change of heart or political expediency?

Let's take a look at those earlier feelings on Afghanistan.

Blame America first, of course, and questioning any action in Afghanistan just one week after 9/11 (9/19/2001):
Udall said the global barrage of American culture is seen as the U.S. flaunting its opportunities to lands that have very little. "They see these images and think it's not possible for them."

Of the 1.2 billion Muslims in the world, few "really have functioning democracies" where they live, with "safety-valves" for social resentment, such as protest or elections. Anti-Americanism is the only real outlet for anger, he said.

But pressing a ground war into Afghanistan could be counterproductive, he said. The Soviet Union sowed the rugged land with bombs during a 10-year occupation and still pulled out in defeat. Dragging Pakistan into the conflict could bring nuclear rival India, and possibly China, to the battlefield, Udall said.
From the same meet-and-greet with CU-Boulder students that day, Udall questioned the need for military action and actually suggested that President Bush push democracy in the region:
"Military effort may only have short-term benefits," Udall said.

He said he is supporting an initiative that is gaining consensus on Capitol Hill to place more spies and special forces on the ground in Islamic fundamentalist countries like Afghanistan.
. . .
"To put troops in there seems like folly," Udall said of Afghanistan.
. . .
The Bush administration, he said, should encourage and promote democracy abroad.
Later that day at Boulder High School, Udall riffed on students' "Blame America" meme:
Many students questioned the United States' past military policies, noting the government trained and financed Islamic fundamentalists in Afghanistan during the Cold War.

"U.S. foreign policy is not guiltless," said junior Keely Rew. "Saying it's 'good vs. evil' is just propaganda."

For the most part, Udall seemed to share students' concerns.

"We should acknowledge that we've helped to fuel rage and despair in other parts of the world," the Boulder Democrat said. And "our war is not with the Afghan people," he said. "I'm not convinced that sending ground troops to Afghanistan makes sense."
Well, well, well.

Amazing what political expediency in a state-wide run for Senate will do to one's feelings on the war against terrorists in Afghanistan.

This can't possibly please the anti-America, anti-war, "progressive", impeachment wing of Udall's Democrat party. The Representative from Boulder realizes that Boulder viewpoints don't play that well in the rest of the state, and has backed away from them in an attempt to push his "moderate" credentials in a clear toss-up of a race for Senate that was once touted by Democrats as an "easy" pickup.

Exit question: how will Udall explain this shift in policy support to his constituency in the People's Republic of Boulder?

Cross-posted from Schaffer v Udall

Labels: , , ,


Colorado House Votes 62-1 To Censure Bruce

**Update: "Representative Bruce, you're not Jimmy Stewart, this is not a 1939 movie. This is today. Your actions were wrong"--Rep. Al White (R-Hayden)

"I categorically state I did not violate the order and decorum of the House"--Douglas Bruce, who issued a statement (pdf) following today's censure vote

Douglas Bruce, appropriately kicked to the curb by his peers:
The Colorado House voted 62-1 today to censure Rep. Douglas Bruce for kicking a Rocky photographer on the House floor last week.

Bruce stood on the side of the chamber, not in the well as could have been required, as the censure was read aloud this morning.

The censure rebuked him for violating the House decorum and "ordinary standards of decency," by using physical force against Javier Manzano as the photographer crouched before the standing Bruce during the ceremonial morning prayer.

It was the first censure in the 131-year history of the Colorado legislature.

"We need to lead by example," said Rep. Steve King, R-Grand Junction, co-chair of the committee that recommended censure.

"Violence can not be tolerated in this house."
Bruce was unfazed by his colleagues' decision and remained defiant:
Bruce remained unrepentant, blaming Manzano for provoking his "nudge" by refusing to heed the lawmaker's demand not to photograph him during the prayer.

"This resolution is the real overreaction to the nudge of a unruly photographer ... who broke his promise that he would not interrupt my participation in the prayer."
According to Bruce, first it was a "tap", now just a "nudge".

Exit question: what will Bruce do for an encore?

Labels: , ,


Human Smugglers Busted For 7th Time In Colorado; Gov't Officials Finally Doing Their Job

"Before we would call ICE, which was shorthanded or didn't have the space, and we would have to let them go on their way"--Shannon Cordingly, spokeswoman for Eagle County Sheriff's Office

The high-profile arrests comes a month after law enforcement agencies on the Western Slope, in partnership with ICE and 5th Judicial District, enacted a policy to enforce and prosecute state and federal immigration laws within their respective agencies.

Having been arrested and deported not once, not twice, but six times, this pair of human traffickers came up short when they were caught for the seventh time:
Eagle County sheriff deputies arrested two men for attempting to transport 13 illegal immigrants into Colorado this week.

Carlos Ortiz-Lazcano, 29, and Saul Hernandez-Lopez, 27 were arrested and charged with human smuggling and reckless endangerment. The pair already had been arrested and deported six times for smuggling people into the United States

Lopez was also charged with criminal impersonation, driving a vehicle without a valid driver's license and insurance.

Both men are being held at the Eagle County Detention Facility on a $100,000 bond.

"Our deputies spent 20 hours working on this incident. It's the first time in Eagle County we've been able to hold and charge the suspects for human smuggling," said Shannon Cordingly, spokeswoman for Eagle County Sheriff's Office.
What took them so long to bust smugglers like these guys?

"Before we would call ICE, which was shorthanded or didn't have the space, and we would have to let them go on their way."

Twelve of the 13 people found in the blue Chevrolet Venture minivan are being detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement pending deportation to Mexico. The other person, a juvenile boy, was deported and exported back to Mexico.

The high-profile arrests comes a month after law enforcement agencies on the Western Slope, in partnership with ICE and 5th Judicial District, enacted a policy to enforce and prosecute state and federal immigration laws within their respective agencies.
"Enacted a policy to enforce and prosecute state and federal immigration laws within their respective agencies."

Translation: doing the job they are supposed to do--by law.

The results:
ICE has ramped up operations in Colorado and Wyoming, capturing more than 438 fugitive immigrants in the region in fiscal year 2007.

