April 27, 2009

"Both Ways" Bennet Looking Vulnerable In 2010

The Denver Post has picked up on the troubles Gov. Bill Ritter and Sen. Michael Bennet will face going into the 2010 election.

They aren't the first to notice, especially in Sen. Bennet's case, what happens when vacillation over issues like EFCA (card check) is combined with weak poll numbers, as Ben DeGrow pointed out over a week ago.

Ritter's own indecision and weak governing has earned him a similar outlook for 2010.

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April 26, 2009

ACLU Wants Change In Nudity Laws In Colorado For Naked Protesting

Even a stopped clock is correct twice a day, the old saw goes.

The ACLU may be on to something here, as another form of automatic/zero-tolerance comes under fire:
The American Civil Liberties Union plans to lobby for changes to Colorado laws that require nude offenders to register as sex offenders, claiming the laws are unusually harsh.

"We are very concerned about the way in which the Colorado sex-offender registry is set up, resulting in sex-offender status for these kinds of activities," Judd Golden, who chairs the Boulder County chapter of the ACLU, told the Boulder Daily Camera.

The ACLU will host a public forum Tuesday called "Naked in Boulder." The forum will discuss whether nude offenders should be treated as "pranksters and protesters, or criminals and sex offenders."
Protesting in the nude is not something that Tea Party-goers will be doing anytime soon, as this remains exclusively within the domain of left-leaning organizations. But naked bike rides are hardly worthy of sex-offender registry punishments--eye bleach yes, but nothing more.

Boulder's DA provides the highlight of the article--when dealing with the issue of nudity in public, word choice is always important:
"We're dealing with a square peg in a round hole," Stan Garnett, who became Boulder County's district attorney shortly after the pumpkin running incident, told the Camera. "Most people would say people running down the mall with pumpkins on their heads may not be somebody who is at risk of becoming a sex offender in the future."
Heh.

Last year's Naked Bike Ride in Denver (NSFW, eye bleach warning).

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April 24, 2009

Colorado "Zero Tolerance" Policy On Fake Guns Lifted, Discretion Left To Schools

You may remember the story of Marie Morrow, a student who faced automatic expulsion from Cherry Creek schools for having drill team rifles props in her SUV on campus.

Thankfully, after the adults stepped in back in February, Morrow avoided expulsion.

But the "zero tolerance" policy that forced the hand of the school remained in place until this week:
When Marie Morrow was suspended from school for bringing in drill team rifle props, she used her days off to lobby state legislators to change the law.

Her story, first reported by 9NEWS, drew national attention.

On Tuesday, Morrow was watching as Gov. Bill Ritter signed a law giving schools discretion when it comes to fake guns on campus. They no longer will mean an automatic expulsion. Each school can decide what punishment fits the situation.

Cherry Creek Schools counted Morrow's six-day suspension as the required expulsion. She had the fake guns in her car for a young Marines drill team practice after school.

The incident won't affect her plans to attend the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy.
Thankfully, a little bit of sanity and common sense has been restored to Colorado's schools following the knee-jerk reactions that stemmed from the Columbine tragedy 10 years ago this week. This legislation gives the discretion to the proper level of action--the local schools. The mindset that prompted the zero-tolerance policy has, however, not gone away:
Morrow's case isn't the first nor will it be the last where unintended consequences precipitated by poorly written, knee-jerk, zero-tolerance legislation affect the lives of those the law should actually protect.

Just remember this the next time someone says "there should be a law." The "cult of action" embraced by those who wish to protect people from themselves and deny others their liberty tend to produce half-baked, "feel-good" laws that legislators tout as "helping the situation."
Most of the time, they end up doing precisely the opposite.

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April 22, 2009

Colorado Electoral College Debate--Democracy Vs. Republicanism: Popular Vote, Founding Fathers, And Fraud

Ignoring the U.S. Constitution by doing an end-run around it (you know, by amendment), coming soon to a state near you--Maryland, New Jersey, Illinois, and Hawaii have already passed this legislation.

