March 31, 2008

Blogger To Challenge GOP Stealth Candidate

A week ago I linked to news from blogger Joshua Sharf of a stealth GOP candidate, anti-Israeli non-conservative Rima Barakat Sinclair, and joined in calling for others to step up and challenge her positions and prevent the nomination from becoming automatic.

Well, Joshua himself has taken up the challenge and declared himself a candidate for Colorado House District 6:
So, after casting about for a candidate to challenge Rima Barakat Sinclair, a candidate who's a legitimate conservative, reasonably articulate, with a history in the party, and a record of promoting free markets, personal liberty, and limited government, a group of us has finally hit on...er, me.

Yes, I'll be spending my summer just about the last way I thought I would, petitioning on to the ballot to force a primary, and then going on to represent the party in the fall election.

No, the blog's not going away. If anything, it's going to become more important, as a sounding board for ideas and issues. And as important as this race is to me, what profiteth it man if he gain the nomination and lose his personality?

If you'd like to contribute time or, eventually, money, drop me a line here or at my email, jsharf@jsharf.com, and you can be plenty sure I'll get back to you.

The adventure begins.
Fellow blogger Ben DeGrow has already endorsed Joshua, and I will add my own words of support.

Joshua's blog
may serve as an initial introduction, but from my own personal experience he is a man of integrity, strong conservative principles, and an outstanding GOP candidate. His economic knowledge is extensive (as you will discover on his blog), but his wit and insight reveal an intelligent and circumspect individual--a rarity among candidates on either side of the aisle.

As Ben points out, House District 6 is a Democrat stronghold--this is House Speaker Rep. Andrew Romanoff's seat, after all (he's term-limited)--so this isn't about politics.

It's about principles.

If you are so inclined, you should drop Joshua an email. What he needs now are "boots on the ground" to collect signatures in HD-6 (you have to a registered Republican).

Good luck to Joshua. I'll keep you updated as his campaign progresses.

Here is a look at State House District 6, smack dab in the center of Denver County (click to enlarge):

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Rocky Mountain News Endorses The Blogger Protection Act Of 2008, And You Should Too

Freedom of speech may cost you dearly if you blog--you could find yourself subject to campaign finance law regulating "public communications."

Fortunately, in a surprising editorial from an MSM source, the Rocky Mountain News endorses the forthcoming Blogger Protection Act and addresses why, with the First Amendment, it should even be needed:
Maybe you're thinking of setting up your own blog to comment on the affairs of the day. By all means, join the fray. But please make sure you don't run afoul of a judge who considers your opinions a political contribution that should be regulated by federal campaign law.

We're not joking. This nation that so enshrines free expression still hasn't decided for certain whether bloggers should have the same leeway that, ahem, newspaper editorials and other traditional forms of opinion enjoy. Fortunately, Congress will soon have an opportunity to give Web blogs more durable First Amendment protection.

In the coming days, Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Tex., is set to introduce The Blogger Protection Act of 2008. The bill would enact in law regulations that were handed down two years ago by the Federal Election Commission regarding bloggers and campaign finance laws.

The FEC has twice attempted to protect Internet users from the strictures of campaign law, as it has exempted newspapers, broadcasters and other more traditional media outlets. But because these rules have been reversed once by a federal judge and could be overturned in another legal challenge or by a future FEC, a statute is needed. We hope the Blogger Protection Act becomes law.

The reason the FEC got involved to begin with was - you guessed it - the deeply flawed McCain-Feingold campaign finance law. That act regulates "anything of value used to influence an election," including "public communications." This lets the government determine whether a particular form of communication is either a contribution or an expenditure and subject to the limits of the finance law.

So does that mean a blogger who posts some snarky comment about John McCain's age or Hillary Clinton's hairdo is making a contribution to an opponent's campaign? How would such a message be valued in monetary terms? By the number of hits the page receives? By the number of comments posted by readers?

It shouldn't be. And in 2002, the FEC seemed to resolve the problem when it exempted from the law pretty much any information transmitted over the Internet.
The fact that the issue remains unresolved is most troubling, but since this has effects for all corners of the blogosphere, both left and right, it should be easy to build momentum for the bill.

What is amazing is that we need to debate this at all. The FEC and the courts have no place in regulating politically-related speech on blogs. We applaud the RMN's lead in bringing awareness of the issue, at least for Colorado's political community and especially its bloggers.

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Blogs 4 Borders Video Blogburst 033108

Freedom Folks has this week's latest.

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March 30, 2008

Titanic Battle Rages On As Democrats Race Toward DNC

No, not Hillary Clinton vs. Barack Obama. An identity battle.


“The Democratic Wild West at Denver”//Edward Windsor Kemble//Harper's Weekly//July 4, 1908, pp. 18-19

It seems that Democrats can't quite decide just exactly how the Democratic National Convention host city should be marketed:
How to portray the West?

For a party hoping to pick up the battleground states of Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico, Denver's selection as host of the 2008 Democratic National Convention offers plenty of positives. But focusing on Old West symbols to appeal to rural voters risks alienating the many metro-area residents who are more at home on a bicycle or a scooter than on a horse riding the range.

"Yes, I sense a tension," said Mark Squier, the producer responsible for crafting the political messages displayed inside the Pepsi Center, where the convention is to be held. "It's going to be a bit of a tightrope walk, balancing off the new and the old of the West."

A crystallizing example of the tension occurred this month in a heated, behind-the-scenes dispute between officials with Denver's host committee — the locals responsible for bringing the convention to town — and the major sponsor of the event's biggest party, the so-called Media Welcoming Party.

Mindful of the power of Old West symbols, U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette of Denver wanted to stage an exhibition rodeo during the party. U.S. Sen. Ken Salazar, a ranch owner from the San Luis Valley usually seen in boots and a white Stetson, wanted a cattle-drive parade like the one that begins the annual National Western Stock Show.

William Dean Singleton, publisher of The Denver Post and chief executive of MediaNews Group Inc., one of the nation's largest newspaper chains, threatened to pull his financial support from the media party, saying he didn't want the media's first impression of Denver to be that of a "cow town," several sources familiar with the dispute confirmed.
And I thought that the Democrats had bigger problems to be worried about.

I guess not.

Besides, Westword has been using a cow on its annual "Best of Denver" issue for years.

When Howard Dean led the call for naming Denver the site of 2008's DNC, it was with an eye to repositioning the Democrat's "brand"--something distinct and in-touch with voters inside the more "metropolitan" coasts--and not a simple rehash of East and Left-coast liberalism or its associated imagery. This was to be the opportunity for choosing a candidate at the foot of those "purple mountains'majesty" in an increasingly "purple" state.

When the local hosting committee can't agree on what "message" will be conveyed--how the host city will be framed from a marketing viewpoint to the residents of that same city--one detects that like their rival candidates' struggle for the nomination, there is a battle raging within the party at a much deeper level, something they don't want to admit. Nice to see that it is not just the Republicans who are experiencing a bit of an identity crisis.

As we can see from the cartoon nearly a century ago, not much has changed in the way of perceptions in the 100 years since the city last hosted the Democrats' nominating convention. Denver may still be a "cow town" in many ways, but she won't be a one-trick pony.

Drunkablog has a similar take, and notes that Recreate '68 may do some "branding" all on its own.

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"Earth Hour" Futility, Google Hypocrisy Revealed

**Update--Earth Hour Denver timelapse and video:


As you can tell, not much was turned off. About the only participants in Denver were the Hard Rock Cafe and the Denver Convention and Performing Arts Center:
The Hard Rock dimmed lights inside and out. It was joined by the Virgin Megastore and Lucky Strike Lanes, which turned off their huge neon signs. Meanwhile, the marquee of the nearby Paramount Theater shone bright.

The Paramount wasn't alone, as businesses up and down the mall, both big and small, kept lights blazing, operating in the dark when it came to Earth Hour.


However, nonessential lights were turned off in the City and County Building, the Wellington Webb Municipal Building and the Denver Performing Arts Complex.

And at the Northfield Stapleton shopping center, some restaurants planned to serve customers by candlelight.
. . .
Power savings in the Denver area were expected to be modest. Xcel Energy said that lighting accounts for about 7 percent of home energy use, so that savings from people turning off lights will be only a portion of 7 percent, depending on how many households participate.
That'll stave off climate change. But it's the gesture that counts, right?

As I read on another blog (and can't remember where), we each voluntarily perform "Earth Hour" every night--by going to bed and turning off the lights and electronics inside the house.