Nationwide, more than 30,400 fugitive immigrants were apprehended last year, nearly double the number of arrests in 2006, according to the government's data.

The first group of Colorado troopers trained to look out for illegal immigrant smugglers, particularly along Interstate 70, hit the ground in July, leading to more arrests of coyotes and deportations of undocumented immigrants.

"We're so happy were able to start doing something about this problem," said Cordingly. "I-70 is a major corridor for human smuggling activity."
Nice to see government officials actually doing the job they get paid to do by taxpayers.

Enforcement works. But this is too little, too late

Labels: , , , , , , ,


January 23, 2008

Columbus Day Protestors Found Guilty, Penalties A "Bloodbath"

Not really (they were found guilty, however). The penalties--a meager fine for each--are more of a "slap on the wrist" variety (although Glenn Morris' fine is exquisitely appropriate):
Morris also must pay $323.53, the cost of cleaning up the theatrical blood.

The cost is so high because police called in a hazardous materials unit to do the cleaning before the parade was allowed to proceed.
At least the jurors understood the situation, and didn't buy defense attorney David Lane's moral superiority argument:
Jury Foreman Terry Smith, a retired Ford executive, said that the panel based the decision only on whether the evidence showed the defendants committed the acts with which they were charged — not the message the protesters were trying to convey.

Labels: ,


January 21, 2008

Carbon Offsets To Debut At DIA

Will there come a time when, in addition to taking off your shoes and showing ID, a flyer must also present "proof of offset" in order to make their flight?

You are now free to feel guilty about your travel:
Feeling guilty about the amount of carbon dioxide your upcoming flight will pump into the atmosphere?

Soon you might be able to fork over some extra cash at Denver International Airport to invest in projects intended to help negate your share of the environmental damage caused by air travel.

DIA is looking to become one of the first airports in the nation to offer passengers the ability to buy carbon offsets in its concourses. The offsets would pay for renewable energy and power-saving projects that help cut down on greenhouse gas emissions.

The airport is soliciting proposals from companies interested in setting up and running an offset program in all three concourses. The offsets could be offered through kiosks, booths, computer terminals or other means.

It's all part of the airport's renewed focus on the environment, which dovetails efforts by the city and state to implement energy-saving procedures and technology.

"Airports and airlines are under more and more scrutiny regarding greenhouse gas emissions and how they can offset climate change," said Janell Barrilleaux, DIA's director of environmental programs. "This offers a small step in the right direction to raise awareness and let people know that airports want to do the right thing."
The first DIA boondoggle--the spectacular failure known as the state-of-the-art baggage handling system that never saw a day in service and delayed the airport's opening for years.

The second boondoggle? Snake-oil Carbon offsets available in every concourse.

Who stands to benefit? Why, DIA is sure to get a cut:
DIA hopes to have the offset program up and running by August.

Under the plan, interested passengers would provide the details of their flights — such as the cities involved and the number of stops — to determine how much in offsets would erase their "carbon footprint" or amount of carbon emissions.

The offsets could be used for a variety of projects, such as installing solar panels in India or planting trees as part of reforestation efforts in Brazil.

An individual passenger could pay anywhere from a few bucks to more than $50 to offset their "share" of the carbon emissions of their flights.
. . .
The airport would get a share of the money collected: 10 percent of the first $1 million, 12 percent of the next $1 million and 14 percent of sales above $2 million, according to airport documents.
Seeing as blogging isn't paying the bills, perhaps SP and the faithful readers could set up our own carbon offset booth at DIA.

And why should any carbon offset profits go to build alternative energy efforts in India or Brazil? If the threat were truly grave, shouldn't the first priority be to get the profligate American abusers to give up their wasteful lifestyle?

Will there come a time when, in addition to taking off your shoes and showing ID, a flyer must also present "proof of offset" in order to make their flight?

For the global warmening, anti-human, Gaia religionists--it will only be a matter of time.

Labels: , , ,


Blogs For Borders Video Blogburst 012108

Freedom Folks has this week's edition.

Labels: , , , ,


January 20, 2008

Doug Bruce Draws Censure Recommendation, Criticizes Denver Media As Too "Aggressive"

Boo hoo:
Rep. Douglas Bruce (R-Colorado Springs) tells YOUR SHOW he does not believe he should be censured for an altercation between him and a Rocky Mountain News photographer last Monday.

A committee of his House colleagues is recommending the new state representative face a penalty never before issued in the legislature's 131-year history as well as requiring him to apologize to his peers for violating the decorum of the House of Representatives.

The committee made its recommendation on Friday afternoon after hearing from the photographer involved and Bruce. The photographer, Javier Manzano, said he was kicked by the representative during the House's morning prayer while Bruce described it as a "tap" with the bottom of his shoe that came after two previous requests not to take his picture. The longtime anti-tax advocate does not believe he did anything wrong.

"I don't think (the photographers) should have disrupted the public proceeding with their noise and their flashing and taking pictures of somebody praying who politely twice asked them not to do so," Bruce said in response to a viewer's question on the program. "I tapped him with the bottom of my shoe because he was seated in front of me. I didn't haul off and kick anybody. It never happened. I tapped him with the bottom of my shoe to say, 'Look, I asked you twice, the prayer is ongoing, please stop.' I don't consider that to be an assault, an act of violence, a crime.

"Apparently around here, they're setting up a rule that you can never touch anybody, so OK, I won't touch anybody."

Bruce told viewers the media in Denver are "much more aggressive and much less courteous" than the media he's used to dealing with in Colorado Springs. He called them "paparazzi" and said he'd only received three messages from his district in Colorado Springs about the event. Two were supportive of him and he said one was not.
Did Bruce forget that in most circumstances outside of consenting touch or self-defense, touching/hitting/kicking etc. is generally considered to be inappropriate, if not a prosecutable offense--especially in this day and age?

You can watch Bruce answer some questions from Adam Schrager on YourShow.