The Independence Institute's "Independent Thinking" program delved into the controversial electoral college debate centered upon HB 1299, the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, strongly opposed not only by bloggers and pundits but also The Denver Post and InDenverTimes.com (successor to the Rocky Mountain News):





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Sen. Michael Bennet's First Reviews--A Mixed Bag

Coloradans' support for President Barack Obama and Sen. Mark Udall may be slipping, but neither will face voters in 2010.

Sen. Michael Bennet, on the other hand, faces his first election test after having been appointed by Gov. Bill Ritter to fill a vacant Senate seat. Public Policy Polling's April 17-19 phone poll results are not that encouraging (pdf):
Three months into his appointment as a Senator, Michael Bennet isn’t making a strong positive impression on Colorado voters.

41% say they disapprove of his job performance so far, with 34% approving. 25% don’t have an opinion one way or the other. He is meeting with approval from 59% of Democrats but only 11% of Republicans, and his overall reviews from independents are negative as well, with 32% approving but 43% disapproving.

Bennet does lead three of his most mentioned possible Republican opponents next year in hypothetical match ups. He’s up 39-35 on Ryan Frazier, 40-34 on Ken Buck, and 41-34 on Josh Penry. He trails former Congressman Bob Beauprez 43-42.

There’s still some indication within the numbers that Hispanic voters might be angry that one of them was not appointed to replace Ken Salazar. Bennet’s spread with Hispanics is 36/45, much worse than Barack Obama’s 58/36 and one he’ll have to improve with that Democratic leaning demographic if he’s going to be reelected.

“These numbers for Michael Bennet are not very good,” said Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling. “The good news for him is that he still hasn’t had the opportunity to define himself the way he wants to the voters in a campaign, and when he has the opportunity to do that next year he may fare better than he is now.”
The Rothenberg Political Report, on the other hand, moved Sen. Bennet into a "Clear Advantage for Incumbent Party" in a report updated on April 21.

FiveThirtyEight.com puts Bennet's seat in 10th place in likeliness to change hands in 2010 in its April update, and Chris Cillizza's "The Fix" at The Washington Post had nearly the same positioning in March's update (at #9).

Not a great start, but certainly not horrible either--and the eventual winner of the emerging GOP field will have his work cut out for him, given Bennet's early fundraising prowess.

Big questions remain for Bennet, however:
**Can he maintain his early fundraising juggernaut?

**Will continuing to waffle on major issues--ones like EFCA, cited consistently in the analsyses above--not only anger some segment of the potential power structure (labor unions vs. businesses), but prove accusations that Bennet, like his appointer Ritter, is ultimately indecisive?

**Will he able to build name recognition without also elevating his negatives (see previous question)?

**And will Bennet prove to be an effective campaigner and stump speaker, not only on the rubber chicken dinner circuit and $1000-a-plate galas but also on the campaign trail throughout the state?

Bennet's potential reelection hinges on a couple factors--how the state perceives him as an appointment (effectively a referendum on Ritter and Bennet simultaneously) and how well he has distinguished himself in office between this January and next November. While the Democrats want to push the idea that the Senate race is over as early as possible for fundraising/recruiting/turnout purposes while citing a "weak" GOP field, they have a long way to go before the next election in proving that Sen. Bennet is the best choice of the people for the state of Colorado.

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April 21, 2009

RMA 2.0: Rocky Mtn Blogs Radio Show #23

**Every Tuesday--next show April 21, 8:30 pm.



The Blog Talk Radio version of the Rocky Mountain Alliance. A weekly discussion about politics--national, state, and local--featuring RMA members bloggers led by featured host and producer Joshua Sharf, with rotating co-host duties from Ben DeGrow of Mount Virtus, Randy Ketner of Night Twister, and Michael Alcorn of Best Destiny.

April 21 lineup--Matt Arnold of Clear the Bench Colorado from 8:45-9:15pm to discuss judicial accountability and retention of judges on the Colorado Supreme Court in 2010.