This pathetically empty symbolic gesture achieves nothing more than assuaging global warmenist guilt. If it were really that important, these measures would become mandatory. How long is it before "Earth Hour" observations become energy controls, with fines and punishment for profligate consumers (except the limousine liberals, of course)?

Wait. I shouldn't be giving them any ideas . . .
"We applaud the spirit of the idea, but our own analysis as well as that of others shows that making the Google homepage black will not reduce energy consumption. To the contrary, on flat-panel monitors (already estimated to be 75% of the market), displaying black may actually increase energy usage. Detailed results from a new study confirm this"--Google, on turning its screen black, which it is doing once again for "Earth Hour"

Earth Hour's site is currently running slowly, no doubt due to traffic:



Moonbattery highlights Google's hypocrisy and black-screen futility--the color change saves no energy, as Google itself admits:
Reducing climate change by saving energy is an important effort we should all join, and that's why we're very glad to see the innovative thinking going into a variety of solutions. One idea, suggested by the site called "Blackle" (which is not related to Google, by the way, though the site does use our custom search engine), is to reduce energy used by monitors by providing search with a black background. We applaud the spirit of the idea, but our own analysis as well as that of others shows that making the Google homepage black will not reduce energy consumption. To the contrary, on flat-panel monitors (already estimated to be 75% of the market), displaying black may actually increase energy usage. Detailed results from a new study confirm this.
The Drunkablog has a fun bunch of links to Tim Blair (from down under, who is tracking the event around the world), who is combatting "Earth Hour" moonbattery with the "Hour of Power", and a roundup of local MSM cheerleading coverage.

Ed Morrissey has much more on Google's hypocrisy at Hot Air.

Earth Hour's "Ten Things to do in the Dark" (annotated):
Host a Green Party

Get your friends together for an Earth Hour eco-party. Fire up the flashlights and battery lanterns, serve organic food, avoid the disposable utensils, use natural décor (like flowers and hanging plants) and have a friend provide acoustic music. Talk to your guests about how you’re each reducing your environmental footprint and share ideas and solutions for saving more energy, money and carbon dioxide.
--Yes, have all of your friends DRIVE to your EH eco-party. Be sure to have them charge those batteries ahead of time--you are using rechargeables, aren't you?

Give Yourself an Energy Makeover

Use Earth Hour to make your home more energy efficient: Replace your old light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs; install power strips (so you can turn computers and electronics on and off more easily); and change your air conditioner filters. Or go one step farther and install one new energy-efficient item, like an EnergyStar qualified DVD player. And on Monday, call your local utility and sign up for green power—like wind, hydro or solar.
--Replace incandescents with CFLs--and don't worry about all that harmful mercury. Make sure to find the most expensive alternative source of energy--you are committed, aren't you?

Go Green with Your Kids

Earth Hour is a perfect time to talk to your kids about the environment and why we need to protect our planet from the dangers of climate change. Check out books on the environment from the library and read by flashlight, or head into the yard and have a night picnic. Or how about a night of board games? There are even Earth Hour kids’ activities you can download at www.earthhour.org.
--Indoctrinate the future polluters Educate your kids, and make sure they properly fear climate change. Al Gore says so.

Do a Recyclables Scavenger Hunt

Get your flashlights and scour your cabinets and shelves for cans, bottles and cardboard (like cereal boxes) that you don't normally recycle. Make a list of all the non-recyclable containers you’re using now (like plastic shopping bags and butter tubs), and figure out ways to reduce your consumption of items that end up in landfills. One easy tip: get reusable grocery bags...and reuse them!
--Recycle, recycle, recycle--make it your mantra! Find more expensive, organic alternatives for all of your consumption. Or ELSE.

Green That Workspace!

Working the night shift? Even if you can’t turn off all the lights at work, look around and see what you can unplug, turn down or use less of (like consuming less paper by printing double-sided). Every day millions of computer screens and speakers are left on overnight—shut ‘em off! And talk to your coworkers about what they can do to help make a difference too.
--Conduct surveillance on your wastrel colleagues and report them immediately! You can also afford to strain your eyes by turning off all those annoying lights.

Involve Your Local Leaders

If your city or town isn't already hosting an Earth Hour event, ask your local government to set up a community "green" discussion in a public building from 8 to 9 p.m. on March 29. Help organize attendance by reaching out to local environmental and community groups, and come prepared to ask your leaders what they’re doing to make your city greener.
--Enforce your views on your neighbors by insisting local government bend to your every demand. Make sure to eliminate all dissent. Shame those who dare to ask questions.

Clean Up Your Neighborhood

Grab a flashlight and take a long walk through your neighborhood, picking up trash and recyclables as you go. It's a great chance to do some stargazing too!
--Make sure to do it in the dark, so that picking up trash can turn into a game of "name that trash!"

Unplug and Chill Out

Most of our daily activities—like watching TV, shopping online and texting friends—require loads of electricity, but do we really need to do so much stuff all the time? Take one hour for yourself to just chill...turn off the screens, put down the handheld devices and just take some "you" time to reflect, read or talk to your family. After all, why do more when you can do less?
--Yes, read in the dark. It's easy if you try. Or better yet, sleep. Recreate the conditions of bedtime, when you normally turn off all the lights/appliances/electronics . . . um, yeah, basically do what you do EVERY night. That'll make it EXTRA symbolic.

Take Your Temperature

Your thermostat and your refrigerator are responsible for a huge portion of your carbon footprint. If you lower your thermostat by just 2 degrees and set your fridge to 37° F. and the freezer at 0° F., you'll make a big difference.
--Doable. It is Spring or Fall around the globe, and so you won't exactly freeze or swelter.

Make a Pledge for the Planet

Earth Hour shouldn't end at 9:01 pm—it's a chance to take a first step toward lowering your overall impact on the environment. So use part of that hour to make a personal pledge to do more—recycle, drive less often, remember to turn off or unplug electronics, and beyond. The only way we're going to stabilize our climate is if we make real changes in our everyday lives. That change begins with Earth Hour, and ends with a healthy planet.
--Rather than waste your time on symbolic gestures that accomplish nothing but make you feel really, really good about yourself, make a plan to actually conserve in a meaningful, sustainable way. We don't actually want you to return to the Stone Age, now, do we?

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March 29, 2008

Blogging And Transparency

Ben DeGrow has an interesting post detailing liberal RMN columnist Jason Salzman's call for full blogger disclosure--in the name of credibility and a sense of separation from "professional journalism standards."

As I commented on Ben's blog, coming from the MSM–where editorials are unsigned, wire stories often unbylined, and even named writers obscure, often omitting any semblance of identity or disclosure, and even rather poor "journalistic standards"--it seems awfully arrogant to demand “full disclosure” from bloggers.

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"How The West Will Be Lost: Democrats' Strategy To Turn The Mountain West Blue, And What Libertarians And Conservatives Can Do About It"

"We lost our values. We lost our way"--Jon Caldara, president of the Independence Institute




Left to right: Ryan Sager, Jim Pfaff, Brad Jones, Jon Caldara and Gene Healy

There was an AFF Roundtable in Denver on March 26 entitled "How the West will Be Lost: Democrats' Strategy to turn the Mountain West Blue, and What Libertarians and Conservatives Can Do About It"--featuring Jon Caldara, president, Independence Institute; Jim Pfaff, president, Colorado Family Council; Ryan Sager, author, Elephant in the Room: Evangelicals, Libertarians and the Battle to Control the Republican Party; Gene Healy, senior editor at the Cato Institute and author, Cult of the Presidency: America's Dangerous Devotion to Executive Power; moderated by Brad Jones, Facethestate.com.

Topics included:
Have Republicans and the Religious Right put more libertarian-leaning mountain states up for grabs?

Looking at the primaries, does Huckabee's success indicate the growing or waning influence of evangelicals in the Republican Party?

Does Ron Paul's fundraising success indicating a growing influence of libertarians? And what to make of McCain?
Face The State had a recap of the evening:
At a Wednesday night event moderated by Face The State's Managing Editor Brad Jones, libertarians and conservatives came together at the Oxford Hotel for a panel discussion on what can be done to save the American West from a Democrat takeover. The conclusion: Republicans face an uphill battle due to serious fractions within what was once a solid coalition.