Labels: , , , ,


January 17, 2008

Emails Allege Fort Carson Deploying Injured GIs To War Zones

"We have been having issues reaching deployable strength, and thus have been taking along some borderline soldiers who we would otherwise have left behind for continued treatment"--e-mail alleging injured GIs are being redeployed improperly and prematurely
"This soldier should NOT have even left CONUS (the United States). . . . In his current state, he is not full mission capable and in his current condition is a risk to further injury to himself, others and his unit"--physician Maj. Thomas Schymanski

Injured soldiers have no business being sent back into war zones, so here's to hoping the following allegations prove untrue (and given the moonbat/MSM desire to smear the troops, this should get heavy play later today):
Fort Carson sent soldiers who were not medically fit to war zones last month to meet "deployable strength" goals, according to e-mails obtained by The Denver Post.

One e-mail, written Jan. 3 by the surgeon for Fort Carson's 3rd Brigade Combat Team, says: "We have been having issues reaching deployable strength, and thus have been taking along some borderline soldiers who we would otherwise have left behind for continued treatment."
. . .
Fort Carson could not say Wednesday how many soldiers were considered "no-go's" by medical professionals at the SRP site but were ultimately sent overseas.
. . .
Singh said he does not believe medically unfit soldiers have been deployed to Iraq. He said soldiers with medical issues are only sent to theater if there is a light-duty job for them and medical services are available in theater. He said 3,500 of the brigade's 3,700 soldiers were deployed. The others probably stayed home because medical services could not be found for them in theater.
One injured soldier, Master Sergeant Denny Nelson, says he found himself being returned to Iraq despite critical injuries that all but rendered him ineffective:
Capt. Scot Tebo's e-mail was, in part, a reference to Master Sgt. Denny Nelson, a 19-year Army veteran, who was sent overseas last month despite doctors' orders that he not run, jump or carry more than 20 pounds for three months because of a severe foot injury.

Nelson took the medical report to the Soldier Readiness Process, or SRP, site on Fort Carson, where health-care professionals recommended Nelson stay home.

The soldier, who has a Bronze Star and is a member of the Mountain Post's Audie Murphy Chapter, was sent to Kuwait on Dec. 29.
. . .
"This soldier should NOT have even left CONUS (the United States). . . . In his current state, he is not full mission capable and in his current condition is a risk to further injury to himself, others and his unit," said the physician, Maj. Thomas Schymanski.

Nelson, 38, had fractured his leg and destroyed the tendons that hold the bones in his feet together while jumping on his daughter's trampoline.

He arrived back at Fort Carson on Sunday.

"I just want to make sure these soldiers get back safe. I got back, and the only reason I got back safe is because I'm an E-8 (master sergeant). If I was a private or a specialist, I guarantee you, I'd be in Iraq," he said. "If nothing comes out of this other than those soldiers coming back home before one of them gets killed, then I can sleep at night. But God forbid if something happens, and I didn't do anything . . . ."

Labels: , ,


Columbus Day Protestors' Defense Plans To Put Columbus On Trial

Looks like Ward Churchill's old buddy David Lane is trotting out the "we can do anything we want because our opinions matter more than any law" defense:
Defense lawyers argued Wednesday that Columbus Day protesters had a right to block a Denver parade because it celebrated a man whom American Indians view as a slave trader, murderer and rapist.

"Are you aware that to some [?--ed.] Native Americans, celebrating Columbus is the same as celebrating Hitler to Jews?" attorney David Lane asked prospective jurors during the first in a series of trials for more than 80 people arrested in the Oct. 6 protest.

Denver police made the arrests in an annual ritual in which opponents try to block the parade.

Lane argued that the parade is a form of "ethnic intimidation," similar to burning a cross on a black family's lawn.

City attorneys countered that the parade was legal because it had a permit. The only issue for the jury is whether the protesters violated city ordinances, such as blocking the street, they said.

"They want to use this to put Columbus on trial. That's not what this is all about," said assistant city attorney Melissa Drazen-Smith.
Surprising that Lane added the caveat "some". Giving offense, apparently, legitimizes the actions of the protestors.

Those on trial include:
The defendants are University of Colorado political science professor Glenn Morris, who has been in several of the annual Columbus Day protests; the Rev. Julie Todd, a Methodist minister who is a doctoral candidate at the Iliff School of Theology, and Koreena Montoya of Denver.
More on the defense's tactics in court (hoping something will stick):
The lawyers for the defendants made various opposing arguments, saying their clients may not have known they were breaking the law, that the police may not have sufficiently warned them and that Columbus was a murderer and a slave trader.
The first argument is clearly a load of BS--what with all the green-hatted "legal observers" there (and surely Lane was consulted beforehand).

The second argument is also ridiculous on its face. One only need watch the videos from the parade posted on this blog to hear the repeated, clear warnings issued by the Denver Police. Either the defense expects the jury to be stupid, or the protestors temporarily went deaf (could be those bandannas and the repetitive drum banging as well).

As for the third reason, it is clear that the arrested protestors and their defense wish to lecture the jury with their version of a "history lesson"/academic colloquium on Columbus.

What doesn't appear to be happening is a challenge of the city's ordinances prohibiting anyone from blocking a lawful parade with legitimate permits for any reason. The protestors would simply offer that their free speech rights and alleged "moral superiority" would trump any such trifling legal restriction. Beyond that, city/state/federal laws are ALL inherently illegitimate, based as they are upon white colonial power:
"Asking an illegal colonizer for permission to be on land that doesn't belong to them doesn't work for us"--Glenn Spagnuolo

Labels: , , , ,


January 16, 2008

Douglas Bruce Kick Fallout Continues

**Update--click here for the latest posts on Bruce-gate, including the vote for censure and Bruce comparing himself to Jimmy Stewart in "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington"

Douglas "Karate Kid" Bruce "Almighty" has now earned a primary challenge:
In what may be a land speed record for announcing a run against a sitting state legislator, Air Force veteran Mark Waller, who prosecuted insurgents in Iraq, will attempt to unseat Douglas "Karate Kid" Bruce in the Republican primary in August.
His challenger continued:
"There is a concern that as a community we are going to look bad in the eyes of the rest of the state if these kind of actions continue to happen.

"It's my concern," Waller said Tuesday.
Bruce supporters and the GOP in general expected Bruce to bring the fight for small government/anti-tax to the legislature, not emotional outbursts that include kicking photographers and rants about "decorum".