April 14 lineup--Brian Campbell discusses the April 15 Tax Day Tea Party rally in Denver and the movement in general, and Jessica Corry dishes on the showdown between the Independence Institute and CU over their budget and administrator salaries.

April 7 lineup--In an excellent solo hosting gig, Ben DeGrow reviewed the heated Fort Collins City Council race with co-host Randy Ketner, spoke with J.J. Ament, who is considering a run for state treasurer, and discussed parental rights and homeschooling with Marya DeGrow of the Independence Institute.

March 31 lineup--Nancy Doty talks about a potential run for Secretary of State, and DU law professor Robert Hardaway on HB1299, the bill to replace the Electoral College with a National Popular Vote.

March 24 lineup--we review of the recent state GOP organizational meeting, where Dick Wadhams was reelected as state chair, and Leondray Gholston was elected vice chair after three rounds of voting with Boulder County GOP chair Scott Starin, and David K. Williams, co-founder of the Gadsden Society of Colorado.

Next week--TBD.


March 17 lineup--State Senate Minority Leader Josh Penry was our first guest, followed by Nathan Chambers, candidate for Colorado Republican Party state vice chair.

March 10 lineup--From 8:45 to 9:15, Colorado Republican Party Chair Dick Wadhams and at 9:30 Hassan Daioleslam.

March 3 lineup--two candidates for Fort Collins City Council, Aislinn Kottwitz (District 3) and Andrew Boucher (District 5), and Tom Stone, who is challenging Dick Wadhams for state party chairmanship.

February 24 lineup--Evan Coyne Maloney of Indoctrinate U, whose film of the same name was shown at the inaugural Liberty on Film last Thursday, and Nadeem Esmail of the Fraser Institute, discussing the dangers of single-payer (socialized) medicine from first hand experience.

Indoctrinate U trailer:


Plus two special editions of RMA Radio--the Pork Roast/anti-stimulus rally edition from the steps of the state capitol, as well as extensive coverage of the Larimer County Lincoln Day dinner.

February 17 lineup--Denver-based political activist Chris Maj, also an affiliate of Ron Paul’s Campaign for Liberty, and a look back to today's anti-stimulus/pig roast rally at the state capitol.

February 10 lineup--State Rep. Cory Gardner (R-63), probable candidate in the CD-4 GOP primary, and Leondray Gholston, Republican activist and candidate for state GOP vice-chair.

February 3 lineup--Daveed Gartenstein-Ross from the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and Mike Saccone of the Grand Junction Sentinel.

January 27--Guests included elections expert Jan Tyler and State Sen. Greg Brophy.

January 20--Guests included Todd Shepherd, Independence Institute, and Mark Hillman, Colorado Republican National Committeeman.

January 13--State Rep. Ellen Roberts, R-Durango (HD 59) and State Senator Mike Kopp, SD 22, R-Littleton.

January 6--CU Regent Tom Lucero, chairman of the successful Amendment 54 campaign and a candidate for CD 4 in 2010.

December 30--RMA took a look back at a dismal year in their 2008 year-in-review.

December 23--Joshua and fellow commentators (including yours truly) hosted Jim Pfaff of Americans for Prosperity Foundation and Opinion Times. Pfaff discussed the AFP Colorado report "Keeping Colorado Competitive" and bridging the Christian/libertarian gap.

On December 16 we hosted State Rep. Kevin Lundberg (District 49), and discussed the Salazar appointment as the Secretary of the Interior in the Obama cabinet.

The December 12 edition featured Aurora City Councilman Ryan Frazier.

Complete list of guests featured on RMA Radio can be found here.

**Bookmark the new RMA Radio home page, with embedded player and calendar of upcoming shows and featured guests.

Stream the show live, or play/download the podcast at your convenience.

Listen to Rocky Mtn Blogs on internet talk radio

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

RMA's shows are archived--if you missed any of them, be sure to check out the archive page to stream or download, or scroll down this page a bit, for the embedded archive player.