Jim Pfaff, president of the Colorado Family Council, opened the dialogue by talking about the social conservative issues that evangelicals hold dear, including ending abortion and fighting the effort to recognize safe-sex partners as married. Calling himself a "Christian libertarian," Pfaff attempted to present an optimistic and united outlook on the ability of social conservatives and libertarians to unite for this November's general election.
. . .
Gene Healy, a senior editor at the libertarian Cato Institute in Washington, D.C. expressed concern with the fact that too many conservatives have bought the liberal line that the president should "be a soul nurturer, life coach, buddy and supreme warlord of the earth."

Healy said people should “abandon the false idol of partisanship” because according to his analysis, history demonstrates that one-party rule in Washington results in spending rates three times greater than when control of the three branches of government is split between the two major parties.
Ryan Sager's post-discussion analysis was decidedly pessimistic, reflecting the commentary of the gathering:
CHEERED as Republicans may be by the Clinton-Obama wars, the fact is that long-term trends still favor the Democrats this fall. To see the problem, consider the interior West - the eight states between the Midwest and the Pacific Coast: Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming.

This week, I spoke at a panel put on here in Denver by the America's Future Foundation, a youth-oriented libertarian-conservative group. The topic: "How the West Will Be Lost."

In fact, having heard my fellow panelists' takes on the situation in Colorado and the rest of the region, the use of the future tense looks optimistic: The GOP is already well on its way to losing the West.

The reasons were well summed up by the president of Colorado's Independence Institute and a popular conservative radio talk-show host in the state, Jon Caldara: "We lost our values. We lost our way."
. . .
As Caldara put it: "Colorado is, in fact, the test tube of how to export liberal expansion to the Western states." A moderately conservative state has been turned Blue, Caldara says, because of "the absolute demolishing of what the Right stood for, how the Republican Party turned into something it was never meant to be and went away from Barry Goldwater, Ronald Reagan ideas."

Of course, Democrats have worked hard to capitalize on the Republicans' carelessness. Liberal groups funded by folks like billionaire Quark founder Tim Gill have turned discontent into votes. And now they have a model to use in the rest of the region.
Face The State may have a podcast of the event up in the next few days, and when they do, it'll be linked here.

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SDS Joins Call For Shutting Down Republican National Convention; Bash Back! Radical Trans And Queer Convergence To Crash RNC

**Update--Radical Trans and Queer Convergence--who believe that gay marriage is nothing more than "heteronormative" oppression, will be having a planning meeting next week for "crashing" the Republican National Convention (reminded by Gateway Pundit, from an earlier post):
Bash Back! Radical Trans and Queer Convergence Update.

On Saturday, April 5th radical Trans and Queer people from the midwest and beyond will be gathering for a series of workshops about regarding the strategy for the RNC, queer/trans militant history, current radical trans/queer/anarcha-feminist resistance, self defense, diy sex toys, etc.
. . .
The second day, Sunday, we will have an all day organizing session for plugging into the three tiered strategy to Crash the RNC. We will also be discussing other potential actions during the RNC and we may have a break out session for people who want to discuss the DNC.

Those attending the, “Bash Back! Convergence” organizing session for Crashing the RNC must agree to the Points of Unity put forward by Bash Back! Chicago. While we understand and respect all groups organizing against the Republican and Democratic National Conventions in the name of furthering the LGBTQ cause, it is important that our actions at the RNC have a unified message. These points of Unity do NOT mean that Bash Back! refuses to work with groups who disagree. They are simply what we as a group believe and we want the messaging of our actions to reflect that.
POINTS OF UNITY

Members of Bash Back! must agree to:

1. Fight for liberation. Nothing more, nothing less. State recognition in the form of oppressive institutions such as marriage and militarism are not steps toward liberation but rather towards heteronormative assimilation.

2. A rejection of Capitalism, Imperialism, and all forms of State power.

3. Actively oppose oppression both in and out of the “movement.” Racism, Patriarchy, Heterosexism, Sexism, Transphobia, and all oppressive behavior is not to be tolerated.

4. Respect a diversity of tactics in the struggle for liberation. Do not
solely condemn an action on the grounds that the State deems it to be
illegal.

Students for a Democratic Society plans on using blockades and preparing for "self-defense" to shut down the RNC this September:
For SDS, the call to shutdown the RNC offers a tremendous opportunity to plug into what will likely be a major mobilization. Under the direct action strategy being discussed, SDS chapters can participate in this shutdown by selecting and utilizing the tactics with which they are most comfortable. The direct action framework will allow SDS chapters to work with those engaging in similar tactics, both within and outside SDS. Finally, chapters are free to theme their actions how they see fit and there could conceivably be SDS actions highlighting everything from the occupation of Iraq to the rising cost of tuition. Regardless of the themes and tactics chosen, imagine the excitement that we would all feel if SDS held down a few intersections and played a key role in shutting down the RNC...

To that end, we are calling on SDS chapters to both endorse and participate in a three-tiered system for disrupting the RNC on its opening day. At a gathering of over 100 anti-authoritarians from around the country in August of 2007 (facilitated by the Twin Cities based RNC Welcoming Committee), the following direct action strategy was adopted to shut down the RNC:
"Tier 1: Blockade the Xcel Center - Establish 15-20 blockades utilizing a diversity of tactics, creating inner and outer rings around St. Paul's Xcel Center.

Tier 2: Immobilize Delegates' Transportation - Immobilize the delegates' transportation infrastructure, including buses, bus depots, etc.

Tier 3: Block Connecting Bridges - Block the five western bridges connecting the cities.
Those plugging into this strategy will be free to shape their actions as they see fit, using the tactics they consider appropriate. As the specific blockade sites are established, some sites may be designated "red zones" (prepared for self-defense), "yellow zones" (peaceful but assertive), and "green zones" (no risk of arrest) so as to accommodate a wide variety of creative tactics. The RNC Welcoming Committee is currently considering these zones and laying out specific blockade sites. Once these details are finalized they will be made public, and locals will be available to provide specific information and pictures of intersections, bridges, and other relevant locations to people that would like them."
Recreate '68 and Unconventional Action have called for similar harassing/disruptive tactics at Denver's Democratic National Convention, though not on the scale envisioned for the RNC.

Just give them some time.

For more on the moonbats' plans at both DNC and RNC conventions, peruse the archives.

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In Schaffer v Udall Battle, Coloradans Offered Clear Choice



"The two likely candidates in this year's U.S. Senate contest, Rep. Mark Udall, a Democrat, and former Rep. Bob Schaffer, a Republican, served side-by-side in Congress from 1999 through 2002. Over those four years, they cast 2,036 votes together, often on symbolic or non-controversial matters. And yet they still managed to disagree more than half the time - 1,078 times, to be precise"--Rocky Mountain News

As the Rocky Mountain News points out, Senate candidates Bob Schaffer and Mark Udall are as different as night and day:
If you think Rep. Mark Udall, a Democrat, and former Rep. Bob Schaffer, a Republican, disagree on 1,000 different things, that's close.

From 1999 through 2002, when they worked across the aisle from one another in the U.S. House of Representatives, they cast opposite votes a whopping 1,078 times.

That long and detailed record makes the 2008 contest a rarity in state politics. Not since 1986, when Democrat Tim Wirth faced Republican Ken Kramer, have two one-time House colleagues gone head-to-head in a U.S. Senate race.

"Talk about a paper trail. This is a paper trail that leads into the Rockies for this Senate race," said Norman Provizer, a political science professor at Metropolitan State College in Denver. "They represent two very differing views on all kinds of issues. If you look at it from an issue perspective, they aren't Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum."

The Rocky Mountain News analyzed all 2,036 congressional votes, big and small, that Schaffer and Udall cast during their four years together in the House. It's more than enough to keep the ad-makers on both sides busy in the run-up to November.
Fair use prevents a lengthier quotation (the article is quite long and extensively researched), but here are a few highlights:
Schaffer's stance is first, Udall's second

Military issues

* IRAQ WAR: Resolution authorizing use of force against Iraq. (Oct. 10, 2002) YES NO

* SPENDING: An amendment that would have imposed a 1 percent, across-the-board cut on military programs. (May 18, 2000) NO YES

* RECRUITING: Amendment to education spending bill that would have prohibited funds from being used to block military recruiting at secondary schools. (June 13, 2000) YES NO

Homeland security

* ANTI-TERRORISM LAW: The anti-terrorism law, the Patriot Act, first enacted in the weeks after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. (Oct. 12, and Oct. 24, 2001)YES NO

* ARMING PILOTS: Legislation to allow airline pilots to carry guns in the cockpit as a defense against terrorism. (July 10, 2002)YES NO

Education

* SCHOOL CHOICE: Amendment to the proposed "No Child Left Behind Act" that would have allowed students from low-performing schools, or crime victims from "unsafe schools," to choose to attend private schools using public funds. (May 23, 2001)YES NO

Taxes

* BUSH TAX CUTS: Approval of White House-backed tax cuts of the "Economic Growth and Tax Relief Act of 2001." (March 8, 2001)YES NO

* TAX LIMITS: A proposed constitutional amendment requiring two-thirds majority votes to approve new tax increases. (June 12, 2002)YES NO
Takeaways?