Bruce could be reprimanded, censured or expelled by his House colleagues, but the process could be unclear, say House leaders from both parties.

It keeps getting worse: Bruce or Britney?
Douglas Bruce seems a lot like Britney Spears these days. Like Spears, Bruce seems to self-destruct in the spotlight. Bruce and Britney have issues with photographers. Britney chose to date an obtrusive cameraman; Bruce chose to kick one.
More Bruce-inspired music.

Labels: , ,


Major Andrew Olmsted Laid To Rest

"He lived life to the fullest every day. There was never a challenge he did not meet head- on. There was never anything he saw that was too hard for him to take on"--longtime friend Maj. David Willis

A touching video tribute--bring some tissues.

Labels: , ,


January 15, 2008

House To Investigate Bruce Incident, GOP Condemns New Member's Actions: "It Is Not The House Of Bruce"

"This is the House of Representatives. It is not the House of Bruce"--said an angry House Minority Leader Mike May, R-Parker

The expected fallout from the Douglas Bruce saga begins (9NEWS has video of Romanoff and May discussing the Bruce incident):
House Speaker Andrew Romanoff and House Minority Leader Mike May this morning announced the creation of a special committee to investigate Rep. Doug Bruce's kicking of a Rocky Mountain News photographer on Monday.

Bruce this morning called his swift kick more of a "nudge or a tap" but said the House leaders are "entitled to have any committee about any incident that they want."

Romanoff told reporters that he has reviewed a tape of the incident, spoken with Bruce and conveyed his apology on behalf of the House to Rocky Editor, Publisher and President John Temple.

"This is a very troubling development, and I think it warrants further examination, and I think we're both looking forward to the recommendations of the committee before we proceed," Romanoff said.
As John Andrews says, "Deliver us, please, from such friends." Other GOP members felt the same:
"This is the House of Representatives. It is not the House of Bruce," said an angry House Minority Leader Mike May, R-Parker.

House leaders were seeking legal advice on how to investigate the kicking incident, perhaps by convening a panel.

"This won't go unanswered," May said, noting he didn't think chamber rules stated anything specific about kicking. "It's almost incomprehensible that this has happened on the House floor."
Finally, Colorado GOP Chairman Dick Wadhams also denounces Bruce's behavior that diminishes the GOP and his own fiscal reform record:
Having said all that, as the state chairman of Colorado Republicans I must strongly denounce the behavior of State Representative Douglas Bruce.

Representative Bruce’s reputation as a fiscal reformer was terribly tarnished by his refusal to be sworn in last week when the Colorado General Assembly opened because he wanted to guarantee he could potentially serve a full four terms.

House Speaker Andrew Romanoff was absolutely right in not according Representative Bruce the special consideration of being sworn in before the entire House of Representatives.

I am especially proud and appreciative of House Republican Leader Mike May for having the House Republican Caucus vote almost unanimously, 22 to 1, to declare the seat vacant if Representative Bruce refused to be sworn in yesterday. House Republican Leader May and the House Republican Caucus made Colorado Republicans proud with their leadership.

Representative Bruce was absolutely wrong in literally kicking a Rocky Mountain News photographer on the floor of the House. Representative Bruce does owe that photographer and the entire House of Representatives an apology.
Advice to Bruce--suck it up, be a man, and apologize for this crazy outburst.

Exit question--why does Bruce go crazy on the photographer while simultaneously being videotaped by CBS4's camera? If it is rude to be captured in photos while praying, why does filming catch a break?

Labels: , , , ,


Douglas Bruce Gone Wild--Kicks Photographer At Swear-In Prayer, Then Demands Apology--All Following GOP Peer Rebuke

**Updated and bumped**

Don't bring the GOP down, Bruce! (my apologies, first thing that came to mind)

Douglas Bruce's no good, very bad day--entirely the result of his own actions.

“He can take the oath or take a hike"--Rep. Jim Kerr, R-Littleton
Bruce, the author of the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, was criticized by Democrats and Republicans for delaying his swearing-in until five days into the 2008 session and then refusing to take the oath until the full House was present, an unprecedented request for an appointee filling a vacancy.

Speaker of the House Andrew Romanoff, D-Denver, gave Bruce the option to take the oath at four different times but refused to do it while the House was conducting business, setting up Monday’s showdown in the Capitol.

Bruce gave in, taking his seat while only five other legislators were in the chamber, saying he’d made his point that he was being picked on by House leadership.

Right before that, the House Republican Caucus voted 22-1 to ask the House District 15 Vacancy Committee to appoint someone else to fill the seat if Bruce did not take his oath by the end of the day. Members said they needed to send a message that the rules of the House are more important than a single man and that the district needs representation.

“He can take the oath or take a hike,” said Rep. Jim Kerr, R-Littleton.
Other House GOP members (with one notable exception, Rep. Kevin Lundberg, R-Berthoud) took Bruce to task:
"The citizens of his House district need to be represented," House Minority Leader Mike May, R-Parker, said during the caucus, according to the Colorado Springs Gazette. "This can't go on. We can't have this sideshow every day of someone refusing to take the oath of office."
. . .
Rep. Al White, R-Hayden, introduced the resolution, saying the caucus must show Bruce that "no individual is greater than the office we represent or the constituents we represent," according to the Gazette.
. . .
Even Rep. Kent Lambert, R-Colorado Springs, the lawmaker who helped Bruce enter the floor this morning as a guest, voted against him.

"It's the very strong sense of the Republican Caucus that a member who is elected or appointed to fill a vacancy ought to take the oath of office within a reasonable time and begin representing one's constituents," Rep. Bob Gardner, R-Colorado Springs, said after the vote.
. . .
"It's also a sense that no single member of this body, of either party, is larger than the party or the work that we do. This is not about any single individual," Gardner said.

"We believe very strongly as representatives, and it is what I think we were expressing in our caucus today, that we expect people to be present for duty and to represent their constituents," he added. "Even more critical – our party is in the minority and we need each and every vote all of the time," he said.
With Douglas Bruce everything is about Douglas Bruce. Didn't you guys get the memo?