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April 17, 2009

Bomb Threat In Greeley, Letter In Spanish Demands Release Of Illegal Immigrants

Developing . . . "intent to kill the most number of Americans”

And here I thought it was "right wing extremists" we had to look out for:
A bomb threat demanding the release of immigrants being held for deportation was received by the Weld County Sheriff's Office on Thursday.

The threat was a handwritten letter in Spanish threatening judicial and law enforcement officers with the bombs with the “intent to kill the most number of Americans,” according to a press release.

Currently, there are 58 inmates with immigration holds being held in the Weld County Jail.

In the letter, the writer threatened to place bombs in and around Greeley after April 20 unless the immigration holds are released.

“Sheriff (John) Cooke wants the public to know that the Sheriff's Office is working diligently to locate and arrested the person or persons responsible for threatening harm to our community,” the press release said.

Undersheriff Margie Martinez said Thursday the sheriff’s office wants the public to “be aware but don’t panic.” Cooke said persons with information about the letter should call (970) 350-9600 or (970) 356-4015.

April 20 is the 10th anniversary of the Columbine High School shootings.
Michelle Malkin has more.

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April 16, 2009

Denver Tea Party: Tax Day Rally Coverage; Photos And Video

**Comprehensive coverage of Tax Day Tea Parties scheduled in Colorado (dates/times/locations) . . . People's Press Collective has a live video feed of the Denver Tea Party rally for those unable to make it down to the state capitol . . . photos/video following the Tea Party

**Update 1: First photos are up at People's Press Collective . . . more scenes from the rally . . . crowd in excess of 5000 . . .


Part 1 is up:


Part 2:


Part 3--"Gunny Bob" Newman:


Part 4--Jon Caldara:


Part 5--US Rep. Mike Coffman, CU Regent Tom Lucero:


Part 6--State Sen. Mike Kopp:


Part 7--Lenina Close, Gadsden Society:


Part 8:


Part 9--David Williams, Gadsden Society; Matt Arnold, Clear the Bench Colorado:


Part 10--State Rep. Cory Gardner, Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck:


Part 11--Denver Tax Day Tea Party organizer and emcee Brian Campbell:


More photos of the Denver Tax Day Tea Party from El Marco.





Tea Party search trends by state from Google--Colorado is #6

Quick links (via Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit)--Tax Day Becomes Protest Day (How the tea parties could change American politics):

--The difference between "astroturfing" and a "grassroots movement"

--Tea Party tax revolt

--Why Lefties are upset, and Tea Party Derangement Syndrome

--Tea Party ramifications for Democrats and Republicans

--The rise of distributed online activism on the Right

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April 14, 2009

Denver Tea Party: Monday Update; Rallies Scheduled Around Colorado On April 15

**UPDATE 3 April 13, 2010: People's Press Collective and Denver Tea Party will have complete coverage and listings/info from around the state, and will be providing LIVESTREAMING of the Denver Tax Day Tea Party this Thursday.

**Scroll for Tax Day Tea Party dates, times, and locations from around Colorado . . . more updates/information as rally approaches

**Update 2--An avowedly non-partisan Tea Party in Denver says organizer Brian Campbell, who appeared on Neil Cavuto's Fox News show on Monday:
Campbell emphasized that the "Tea Party" movement is non-partisan, especially in Denver, where hundreds of protesters turned out in February, representing all sides of the political spectrum, and at least four different political parties.

"[At the first rally] we had people from every party and non-affiliated," said Campbell. "It's definitely not a partisan event...we've made sure that party will not be mentioned at this [rally] and that speakers will not stump speak. It's definitely grass roots and it's going to stay that way."
Organizers predict 3000-5000 will attend Denver's rally alone.

**Update 1--developing--more information on Tea Party "crashers" and backlash from the Left including charges that Tea Parties are nothing more than "the white man's protest":
Tomorrow, my husband and I will be venturing into the wilds disguised as a news crew to do some in person interviewers with teabaggers here in Rhode Island (if we can find any). We’ve got some questions lined up to ask, but I’d love to get suggestions!