This contest pits candidates from rival parties that present a clear difference in viewpoints. The common charge that most candidates in any election are "basically the same" can simply not be applied in this case.

Schaffer-Republican-Conservative

Udall-Democrat-Liberal

The move to the "middle" where both sides believe the election will be won features an unaffiliated voting bloc poised to become the largest pool of registered voters in Colorado. Schaffer acknowledges that the state's tilt has been blue since 2004; Udall realizes that he is not the "moderate" that either Sen. Ken Salazar or Gov. Bill Ritter were (or purported to be) when they ran statewide.

The most recent poll shows both candidates within the margin of error (Udall leads 46-43), a clear toss-up, in spite of the MSM's continued meme that the seat is really Udall's to lose.

The votes revealed (or re-revealed, in some cases, for those political junkies who have been following this blog) will be the subject of campaign fodder, political ads, and 527 mudslinging for the next 7 months.

The only thing that can be agreed on--the stature and importance of this race. Republicans see the seat as an opportunity to roll back further losses due to retirement and a generally unfavorable political climate that has persisted since 2006. Democrats envision not only a pick-up, but an advance toward the potential 60 vote filibuster-proof supermajority.

Exit question: with Republicans settled on Sen. John McCain as their nominee, and the Democrats witnessing a fierce race rage on between Senator Hillary Clinton and Senator Barack Obama, which candidate stands to benefit from their respective party's nominee? Who is helped more, or flipping that proposition, who is hurt the least?

**Update:
Ryan Sager is rather pessimistic about the GOP's chances in the "interior West" unless Sen. Hillary Clinton is the nominee, but Daniel Larison has a different explanation for the region's recent trend to blue, and asks--is it really a recent development, and can short term trends be extrapolated into long term outcomes?

Cross posted from Schaffer v Udall

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March 28, 2008

Howard Dean Worried Clinton-Obama Battle Hurting Dems' Chances In November

**Update--by July 1st.

And he wants a nominee before the Democratic National Convention in August:
Democratic Party chief Howard Dean says Barack Obama, Hillary Rodham Clinton and their supporters should beware of tearing each other down, demoralizing the base and damaging the party's chances of winning the White House in November.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Dean also said he hopes the Democratic nominee will be determined shortly after the voting ends in early June and that he will encourage the superdelegates who will play a role to make up their minds before the August convention in Denver.

Dean said the charges and countercharges between Clinton and Obama have gotten too personal at times. He declined to say how they have crossed the line, but he said he's made it clear privately when it has happened.

"You do not want to demoralize the base of the Democratic Party by having the Democrats attack each other," he said Thursday during the interview in his office at Democratic National Committee headquarters. "Let the media and the Republicans and the talking heads on cable television attack and carry on, fulminate at the mouth. The supporters should keep their mouths shut about this stuff on both sides because that is harmful to the potential victory of a Democrat."
The only ones frothing with negativity right now are the Democrats--apparently Dean's theory that only Republicans and pundits are part of an attack machine is failing, miserably.

The demoralization has already begun. And telling supporters to "keep their mouths shut" so as not to create disarray?

So much for free speech in the Democrat party.

It's not gonna look good to have a Presidential loss on your resume, is it now Dean?

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Slapstick Politics Exclusive: John McCain Press Conference In Denver

“We have united our party. We are now going to have to reenergize our party, and energize them for a very, very tough race this November”--Sen. John McCain

Updated and bumped . . . scroll for analysis . . .


Sen. John McCain, flanked by former Congressman Bob Beauprez, Congresswoman Marilyn Musgrave, Senate candidate Bob Schaffer, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, and Sen. Wayne Allard

Exclusive to the blogosphere, at least. Your humble Slapstick Politics was invited to cover the John McCain press conference today as part of the RNC's eCampaign Division outreach. Having new media incorporated into the campaign represents quite a leap forward, at least for the GOP.

Also there, Jeremy Pelzer of PolitickerCo.com, a bookmark-worthy independent online source of political news in Colorado.

The entire press conference, unedited:

Part 1:



Part 2:



If YouTube is acting up, the video is available at Sevenload: sevenload.com


One of the questions from the conference will continue to follow McCain throughout the election--how can he mend fences with the conservative base who isn't particularly enthralled with their presumptive nominee, and appeal to Republicans in the Rocky Mountain West who overwhelmingly selected Romney over McCain in the primaries? And what about that old Reagan coalition--is it dead?

McCain knows that his strength--if it can be called that--lies in his projection of the "maverick" theme he has so carefully cultivated, while making sure that he also projects some semblance of acknowledgement of the concerns within his party over areas where McCain is believed to have strayed. The new term "McCain-ocrats" has been put forth as the new column of supporters, coming primarily from the Democratic ranks fed up with their destructive Clinton-Obama primary, as well as center-left leaning independents who might not usually even give the GOP candidate a look, but will now since the nominee is McCain.

With Colorado's rapidly increasing unaffiliated voting bloc soon to surpass the state's registered GOP voters, McCain's nomination could put more of that segment in play--or at the very least stem the tide of tilting Democratic that has delivered almost every recent state and federal level election in Colorado to the Democrats. Democrats need the help of independents to beat their GOP counterparts who enjoy a large voter lead, and anything that prevents a landslide split (60-40 for Democrats and higher) will at least ease those concerns.

Romney did win Colorado's GOP caucus, but the caucus itself was open to registered Republicans only. Had center-right independents, libertarians and conservative Democrats been allowed to vote, it is not clear that Romney would have received comparable results (and given McCain's 1st amendment issues with campaign finance reform, this might not have helped with some of these voters). Now, however, the nomination is settled and Republicans and conservatives alike are rallying to the GOP nominee's side, as they were at this press conference and subsequent fundraiser. Just a little over a month ago, Bob Beauprez and Sen. Wayne Allard were behind Romney during a campaign stop, arguing that he was the best candidate for Colorado and the party. This is politics, however, and as soon as the Democrats finally settle on their choice for the White House, there too will be calls for "bridging gaps" and "coming together."

So when the Democrats and the left target Senate candidate Bob Schaffer for comments he made about Sen. McCain last year that appear critical, ask them how they will handle their party's own squabbles, name-calling, and vitriol. If Schaffer can't offer his opinion and then change/modify/alter it, then it will be tough (even for Democrats) to see either Obama or Clinton offering their support for each other, once the nomination is decided. And the attacks we've seen between those two this primary season make any tension between Schaffer and McCain pale in comparison.

As for uniting the conservatives--social and fiscal conservatives and their center-right, libertarian allies--McCain has a tall order ahead. He does enjoy the benefits of receiving the nomination early, and the ability to make policy, introduce legislation, and continue (at least) a non-offense campaign that might make some of the early defectors at least open to looking at him again. He can also help himself with a strong conservative VP choice, and many have speculated that the duo seen here, McCain and Romney, might be the eventual GOP ticket. The disadvantage to a long road to November is the possibility of committing a serious gaffe or proposed policy choice that just confirms voters' suspicions about where McCain's true loyalties lie.

Bottom line, McCain is the nominee. Once voters outside of the Dems really pay attention to either Clinton or Obama, they may just be scared enough by their socialist/liberal/progressive agendas to give the senator a second look. Just look at McCain's favorability rating versus either Clinton or Obama. His favorability has been increasing, and is now holding steady in the mid-50s.

Exit question: with the Democrats so deeply embroiled in and embittered by the Clinton/Obama struggle, and McCain up on both candidates in some polls already, will the Dems be even more inclined to lash out come this fall, or watch helplessly as a small percentage of their faithful defect to McCain and potentially give him victory? In the battleground states, these margins may prove the critical difference in the electoral vote count in November.

More from the press conference:


An empty podium awaits the candidate's arrival


The MSM sets up their equipment

From PolitickerCO:
Two 2008 Republican presidential winners arrived in Denver Thursday: John McCain, the presumptive nominee, and Mitt Romney, the overwhelming Colorado caucus winner.