And if his actions up to this morning weren't cause for ensuring permanent minority party status for Colorado's recently floundering GOP, then his subsequent actions sure didn't help.

Following this brave and warranted (and welcome!) rebuke from his GOP peers--obviously fed up with his grandstanding even before he officially joined them--Bruce proceeded to provide even more anti-GOP fodder when, during the ceremonial prayer before his swearing-in, he kicked Rocky Mountain News photographer Javier Manzano while he was taking Bruce's picture--and then demanded that the photographer apologize to him:
Bruce brought a Bible to the Legislature and kicked a photographer from the Rocky Mountain News after the man took his photo during the traditional morning prayer to open Monday's brief session.

Several photographers were taking pictures of Bruce to chronicle his first day as a legislator.

"Don't do that again," Bruce said, then brought down the sole of his shoe hard on photographer Javier Manzano's bent knee.

Denver Post photographer Mark Osler was right next to Manzano when it happened.

"I took two pictures in quick succession and Javier was about to take a picture and Mr. Bruce looked down at him and said something to the affect of, 'don't,' and Javier put his camera down," said Osler. "He put the camera up and took one frame and at that point Mr. Bruce said something to the affect of, 'I told you, don't,' and he kicked him pretty hard."


"How showing a person in prayer is negative, I don't understand. If there's a problem, there's ways of dealing with it that are not kicking another human being."--RMN publisher John Temple

Video shot by CBS4 shows Bruce bowing his head in prayer, the DP and RMN photographers, and finally Bruce kicking Manzano and then verbally reprimanding him.

Bruce remained defiant and chastised the media for even broaching the subject (video of news conference):
"I think the Rocky Mountain News photographer ought to apologize to the House and to me and to all the people whom he disrupted. He needs to get a lesson in manners and decorum," said Bruce. "He was told already not to block the aisle. See you want to make a big deal out of it and again sort of make me out to be the bad guy. He was disrupting a prayer and disrupting a Pledge of Allegiance and blocking traffic and I told him politely not to do it and he insisted on doing it and he ought to be ashamed of himself."

"I said, 'Don't do that,'" said Bruce. "His behavior was reprehensible. He shouldn't be disrupting a public prayer during a House session."
. . .
"He should not have done what he did. You want me to say that 50 times? I'll send you an e-mail. He should not have done what he did. He should apologize to me and to the House," Bruce told the media. "I was trying to stop him from causing a public disruption and I asked him not to do it beforehand. Specifically. I'm glad that he maybe, finally, I hope, learned a lesson."
The other photographer and RMN publisher John Temple argued that Manzano did nothing wrong (agreed, wholeheartedly) and that Bruce's actions were reprehensible:
Osler says the photographers were not violating any rules.

"There's nothing that would have given anybody any cause to think that what was going on was inappropriate. No one else responded to it other than Mr. Bruce," said Osler.

Rocky Mountain News Publisher John Temple said Manzano had a right to take Bruce's picture.

"It's standard and no lawmaker makes the rules of what should occur on the floor. The rules are set by the Speaker of the House and if there's a problem, the Speaker of the House will address the problem," said Temple.

Temple said he would discuss the incident with House leadership.

"The House floor is a place where journalists are allowed to operate. It's outrageous for Mr. Bruce in a public place to assault a photographer," Temple said. "All the leadership that I spoke to were concerned about what the impact this was on the reputation and the image of the House."
. . .
"It was certainly inappropriate and over the top," said Osler. "You have to be able to exhibit restraint when you are operating in the capacity he is and he didn't and I think that's inappropriate."

"How showing a person in prayer is negative, I don't understand," said Temple. "If there's a problem, there's ways of dealing with it that are not kicking another human being."
It appears that the only person on the House floor in need of a good lesson "in manners and decorum" is Bruce himself.

You stay classy, Douglas Bruce.

The Colorado Index--Doug Bruce, the clown

Dem blogs are all over this--and rightly so--and in a rare moment of bipartisanship applaud the remaining House GOP members for taking a stand against Bruce's self-aggrandizement:
SquareState--Doug Bruce assaults Rocky photographer
ColoradoPols--Bruce Goes on the Attack...Literally
Elevated Voices--Colorado’s Top Jackass: Douglas Bruce, Doug Bruce Kicks Photographer at State Capitol

Labels: , , ,


January 14, 2008

Blogs For Borders Video Blogburst 011408

Freedom Folks has this week's latest edition on open borders and illegal immigration.

Labels: , , ,


January 13, 2008

The New York Times, Violence, Vets, And Alleged War Crimes In Colorado

The New York Times (via Instapundit) began a series "War Torn: Across America, Deadly Echoes of Foreign Battles":
A series of articles and multimedia about veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan who have committed killings, or been charged with them, after coming home.
It continues:
Town by town across the country, headlines have been telling similar stories. Lakewood, Wash.: “Family Blames Iraq After Son Kills Wife.” Pierre, S.D.: “Soldier Charged With Murder Testifies About Postwar Stress.” Colorado Springs: “Iraq War Vets Suspected in Two Slayings, Crime Ring.”

Individually, these are stories of local crimes, gut-wrenching postscripts to the war for the military men, their victims and their communities. Taken together, they paint the patchwork picture of a quiet phenomenon, tracing a cross-country trail of death and heartbreak.

The New York Times found 121 cases in which veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan committed a killing in this country, or were charged with one, after their return from war. In many of those cases, combat trauma and the stress of deployment — along with alcohol abuse, family discord and other attendant problems — appear to have set the stage for a tragedy that was part destruction, part self-destruction.
Armed Liberal takes apart the Times' assertion that violence among returning soldiers exceeds that of the same age group who are not veterans and have never seen combat. The blog Democracy Project questions the paper's methodology, as does the Army.

The final story in the opening paragraphs of the Times' piece, however, refers to the alleged murders and other crimes perpetrated by a "ring" of soldiers in Colorado:
Pfc. Bruce Bastien Jr. and former soldier Louis Edward Bressler are charged with first-degree murder in the shooting deaths of Spc. Kevin Shields on Dec. 1 and Pfc. Robert James on Aug. 4. Another former soldier, Kenneth Eastridge, also is charged in Shields' death.
The motives for the two homicides differed:
Investigators believe Shields was killed after a fight with one of the suspects, while James is believed to have been killed as part of a robbery.