Their goal: to rally Republicans behind McCain in a state where he won only 19 percent of caucusgoers and most major GOP leaders backed Romney or Rudy Giuliani.

“We have united our party,” McCain proclaimed at an afternoon press conference in the Comfort Inn in downtown Denver. “We are now going to have to reenergize our party, and energize them for a very, very tough race this November.”

Asked how he would win over Romney voters in Colorado to his side, McCain motioned towards Romney and said, “I think that he can do a much better job convincing them than I can.”

Romney made it clear how he wanted Coloradans to vote in November.

“I support (McCain) enthusiastically, endorse his campaign and hope that my friends here in Colorado are just as active in supporting him as they’ve been in supporting other great candidates in the past to make sure that we have the kind of leadership America needs at a trying time,” Romney said. “It’s so critical for us not to be talking about politics as we’re watching the Democrats do and process, but instead to be focusing on the direction of this great land.”
Local MSM coverage--
The Rocky Mountain News featured Colorado Democrats on the attack:
Sen. John McCain arrived in Denver this afternoon to make a few remarks and pick up some campaign cash as a part of his swing through the Western states that have become increasingly attractive targets for Democrats.

But before he could utter one word at the Brown Palace Hotel, Democrats launched a pre-emptive strike — getting state party chairs from Nevada, Arizona, Utah and Colorado to blast the presumed Republican presidential nominee during a conference call.

Leading the charge was Colorado Democratic Chairwoman, Pat Waak — with a little bit of swagger.

“We think John McCain is the best candidate we could be running against as Democrats,” she said.

She cited his campaign cash shortage, his getting trounced by fellow Republican Mitt Romney in Colorado’s GOP caucus by a two-to-one margin and that Democrats have registered far more voters than Republicans in the last year.
The Denver Post had a note on the protestors at McCain's fundraiser following the press conference:
About 20 protesters appeared outside the DAC Thursday afternoon to protest McCain's appearance.

They chanted "stop foreclosures" and "McSame as Bush" and "McShame" as the candidate walked through the small throng and entered the front door of the club.
You can watch a video of the protestors outside the Denver Athletic Club.

9NEWS has a short video report at 5pm and a longer follow-up at 10pm (video), and Channel 7 has the story as Romney and McCain traveled from Salt Lake City.

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March 27, 2008

DNC Names Security Chief; "Peace" Activists Turning Violent?

From the Drunkablog.

Not that there will be any trouble.

Maybe.

Also via Drunkablog, "peace" activists increasingly angry--meaning violence?

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Schaffer V Udall Named Best State Political Blog For Colorado By Washington Post's "The Fix"

First edition of the WashPost's "Best State Political Blogs"



From Chris Cillizza's WashPost blog, The Fix:
Blog Roll: The Best of State Political Blogs

During The Fix's semi-vacation last week, Fixistas for were asked to chime in with their favorite state-based political blogs. We've found over the last few years that these state-based blogs are often the best repositories for good links and good analysis about races up and down the ballot.

As expected, the Fix community responded, offering links to a blog (or blogs) from 24 states. You can find all of those links after the jump.

But we're only halfway there! The goal of this project is to have at least one good state-based blog in each of the 50 states. We've still got 26 to go. So, if your home state (or adopted home state) isn't mentioned below, sound off in the comments section and help us get all 50 states covered.

One other caveat before we get to the list. The sites listed on the next page come from recommendations by our readers. Many of these blogs have a clear partisan lean. We are not endorsing the views expressed in any of these blogs; rather; The Fix is seeking to serve as a vessel of our readers' likes and dislikes.

Disagree with any of the blogs we have cited? See a state mentioned but its best blog missing. The comments section awaits.

Without further ado, here's our best of the state blogs!
If you haven't taken the time, there are some really great state-level blogs. Check them out.

As we expect this "best of" ranking to evolve over the course of this year's campaign, and openly welcome the addition of other Colorado blogs from either side of the aisle, it is clear that we have our work cut out for us. Special thanks to my colleagues Ben DeGrow and a watcher for leading the way on the blog.

We'll keep you informed at Schaffer v Udall--do drop in, send us tips, or leave us your quips.

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Colorado Shooter Matthew Murray Update--Obsessed With Satan, Child Pr0n


A photograph of Matthew Murray's bedroom was released by investigators on March 27, 2008. (Arvada Police)

Another update (click for archives) on Colorado church shooter, Matthew Murray:
An investigative report on the shooting at the Youth with a Mission Training Center paints a dark picture of the gunman responsible, showing how he was obsessed with both Satanic and religious texts and filled his computer with pornography, including child porn.
They don't teach that in homeschool.

More:
Matthew Murray's room was "in disarray," the report said. Officials found ammunition but no explosive devices. There was a book called "Practical Homicide: How to Survive a Tactical Shooting." Other books found were on witchcraft, Satanism and the Masons. The books were "clearly visible," the report said.

The Arvada police report indicates that experts found more than 500,000 images on Murray's computer, including adult pornography, child pornography and homosexual pornography.

He had downloads about Columbine gunmen Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris, the Platte Canyon School shootings and the Virginia Tech shootings. Experts later did a forensic analysis of the computer and found 444 connections to Columbine. There were 33 to Virginia Tech.

Investigators found a map of the location of a CTI co-worker's residence. Murray had been laid off from Central Telecom Inc., police said, and there had been conflicts there between Murray and his co-workers.

There also was a map for a "gnostic Mass" scheduled for the evening of Dec. 8.

The service was organized by Ad Astra Oasis, a gnostic organization that had asked Murray to distance himself from the group.
500,000 images!

The new reports begin to complete the picture of a life and mind in disarray, and the premeditated effort to lash out.

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Geert Wilders' "Fitna" Released

Hot Air has the video.

Michelle Malkin has a roundup
, and a list of other blogs supporting Wilders' film.

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Well-funded Muslim GOP Candidate With Ties To Bush Finds Himself In Hot Water

This story has it all--an aspiring Muslim Republican star in the state of Colorado, family connections to President George W. Bush, temporary restraining orders for hacking his girlfriend's computer, and Kobe Bryant's law firm . . .


Ali Hasan, 27, is popular with old-school Republicans partly because he has two key resources not easy to find in state legislative candidates: time and money. (Preston Utley, Vail Daily News)

Back in January, Westword featured the bright, well-heeled rising GOP star Muhammad Ali Hasan:
"I'm not old and white," Ali replied. "I have brown skin and I have a strong Muslim background. I'm not from the Front Range. These guys say, 'We see these things as advantages and not disadvantages.' The fact that you came here shows me that you are not afraid to promote me. It says that you accept these things about me. I'll do my best to win 56. People will say, 'This is the party of open-minded, inclusive people.'"

The audience clapped wildly, and an older woman in the foyer wagged her finger in excitement. "Yeah! Yeah!"

As the crowd broke up, Ali stayed behind to shake hands with the legislators, two of whom would follow him to Avon that evening for another town hall meeting. It had been a "notch" morning in his words, a day that he gained legitimacy with the Republicans — and didn't compromise himself while doing it.

"I want to change the Republican Party," he said later. "And it's easier to do that when the Republican Party is supporting you."
And his parents--the source of Ali Hasan's wealth?
Hasan lives in a $10 million Beaver Creek mansion with his parents, who made a fortune in the health-maintenance-organization business and have been willing to part with significant sums for the Republican Party.

Ali's father, Malik, is a Bush Pioneer, one of the party's elite national fundraisers. Ali and his mother, Seeme, created Muslims for Bush, and the family home is dotted with pictures of the Hasans with the current occupant of the White House.
Now for the soap opera-like drama:
The race for House District 56 should have been a bright spot in state Republicans' effort to retake the legislature: They had found a candidate, Muhammad Ali Hasan, who is young and articulate and had both the time and money to wrest the seat from Democrats.

But then Hasan's campaign publicist and former girlfriend filed for a temporary restraining order against him, alleging that he tried to hack into her computer and tracked her whereabouts after their personal relationship soured.

Hasan, the scion of one of the state's biggest Republican fundraisers, countered by hiring the same high-priced law firm that defended basketball star Kobe Bryant in a sex-assault case.

The publicist, Alison Miller, dropped her effort for a permanent order but said it was under heavy pressure from prominent Republicans who cared more about the party's image than possible inappropriate behavior by its well-heeled candidate.

And the issue may still end up in criminal court.

The whole thing has made for tit-for-tat coverage in the local media, turning 2008 into one of the most bizarre local campaign seasons many people in Eagle County can remember — and it's only March.
This should be a really interesting election cycle.

You just can't make this stuff up--I'll be keeping an eye on this story.

At least this GOP candidate has some conservative credentials, unlike Rima Barakat Sinclair, an anti-Israeli, pro-choice stealth candidate put on the ballot by the GOP in Denver.

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Anti-War Moonbats Ink Record Deal

Denver anti-war rally regular Jonny 5 of the Flobots:



More Jonny 5 about 5:45 in, but watch the whole thing to see some Raging Grannies sing, and poet SUZI-Q call for Lockheed Martin to be destroyed:



The sellout is complete--at least the label will be "sensitive" to the group's second life as "full-time activists":
The Flobots, a Denver hip-hop troupe with an activist-oriented philosophy, have signed a major label deal with Universal Republic Records, a division of Universal Music Group.

The band signed with Universal Republic on Tuesday, capping a trip to Los Angeles that included a gig at the Troubadour that acquainted the group with its new label and booking agency, they told The Denver Post in an exclusive interview today.

"When the majors started approaching us, we never really saw ourselves signed to major label," said bass player Jesse Walker. "We never believed that we would get the things that we really needed on a major. But when Universal approached, more so than any other label, they made an effort to try and understand who we are as a band."
. . .
"We got a very progressive record deal," said guitarist Andy Guerrero. "It's allowed us to be full-time activists and musicians, which is pretty amazing."
. . .
It helps, too, that the label is as excited about the band's nonprofit organization, Flobots.org, as they are. The organization will link bands and fans with custom-made volunteering opportunities, and "the idea that we can take this to a national platform, combining music and activism that way, was something we couldn't pass up," said Jonny 5. "I really do think that this band's success is one manifestation of a larger movement that's going on out there. We're hungry for hope and change, and we're seeing that manifesting in different ways right now."
Now the rest of country can enjoy the inane moonbat hip-hop stylings of the Flobots.

Enjoy.

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March 26, 2008

Quote Of The Day 032608

Classic:
"If you found out that you only had six weeks to live, you would want to spend it with Doug Bruce – because every day would seem like a lifetime" -- Rep. Jim Kerr, joking about fellow Republican Rep. Douglas Bruce whose droning floor speeches dominated much of the endless budget debate Wednesday.

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Denver's César Chávez Parade--2008 Edition

This year's planned march (click to enlarge):



From last year--when amnesty, La Raza and flags of Aztlan made an appearance:


Marchers chant familiar slogans: ¡Si, Se Puede! and ¡Un pueblo unido, jamas sera vencido!

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March 25, 2008

Anti-Discrimination Colorado Civil Rights Initiative Now Amendment 46

The good news (via Michelle Malkin):
Today the Colorado Civil Rights Initiative received notice that the Secretary of State has determined that the Colorado Civil Rights Initiative has submitted enough signatures to gain access to the November ballot.

"I am delighted that the people of Colorado will have a chance to vote Yes for fairness and equality in November," said Valery Pech Orr, co-proponent of the initiative. Linda Chavez, also a proponent of the Initiative continued, "The people of Colorado will finally have the opportunity to say no to discrimination, ending the decades-long double standard that has been fostered by race- and gender-based preferences."

Ward Connerly, national advocate for equal rights, congratulated the Colorado Coalition on their success, "The people in Colorado who have the desire to end race and gender preferences are to be commended for their success." Connerly continued, "I am delighted that the Super-Tuesday for Equal Rights effort has achieved another milestone towards success in November."

The Colorado Civil Rights Initiative is a state constitutional amendment that will appear as Amendment 46 on the November 2008 ballot. A "Yes" vote on this initiative will ban discrimination and preferences based on race, gender, national origin, color, and ethnicity in state hiring, state contracting, and state education.
Ben DeGrow has a roundup, and includes his endorsement.

More to come as the election season progresses--the key will be to see how the opposition decides to challenge this Amendment in Colorado--attack the messenger (Connerly), or the message. There will be no shortage of vilification and the threat of "opening old wounds," or the cries of "institutional racism" and accusations of "right-wing bigotry."

Also, what effect will teh Democrats' eventual nominee have on this issue, playing as Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama both have on gender and race. The way that Colorado's unaffiliateds break will certainly be crucial, but also important will be the turnout of the base of both parties, for this and any of the other ballot initiatives.

Exit question: will it be the agenda that has coattails, or the parties' respective candidates? Or will the votes be independently decided, not along party lines, but through principles--from a generally "independent" Colorado voting population?

Hard to tell, but an interesting thought experiment, nonetheless!

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Dem Superdelegate Mini-Convention To Precede Denver's Democratic National Convention?

Interesting, but unlikely in any format or scenario. Last week, Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen proposed a mini-convention--a caucus of super-delegates--to resolve the Democrats' internecine nomination battle:
WE Democrats have a problem, but it’s one we can fix.

We are blessed with two fine candidates, but it’s entirely possible that when primary season ends on June 3, we will still lack a clear nominee. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton could each still believe that the nomination could be his or hers at the national convention in Denver in August.

In that situation, we would then face a long summer of brutal and unnecessary warfare. We would face a summer of growing polarization. And we would face a summer of lost opportunities — lost opportunities to heal the wounds of the primaries, to fill the party’s coffers, to offer unified Democratic ideas for America’s challenges.

If we do nothing, we’ll of course still have a nominee by Labor Day. But if he or she is the nominee of a party that is emotionally exhausted and divided with only two months to go before Election Day, it could be a Pyrrhic victory.

Here’s what our party should do: schedule a superdelegate primary. In early June, after the final primaries, the Democratic National Committee should call together our superdelegates in a public caucus.
Of course, Denver's MSM is a little slow on the uptake, and had this story today, obviously with the angle of the proposed June super-delegate caucus usurping Denver's role as host for the Democratic National Convention:
Talk is building in some Democratic circles that the party needs to hold a "mini-convention" of super-delegates shortly after the final caucuses and primaries in early June to settle on a nominee before a prolonged battle takes a politically fatal toll on the eventual nominee.
. . .
"I think what we should do is try to get the super-delegates together, once the primaries are over in June, and see if we can't come to some resolution as to who the nominee is, and then spend the summer not fighting each other," and preparing to elect a Democratic president, Bredesen said in an interview Tuesday.
. . .
Bredesen said such a meeting could not - for obvious reasons - take place in Illinois or New York, and might best be staged somewhere neutral with easy airport access, such as Dallas and Atlanta.

"I don't want in any way to take away form the convention in Denver. I really want to make it more successful," said Bredesen. "Obviously, the convention in Denver would have more drama if we were all fighting each other tooth and nail.

"But I'm much more interested in electing a president, than keeping all the reporters happy in Denver, with a dramatic fight going on."

Bredesen admitted that Democratic National Committee Chair Howard Dean is lukewarm to the idea. DNCC spokeswoman Natalie Wyeth, said organizers of the Aug. 25-28 Democratic National Convention in Denver are not taking Bredesen's idea seriously, and expect the lone gathering of suer-delegates will be the one long scheduled to take place on the floor of the Pepsi Center at the end of August.
Ann Althouse correctly diagnoses the problems with this plan:
It sounds like a very sensible idea, which is why my sense is that this won't happen. Think about why not. One candidate or the other stands to benefit from waiting until August, and that candidate and some number of her supporters will resist the caucus. How can it happen without widespread agreement?
. . .
If it's possible to do this, isn't it possible to line up the superdelegates behind the scenes and force them to make firm, public commitments? That would achieve the same result. Also, if you have this assembly when the nominee is still unknown, you're inviting strong partisans to a huge national stage — it will be far more dramatic than any political convention we've seen in our liftetime — and who knows what bloody chaos will play out?
Democratic National Convention chair Howard Dean has pretty much crushed the idea, but that isn't likely to quell calls for pre-DNC resolutions to the Democrats' nomination woes.

Who knew the road to Denver's Democratic National Convention would be so complicated--and oh so interesting?