What the Times leaves out, however, is the secondary subplot underlying the alleged homicides--the assertion by Bastien that while in Iraq (the men accused all served together) he and Eastridge used stolen AK-47s to shoot randomly at Iraqi civilians, with the type of weapon used giving them cover:
Fort Carson officials confirmed they "immediately" notified military officials in Iraq about allegations of soldiers shooting at Iraqi civilians, but specifics about that investigation were scarce Wednesday.

Military law experts, however, said any criminal investigation in a war zone months after the alleged crime will be especially difficult.

The allegations surfaced in an El Paso County homicide case involving soldiers accused of killing fellow soldiers in Colorado Springs and allegedly committing a wave of violent crimes here in recent months.

"It may be tough," said Eugene Fidell, a Washington, D.C.-based military law attorney and military justice professor. "The trail may have grown cold. But this is the type of thing that has always challenged military investigative organizations."
. . .
After Bastien was arrested in connection with the Colorado Springs homicides, he told a U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command agent that Eastridge would often shoot at Iraqi civilians while the pair patrolled the streets of Baghdad.

"Bastien said that he knows that an Iraqi civilian was struck on at least one occasion," according to a motion filed Tuesday by prosecutors in the Shields homicide. The men used stolen AK-47 rifles commonly used by insurgents so if the shootings were questioned, they could "claim they were taking on hostile fire," Bastien told the investigator.
The Army's investigation failed to turn up anything credible:
A soldier's claim that he and another soldier randomly fired at Iraqi civilians while they patrolled neighborhoods in Baghdad is unfounded, Army investigators said Thursday.

"To date, our investigative processes that we have used have not been able to uncover any credible information or evidence to substantiate the recent allegations," said Chris Grey, spokesman for the Army Criminal Investigation Command.
That the MSM--represented by the NYTimes--would use such anecdotal stories to grind a larger axe, whether against the war, the veterans, or the administration is not surprising. What is surprising is that the MSM has failed to pick up on the alleged war crimes angle presented by these Colorado cases. As with any alleged crime, the accused are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law--it just seems odd, however, that the first thing out of one of the accused's mouth is to assert alleged war crimes violations--perhaps a strained attempt to garner support as victims of precisely the type of "combat trauma" that the MSM is so eager to prove is the cause of a new war-based crime spree? Or, as hinted in one of the follow-up articles, an attempt to frame one of the other soldiers with fantastic stories of shooting Iraqi civilians (the reports in the links above conflict over whether Bastien accused Eastridge of shooting Iraqi civilians, or admitted that they both did)?

Others--Blue Crab Boulevard and JammieWearingFool--question the Times' agenda and smear campaign.

Labels: , ,


Capitalism's PR Problem

The best argument for capitalism is socialism, but it suffers a bit of a PR problem (via Tim Blair):
The problem for those of us who believe that capitalism offers the best chance we have for leading meaningful and worthwhile lives is that in this debate, the devil has always had the best tunes to play. Capitalism lacks romantic appeal. It does not set the pulse racing in the way that opposing ideologies like socialism, fascism, or environmentalism can. It does not stir the blood, for it identifies no dragons to slay. It offers no grand vision for the future, for in an open market system the future is shaped not by the imposition of utopian blueprints, but by billions of individuals pursuing their own preferences. Capitalism can justifiably boast that it is excellent at delivering the goods, but this fails to impress in countries like Australia that have come to take affluence for granted.

It is quite the opposite with socialism. Where capitalism delivers but cannot inspire, socialism inspires despite never having delivered. Socialism’s history is littered with repeated failures and with human misery on a massive scale, yet it still attracts smiles rather than curses from people who never had to live under it. Affluent young Australians who would never dream of patronising an Adolf Hitler bierkeller decked out in swastikas are nevertheless happy to hang out in the Lenin Bar at Sydney’s Circular Quay, sipping chilled vodka cocktails under hammer and sickle flags, indifferent to the twenty million victims of the Soviet regime. Chic westerners are still sporting Che Guevara t-shirts, forty years after the man’s death, and flocking to the cinema to see him on a motor bike, apparently oblivious to their handsome hero’s legacy of firing squads and labour camps.
And today's most self-righteous have flocked to the next-generation socialist ideology:
Environmentalism, too, has the happy knack of inspiring the young and firing the imagination of idealists. This is because the radical green movement shares many features with old-style revolutionary socialism. Both are oppositional, defining themselves as alternatives to the existing capitalist system. Both are moralistic, seeking to purify humanity of its tawdry materialism and selfishness, and appealing to our ‘higher instincts.’ Both are apocalyptic, claiming to be able to read the future and warning, like Old Testament prophets, of looming catastrophe if we do not change our ways. And both are utopian, holding out the promise of redemption through a new social order based on a more enlightened humanity. All of this is irresistibly appealing to romantics.

Both socialism and environmentalism also share an unshakeable belief in their own infallibility, which further ramps up their attractiveness. Both dismiss their opponents as either ignorant (‘falsely conscious’) or in bad faith, and they are both reluctant to allow counter-arguments, evidence, or logic to deflect them from the urgent pursuit of their proffered solutions. Although they both ground their claims in ‘science,’ their appeal is as much emotional as rational, and both take themselves so seriously that they lose any sense of irony. Rockstars fly around the world in private jets to perform at sellout stadium concerts demanding action on global warming, and indignant youths coordinate anti-globalisation protests using global communication networks.
And the intellectuals that harp on the benefits of socialism?
But the best explanation for the intellectuals’ distaste for capitalism was offered by Friedrich Hayek in The Fatal Conceit. Hayek understood that capitalism offends intellectual pride, while socialism flatters it. Humans like to believe they can design better systems than those that tradition or evolution have bequeathed. We distrust evolved systems, like markets, which seem to work without intelligent direction according to laws and dynamics that no one fully understands.

Nobody planned the global capitalist system, nobody runs it, and nobody really comprehends it. This particularly offends intellectuals, for capitalism renders them redundant. It gets on perfectly well without them. It does not need them to make it run, to coordinate it, or to redesign it. The intellectual critics of capitalism believe they know what is good for us, but millions of people interacting in the marketplace keep rebuffing them. This, ultimately, is why they believe capitalism is ‘bad for the soul’: it fulfils human needs without first seeking their moral approval.

Labels: , , , , , , ,


Slapstick Politics January Colorado GOP Poll Results

FWIW a few days ago in honor of the New Hampshire primary I posted a couple of online polls--here were the very unscientific but fun results--interpret them as you see fit:

Thankfully the Ronulans/Paulbots didn't stack the deck.

If there are a similar number of GOP candidates still left on Super Duper Caucuspalooza in a couple weeks, I'll run the polls again.

I've actually thought about doing a marketing-like survey on Colorado--like the ones for my MBA classes--drilling deeper than the usual Rasmussen/SurveyUSA/Zogby polls that like to do crosstabs and ask pretty simple questions. One can discern more from a question, rated on a 1-7 Likert scale, of intensity of feeling for a candidate than a simple, "who would you vote for" type question. Any thoughts?

Labels: , , ,


January 12, 2008

Denver Snow Cover Reaches Record Books For Second Straight Year

Although there was no mention of it until it had passed (all the global warmening that had to be covered, aside from record Christmas Day snowfall), Denver saw 32 consecutive days of snow cover for the second straight year, pushing into the top 10 once again:
Only a trace of snow was measured in Denver Wednesday, ending a 32-day streak with an inch or more of snow on the ground.

December's above average snowfall and cold temperatures kept measureable snow on the ground at the old Stapleton Airport for over a month straight. The streak of snow-covered days was long enough to secure 10th place for consecutive days of snow cover in Denver. At least an inch of snow was measured on the ground in Denver from December 8, 2007 to January 8, 2008.

Every morning observers at the old Stapleton Airport officially measure the amount of snow cover. In an area free of obstructions like trees and buildings, several measurements are taken and averaged to account for melting and drifting. If the average is an inch or greater, it is added to the count. Less than an inch is recorded as a trace amount.

The Denver snow-cover record was set at 63 days between November 26, 1983 and January 27, 1984. Last winter recorded a second-place finish with a 61 day stretch between December 21, 2006 and February 19, 2007.

This year, the 24 days in December and 8 days in January with snow cover came close to a ninth place finish. One more day would have tied the 33 day mark set in 1919.
This comes on top of the news that actually has been covered since late November worries pushed the state's global warming panickers into overdrive following a warm, dry month--the state's snowpack is now uniformly over 100% of the 30-year average in all 8 river basins, with two above 150%, and the state average of 127% overall.

Global warm-mongers routinely cherry-pick evidence to support their claims, and even go so far as to claim that all weather, even unseen-in-a-century snowfall in Baghdad is also evidence of global warming.

For the past two years, early season predictions for Denver and Colorado as a whole have not come to fruition. Before 2006's twin blizzards and subsequent months of frequent snow and cold, Denver was supposed to have three months--December through February--of above average temperatures and little snowfall. Oops.

Same thing has occurred this year. Heavy snowfall over the southwest portion of the state has necessitated Colorado's Division of Wildlife to bail out elk and deer herds without winter forage due to snow cover above 50 inches.

Once again, it is difficult to reconcile reality with global warming conspiracy theories (where all evidence is evidence of climate change, etc.) and the inability to make believable predictions that are correct not just decades or years but just months and days away. There is a reason people poke fun at meteorologists' predictive power (the only job to be correct less than half the time and still be employed!), based as it is on complex computer models that certainly give more advance warning, but can not definitively predict a storm's path or strength. Nature still remains beyond human beings' arrogant attempt to predict or control, making frivolous "doomsday" assertions of climate change catastrophe that much more unpalatable to anyone with a skeptical frame of mind.

The only thing certain about climate is its uncertainty, and our inability to do much about it.

XDA, another Colorado blog, has been following the science of climate change as well.

Labels: , , , ,


January 10, 2008

Colorado Has Cheapest Gas In The Nation

Somehow less comforting when you consider that the cheapest carbon-footprint enhancing, global-warming inducing gasoline in the nation bottoms out at only $2.89:
At $2.891 a gallon, Colorado's average gasoline price Wednesday was the cheapest in the nation.

That's terrific news for drivers, for the second week in a row, according to AAA Colorado. But it could last only until the next refinery or pipeline problem crops up, says Parker petroleum consultant Bill Hougland.
So, only a blip away from runaway prices.


Labels: , , ,


January 08, 2008

Blogs For Borders Video Blogburst 010808

Freedom Folks has the latest.

Labels: , , ,


NH Polls

While New Hampshire has a primary, SP has a Colorado poll--



January 07, 2008

Maj. Andrew Olmsted Spared Insurgents, Drew Sniper Fire

"He didn't want to kill these individuals. He was trying to save their lives"

More details emerge surrounding Major Andrew Olmsted's death
, including insight on a compassionate man and soldier committed to his mission to help the Iraqi people:
A sniper killed Maj. Andrew Olmsted as he was trying to talk three suspected insurgents into surrendering, relatives confirmed Sunday.

A sniper's bullet also cut down Capt. Thomas J. Casey as he rushed to Olmsted's aid during the small arms firefight in Sadiyah, Iraq, on Thursday.

"They were pursuing some insurgents," Casey's brother, Jeffrey, said. "Major Olmsted got out of his vehicle and was pleading with these three individuals to stop and surrender so that the team would not have to fire upon them and kill them."

"Unfortunately, there were snipers in the area, and apparently that's when Major Olmsted was hit," Jeffrey Casey added. "He didn't want to kill these individuals. He was trying to save their lives."
. . .
Army officers relayed a brief account of the gun battle after they informed Casey's father, John, that his son was dead. Olmsted's father, Wes, also confirmed the account.

The fact that Olmsted tried to talk rather than shoot first wasn't surprising, his father said.