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Recreate '68 Organizer Glenn Spagnuolo Profiled; Radical Convention Preparations Continue

In an article about him that he says he doesn't want to be about him, Recreate '68 spokeshoncho Glenn Spagnuolo receives even more time in the spotlight (via Drunkablog, who has a more thoroughly analyzed and deconstructed take on Spagnadoodle's hagiography):
The self-described eternal optimist who believes that revolutionary politics are the best way to address a government that "needs to be completely eliminated and replaced" is sipping on a morning coffee at the Gypsy House Cafe, doing his absolute best to avoid being profiled in a newspaper he doesn't have much use for.

Not that Glenn Spagnuolo is being rude about it. No, his tone is downright cordial as he explains he doesn't want to be "some fluff piece." He insists that "the media tends to make leaders" and "I don't want to get caught in the cult of personality stuff" because "I'm interested in the issues being covered, not me."
Quit hogging the media, Glenn. The other "revolutionaries" are getting jealous.

Meanwhile, protestors will be tuning up for the DNC and RNC by getting their radical funk on in the coming months (Drunkablog has the schedule), including this networking gem you won't wanna miss:
People's Networking Convention: August 15-17, Madison, Wisconsin - The People's Networking Convention, or the PNC, will provide a space for discussion and debate of non-elections based organizing. The event aims to create an atmosphere of support and collaboration in our efforts against the government's domination and the injustices that come with an exploitative economy. It will be an opportunity for face-to-face dialogue and discussion related to grassroots democracy in our communities. Speakers invited include Howard Zinn, Derrick Jensen, bell hooks, Starhawk, and Ward Churchill.
Yippee!

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"RNC Welcoming Committee" Moonbats Order Tasers For Protestors

Don't tase me, protestors!

Oh goody! The group describes themselves as "an anarchist/anti-authoritarian organizing body preparing for the 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota."

Can Denver's Recreate '68 be far behind?
RNC WELCOMING COMMITTEE ORDERS TASERS FOR EVERY PROTESTOR

MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL - The RNC Welcoming Committee (RNC-WC), an anarchist and anti-authoritarian organizing body based in the Twin Cities, announced today that it has ordered tasers for each of its members and friends. The announcement comes on the heels of last month’s St. Paul City Council approval of a St. Paul Police Department (SPPD) request for 234 tasers. Due to a unique corporate-anarchist confidentiality agreement, the exact number of tasers or documentable evidence of this new order will not be disclosed.

Both the SPPD and RNC-WC taser orders are scheduled to arrive before the September 1 so-called Republican National Convention (RNC) in St. Paul. However, “The RNC Welcoming Committee’s order of tasers has absolutely nothing to do with the upcoming Republican convention,” said Ann O’ Nymmity of the RNC-WC. “These deadly, yet humane, weapons are needed simply to protect the safety of members of our community on a day-to-day basis. The timing is purely a coincidence.”

Last month, St. Paul police spokesperson Tom Walsh made similar statements to the Associated Press, saying that in regards to the RNC, his department’s purchase is “in no way related [to the timing of the RNC in St. Paul]. It simply isn’t.”

During scheduled protests of the RNC, local police and federal agents are likely to get violent. In Minneapolis last August, police used tasers and pepper spray to attack a nonviolent Critical Mass bike ride which coincided with the “pReNC”, a weekend of radical organizing in preparation for the RNC.
. . .
Once the RNC-WC order is finalized, the St. Paul Police Department will no longer have a monopoly on the weapons that have been implicated in hundreds of deaths nationwide, including the killing of a Fridley man by Minnesota State Troopers in January.
So much for non-violence and non-confrontation. "Ann O'nnymity"--how clever.

Should be loads of fun in St. Paul!

Of course, even moonbats have their limits:
The Welcoming Committee has no plans to purchase machine guns, rubber bullets, pepper spray, tear gas, concussion grenades, batons, water cannons or helicopters, all of which will be at the disposal of local police and federal agents in September.
In this day and age, we are obligated to take the protestors at their word.

Looks like the escalation at both the RNC and DNC is proceeding apace.

Update-looks like Moonbattery has this as well today, and has a good comments section going.

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March 24, 2008

St. Paul Sued By RNC Protestors Over Parade Route, More RNC Updates

The host city of the Republican National Convention has its own set of moonbats:
Local antiwar groups filed suit in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis Monday seeking an injunction to order the city of St. Paul to grant a route for a demonstration on Sept. 1, the first day of the Republican National Convention.

Accusing city officials of violating protesters' free speech, the suit says those officials frustrated their efforts to get a march route from the State Capitol to Xcel Energy Center and back to the Capitol.

Named in the suit are Mayor Chris Coleman, St. Paul Police Chief John Harrington and his assistant chief, Matt Bostrom, who is in charge of security for the convention.

"City officials are not keeping their promises or upholding city ordinances, and that is what brings us here today," said Jess Sundin, a spokeswoman for the Coalition to March on the RNC, standing in front of the U.S. Courthouse with a group of protesters and lawyers to announce the lawsuit.

"The only thing standing between the Republicans and a massive antiwar protest on September 1 is the ill will of the city of St. Paul, namely Mayor Chris Coleman and Assistant Police Chief Matt Bostrom," she said.
The RNC will also put a strain on cell phone and data transmissions, so companies are beefing up their capacity.

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Anti-Israel Islamist GOP Candidate Nominated For Colorado House District?

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot!?!?

Meet Rima Barakat Sinclair, here are her views on Israel--

"Occupation," "land-grabbing," "imprisonment," "baby-killers":



Joshua Sharf broke the news (via Ben DeGrow, Face The State):
The Republicans in State House District 6 in Denver are about to make a terrible mistake. At their Assembly on March 1, they nominated a terror apologist, and an avowed enemy of Israel, with no credible conservative credentials as their candidate to succeed Rep. Andrew Romanoff. Her name is Rima Barakat Sinclair.

Mrs. Barakat Sinclair is a local Muslim activist, who 1) works to discredit Israel and for its destruction, 2) has a stated goal of getting Muslims involved in the political process, and 3) builds alliances with mainline and liberal American churches, and leftist political organizations. When engaged in anti-Israel propaganda, she usually goes by Rima Barakat. When engaged in broader political work, she goes by Rima Sinclair, as she did at the Assembly.

When asked questions about terror, she responds with moral equivalence, and then proceeds to outright fabrications. In order to discredit MEMRI, practically the only English-language source covering Arab Friday sermons broadcast on state media, she magnifies small discrepancies into malicious conspiracies. She claimed, on air, that the Hamas Charter does not call for the destruction of Israel.
. . .
Her activities may not always have been so benign towards America herself. She served as a translator for CNN during the opening weeks of the Iraq War, a time when American and British soldiers and Marines alike were disgusted by the network's coverage ("A Front-Row Seat to the War in Iraq," Rocky Mountain News - April 14, 2003).
So how does a woman with an initial track record like this get nominated by the GOP?

Prevarication, of course:
In order to get the nomination, she represented herself at the District Assembly as pro-life. However, she has been quoted publicly contradicting that, "Sinclair, too, shares concerns about homeland security. She also likes parts of the Democrats' social platform. 'I would like to have a president who is pro-choice,' she says."("Colorado Muslims Aspire to Become a Political Force" - Rocky Mountain News - August 14, 2004)

In fact, a Google search for Mrs. Barakat Sinclair turns up no op-ed, letter to the editor, or press release, on any subject other than Israel or the Middle East. While it may be fine to have a cause, this monomaniacism seems to have precluded her from any public statements on issues likely to be of interest to Colorado voters in a state legislative election. There is simply no public evidence of a conservative mindset, however defined, or any evidence that she has thought deeply or even at all about such issues as education, immigration, water, health care, taxes, energy, regulation, or individual liberty.

The irony is that she probably could have gotten on the crowded Democratic ballot merely by being honest. On the Republican side, she had to travel in cognito.
Sinclair's nomination is not a given, and what is needed now is some publicity--especially blogs, to force her to clarify her positions on Israel and statements about being pro-life:
Republicans deserve a candidate who has a coherent conservative philosophical grounding for his policy views. They deserve a candidate who has spent years thinking and writing about relevant issues and governing approaches. Republicans deserve a candidate who is in step with their party's unwavering opposition to radical Islam and support of our democratic ally Israel.

Fortunately, the nomination is not yet set in stone, and there is still a chance to petition a more appropriate candidate onto the ballot.
Face the State has more on her potential political influences and economic leanings--she is apparently the contact person for an article distributed by Voice of Revolution, a self-described "Publication of the US Marxist-Leninist Organization.

Yep, a real fine Republican candidate.

Exit question: will the local MSM pick up on her candidacy, or will the veil of silence be extended because she is a Muslim?