"That's him," Wes Olmsted said. "As a warrior - as my wife would call him - he never really wanted to fire his weapon as his first option. Now, I kind of wish he did."
Capt. Casey's heroism in going to his fellow soldier's aid knowing they both were being fired upon by unseen sniper(s) should also not be forgotten:
Olmsted, 38, and Casey, 32, were the first two U.S. casualties of 2008 in Iraq. A third soldier, Sgt. 1st Class Will Beaver, was wounded in the neck during the gun battle, Jeffrey Casey said.

Casey said he and his father were golfing in Albuquerque on Thursday when his father let out an anguished howl after listening to a voice-mail message on his cell phone informing him that three Army officers were waiting at his door.

In stunned disbelief, Jeffrey Casey e-mailed Olmsted, hoping against hope that the officers who had come to the family's door were somehow mistaken.

"If you get this and the information turns out to be false, please have Tom contact us as soon as possible," Casey wrote, unaware that by then Olmsted also was dead.

On Sunday, the younger brother said the Army's account made sense, based on what he knew about Olmsted through his blog and what he knew of his brother.

"Absolutely, from what I know about Major Olmsted, I firmly believe that's the way it went down - and from what I know about my brother, I absolutely know that was the way it went down."

"Tom was just a stand-up individual. He always had his family's back, and in this case, his family was his (Army) team."

Labels: ,


Election '08--Colorado's Bloggers Analyze Iowa, Critique The Debates, And Back Their Favorite GOP Candidates

For the first week of 2008, the conservative blogosphere in Colorado has issued prognostications, offered analysis, and revealed who they think the frontrunners are (or should be). A few have even endorsed their primary candidate, or more importantly, detailed who they won't be voting for should that candidate receive the GOP nomination.

Michael at Best Destiny insightfully details more ground that ALL of the GOP candidates should be steadfast in not ceding to the Democrats this election cycle.

Mr. Bob at the Daily Blogster explains
his (well-reasoned, IMO) to back Mitt Romney, and also his distaste for the over-the-top antics of radio personality Hugh Hewitt.

Jim at ThinkingRight also believes that Romney is the best of the leading candidates, and has analysis as well.

Meanwhile, Ben DeGrow remains a FredHead for as long as he sticks in the race.

Clay Calhoun, after an extended blog hiatus, offers his rundown of the marathon two-party debate Saturday evening--he likes Fred and Huck, can't stand Romney or Giuliani, and thinks McCain will get the GOP nod.

Phil Mella at ClearCommentary takes Barack Obama's foreign policy philosophy to task--would we be safe (from external threats/attacks) with Obama in the White House?

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,


January 05, 2008

Major Andrew Olmsted, RIP

Major Andrew Olmsted, 38

From the Rocky Mountain News, where he blogged (video, Major Andrew Olmsted explains his reasons for service and his training assignment, and comments from his wife, Amanda; RMN slideshow):
He was the first 2008 casualty in Iraq. And a small part of Maj. Andrew Olmsted likely would've chuckled at that fact. It would be droll and play into his sense of self-deprecation.

But for everyone else, the news would be devastating.

Amanda Wilson, his wife of 10 years, could barely talk Friday. The notifying officers came to her door in Colorado Springs on Thursday to tell her that Olmsted's unit had been ambushed and that he was dead. Also killed was Cpt. Thomas J. Casey, 32, of Albuquerque.

It was small-arms fire, they said. The gaping blackness after that moment seemed to suck away all the words, leaving only soft sobs in their wake.

"I know," she said quietly when condolences were passed on to her.

Her mother, who was flown in Friday to help, also was having trouble with the news. "She's trying to be brave," Wilson's mother said.

Olmsted, however, asked everyone to avoid being maudlin. And he asked everyone via a blog, of course. The 38-year-old soldier based out of Fort Carson was a prolific blogger - including one he did steadily for the Rocky Mountain News dating back to May.

Always prepared, the former Eagle Scout asked a friend to post a blog in the event of his death.

"I'm dead. That sucks, at least for me and my family and friends," he wrote. "But all the tears in the world aren't going to bring me back, so I would prefer that people remember the good things about me rather than mourning my loss. (If it turns out a specific number of tears will, in fact, bring me back to life, then by all means, break out the onions.)"

A longtime friend and fellow soldier stationed at Fort Dix, N.J., laughed. "That's him all right," Maj. Dave Willis said.

Then he did what Olmsted asked him not to do. He cried.
Major Olmsted left behind the pre-written "Final Post" to be published in these circumstances (this is a mere excerpt, read the whole thing):
I suppose I should speak to the circumstances of my death. It would be nice to believe that I died leading men in battle, preferably saving their lives at the cost of my own. More likely I was caught by a marksman or an IED. But if there is an afterlife, I'm telling anyone who asks that I went down surrounded by hundreds of insurgents defending a village composed solely of innocent women and children. It'll be our little secret, ok?

I do ask (not that I'm in a position to enforce this) that no one try to use my death to further their political purposes. I went to Iraq and did what I did for my reasons, not yours. My life isn't a chit to be used to bludgeon people to silence on either side. If you think the U.S. should stay in Iraq, don't drag me into it by claiming that somehow my death demands us staying in Iraq. If you think the U.S. ought to get out tomorrow, don't cite my name as an example of someone's life who was wasted by our mission in Iraq. I have my own opinions about what we should do about Iraq, but since I'm not around to expound on them I'd prefer others not try and use me as some kind of moral capital to support a position I probably didn't support. Further, this is tough enough on my family without their having to see my picture being used in some rally or my name being cited for some political purpose. You can fight political battles without hurting my family, and I'd prefer that you did so.

On a similar note, while you're free to think whatever you like about my life and death, if you think I wasted my life, I'll tell you you're wrong. We're all going to die of something. I died doing a job I loved. When your time comes, I hope you are as fortunate as I was.
Major Olmsted blogged about his experiences in Iraq, and the RMN did a background intro back in June.

Obsidian Wings:
Andy was a wonderful person: decent, honorable, generous, principled, courageous, sweet, and very funny. The world has a horrible hole in it that nothing can fill. I'm glad Andy -- generous as always -- wrote something for me to publish now, since I have no words at all. Beyond: Andy, I will miss you.

Labels: , ,