Joshua has more--"we're not electing an Imam, as the saying goes, we're electing a state representative."

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Colorado Voter Registration And Party Affiliation--March Update

From the Sec. of State's office, these updated figures for March 2008 of Colorado's voter registration numbers and party affiliation:
Democrats--893,472
Unaffiliateds--1,008,675
Republicans--1,015,993

Since February 2008:
Democrats +7,849
Unaffiliteds +5,672
Republicans +2,527
The trend since January 2004:



Takeaways--the rapid trend for the state's unaffiliated ranks continues, as Republican recovery rate lags behind that of both unaffiliateds and Democrats since early 2007.

It will also be important to watch the numbers heading into the summer, and especially the final two reports--September and October--following the Democratic National Convention. Should Recreate '68 and its allies create the disruption and mayhem they are so eager to achieve, it may not matter if unaffiliateds have overtaken Republicans as the largest voting bloc in Colorado. Voter backlash against the Democrats could be considerable statewide, if not nationally, especially if the Democrats add insult to injury by having a heated, brokered convention.

Stay tuned.

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Professor: Groups Protesting 2008 Denver DNC "Peaceful, Creative"

A political science professor (University of Florida) has met the activists planning to disrupt Denver's DNC and says their agenda is, like, totally "non-violent":
Despite threatening words from one of the groups planning to protest during the 2008 Democratic National Convention, most of the anti-war protesters eyeing Denver this summer are peaceful and creative, an expert says. [Riiight--ed.]

Glenn Spagnuolo of Re-create 68 said Thursday that city officials were "creating a very dangerous situation" after the convention host committee was selected by lottery for a Civic Center park permit for the eve of the convention. He said his group would not "give up" the park for its demonstrations, which he hopes draw 50,000.

R-68 has been meeting with groups such as United for Peace and Justice, which organized 500,000 protesters for the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York City, and CodePink, a women's movement against the war that is another top-tier organizer.

"None of the mainstream organizations have any agenda like property damage," said Michael Heaney, a political science professor who has studied the anti-war movement since 2002 and who was in Washington, D.C., last week observing the many protests marking the fifth anniversary of the war.
No agenda for violence or property damage? Then why "Recreate '68"?
"What they are planning on doing is peaceful protests," Heaney said. "Basically their objective is to get media attention for their issues. They want to demonstrate to the Democratic Party that they have support for their positions."
Wow. You need a PhD to come to that conclusion? Thanks Captain Obvious.
R-68 organizers were furious Thursday when a party planner for the Denver committee hosting the convention won — in a random lottery — the right to a permit for Civic Center on Aug. 24, the Sunday before the convention starts. The convention runs Aug. 25-28.

The organizers want to start an anti-war march at the park and continue to the Pepsi Center, which is to serve as the convention hall.

Heaney met Spagnuolo and R-68 organizers Mark and Barbara Cohen in Atlanta this summer during a convention of progressives, and found them serious and well-organized. He said he thinks that, depending on the nominee and whether the convention will be brokered, Denver could expect between 10,000 and 50,000 anti-war activists.
Plus the assorted moonbats who have other agendas. Denver's DNC won't just be a target for the anti-war crowd.
Anti-war organizers say that if Sen. Barack Obama is the nominee, they expect much lower protester turnout at the Democratic convention. Heaney, who has surveyed the movement, says four of five anti-war activists support Obama.

CodePink's co-founder, Medea Benjamin, greatly doubts the 50,000 figure and says an Obama nomination could reduce interest to but a couple of thousand. Then again, Benjamin said: "We don't feel that either of the candidates will get us out of Iraq without strong pressure."

"(House Speaker) Nancy Pelosi will be the queen bee at the convention, and she has really disappointed us," Benjamin said.

Benjamin met with Spagnuolo in Denver several weeks ago and toured Civic Center and other sites. She said Denver's host committee shouldn't get the park and agreed with R-68's plan to occupy the grounds, but stressed CodePink would do so without violence.
Determining numbers this far out is pure speculation. The Democrats' own intraparty squabbles and the evolving campaign itself will only play one part in determining protestor levels. Given the activists' proclivity to inflate their own numbers, and the MSM's eagerness to play along, just a few thousand protestors could easily become "tens of thousands" in media reports.

And besides, it only takes a handful of crazy moonbats to stir up trouble.

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Blogs 4 Borders Video Blogburst 032408

Freedom Folks has this week's latest edition:
Election 2008: Is there a candidate for us?

100% Preventable! Americans continue to pay the bloody price for open borders.
When will the madness end?

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MSM Frenzy As War Toll Hits 4000; Profiles Of Colorado's Lost Heroes

With each name I say a prayer--for the soldiers and their families--and praise their sense of honor and duty to country.

Here are a few of the many names, from the earliest part of the war to the end of December, 2006 (from the Rocky Mountain News)--the bios paint a small but touching picture of each soldier's life, and the link includes a list of those from Colorado killed in the line of duty, as well as those stationed at Fort Carson:
Thomas Slocum, 22, Thornton

Rank: Marine Lance Cpl.

Died after an ambush near Nasiriyah, March 23, 2003.

Bio: "He had no fear," said his mother, Terry Cooper. "He was ornery and always pushing the envelope." Slocum grew up in Thornton and graduated from Skyview High School in 1998. Asked to name his favorite subject in high school, Cooper said, Slocum answered without hesitation: "Girls. Definitely girls."

Randal K. Rosacker, 21, Alamosa

Rank: Marine Cpl.

Died after an ambush in Nasiriyah, March 23, 2003.

Bio: As a boy, Rosacker explored the outdoors, returning home with his pockets filled with new friends.

"He used to catch everything in the river near our house," said his father, Navy Command Master Chief Rod Rosacker, of San Diego.

When he turned 18, the stocky football star had a U.S. flag and bald eagle tattooed on his bicep.
. . .
David R. Staats, 30, Colorado Springs

Rank: Army Staff Sgt.

Died after an explosion in Taji, Dec. 16, 2006.

Bio: Staats' first tour in 2002 was spent in Kuwait. The next year he was sent to Iraq. He then left the military but decided to re-enlist.

"He didn't like civilian life," said his sister, Bethany Staats. "He liked the military; that was his life. It was in his blood." Staats leaves behind a wife and two children.

Seth M. Stanton, 19, Colorado Springs

Rank: Army Pfc.

Died after a bombing near Baghdad, Dec. 17, 2006.

Bio: Stanton had been in Iraq only eight weeks when he was killed. "He could have chosen to go to college. He could have chosen to get a better job, but he chose to stand in harm's way for the sake of others," said the Rev. Mel Waters, a Vietnam veteran who presided at Stanton's service.
The NY Times has an interactive listing of all those killed. A tour of Denver's Fort Logan National Cemetery elicits a quiet understanding and appreciation of the sacrifice of the soldiers who keep this country free:
A world away, dogs bark and traffic hums along city streets. Geese fly overhead, honking and wheeling over Memorial Lake. Beneath their wings all is still, as it always is. Nothing moves but the wind because stillness — motion and quiet — is the way of Fort Logan National Cemetery.

But in that stillness, 93,000 simple eulogies are whispered from the headstones. Especially the newer ones, the headstones that mark the final resting place of 17 men killed in the Iraq War — 17 who are part of the 4,000 men and women whose lives have been taken in combat. It is the latest milestone of staggering loss. Until another, sadder milestone replaces it. And it will. That is the way of war.
. . .
The ground between the graves is mottled with patches of dirty snow, precocious nubs of green grass, and pine cones. All sound — geese honking, cars moving, earth-moving equipment sculpting the land into new burial ground — is gently absorbed by a calm that isn't so much vacuum as vessel. Periodically, the vessel tips and the sound is poured out.

Particularly one sound. A sound that has free rein.

Most days there is an average of 15 funerals at Fort Logan. Old warriors and young warriors. During those funerals, the saddest song in the world is played. And no matter where you are among the sprawling 214 acres, you can hear each trembling note. Some days only minutes separate the end of one Taps and the start of another, as if the air is pausing to clear its throat before allowing a new ceremony of death with honor to commence.

The headstones fan out in all directions in strict military dress- right-dress formation. No matter which way you look, they are perfectly aligned. Marble carved from the earth. Shaped by hand. In rows of manmade precision.
Gateway Pundit brings the disgusting story of anti-war moonbats desecrating an Easter Mass by screaming and spraying fake blood on the churchgoers.

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