The great thing about owning professional video equipment is that armed with it, you can pass yourself off as being a professional news crew pretty easily.

So tomorrow, “WSFR” is going to send a cameraman and on air news personality out into the field to cover this “teabagging” phenomenon.

We’re going to ask open ended questions that seem to have a slight conservative bent to (hopefully) get them to open up and just start ranting. Then, we take any examples of racism, hatred, ignorance, and stupidity that we catch on camera and make a little movie out of it. Probably a YouTube special.

Here’s the list we have so far

* What are you celebrating (The Boston Tea Party), and can you explain its historical relevance? [We're hoping to get some hilarious flubs from this one]

* Is this your first time teabagging? [OK, so, a juvenile one, but worth it]

* Do you approve of Michael Steele’s plan to expand the GOP through a “hip-hop urban-suburban marketing strategy”? [hoping to get some juicy racist stuff from this question]

* (as an intentional misunderstanding/follow up, presuming that someone complains about wasteful government spending) “So you disapprove of your tax dollars going to the Iraq War?” [should elicit some confusion]

Anyways, it’s a start… but I’d love to have some suggestions for questions that sound fine, but should prompt an outpouring of crazy.

Thanks in advance, and I’ll be sure to post a link to the finished video when it’s available!
Forewarned is forearmed.

Extensive April 15 Tax Day Tea Party blogging--touching on speakers, themes, and leftist attempts to hijack, sabotage, infiltrate, discredit, and smear Tax Day Tea Party efforts. Michelle Malkin has an update on the expected "race card" trope, and another blogger notes that the left really does feel the "threat" of pro-liberty crowds eager to demonstrate on behalf of limited government, freedom, and the free market, and are breaking out the Alinsky playbook to knock the movement down. Heck, the Tea Parties are the new "Weather Underground"--a "dangerous terrorist network."

There are at least 500 rallies planned nationwide. Michelle Malkin and Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit have led the way in Tea Party-related reporting and blogging on the rallies that have recently transpired, as well as comprehensive coverage of those planned this week.

Where will you be on April 15?

Not a "grassroots" movement? Take a look at "tea party"-related sales.

Tentative Denver schedule and signup:
Denver, west steps of state Capitol on Lincoln:

10:00 Volunteers arrive, Setup
11:00 Speaker Meet & Greet
Bubbafly Barney performing early American patriotic song
11:00 Tea Bag Sign Up Begins, Send a pink slip to your officials, Join Hear US Now! sign up!
12:00 Greeting by MC Brian T Campbell, Sr
12:05 Pledge of Alegiance - Led by Brian T Campbell, Sr.
Castle Capella's Patriotic Singing
Guest Speaker - Gunny Bob
Guest Speaker - Tom Lucero
Bubbafly Barney performing early American patriotic song
Guest Speaker - Jon Caldara, The Independence Institute
Guest Speaker - Mike Kopp, CO State Senator
Bubbafly Barney performing early American patriotic song
Guest Speaker - Rob McNealy
Special Guest Speaker - Josh Penry, CO State Senate Minority Leader
Bubbafly Barney performing early American patriotic song
Guest Speaker - Keith Peterson
Guest Speaker - Ken Buck, Weld County District Attorney
Bubbafly Barney performing early American patriotic song
Additional speakers are in the works, we will update you
as they are confirmed!
Not everyone is in the Denver metro area, and many other rallies have been scheduled (note--not all are scheduled for Wednesday):
Archuleta County
City: Pagosa Springs
When: April 15, 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Where: Victoria's Parlor

El Paso County
City: Colorado Springs
When: April 15, 12:00pm - 1:30pm
Where: Acacia Park at 225 N Nevada

Routt County
City: Steamboat Springs
When: April 15, 12 noon
Where: County Courthouse Lawn

Mesa County
City: Grand Junction
When: April 15, 12:00pm - 1:30pm
Where: Soccer stadium at 12th Street and North Avenue, corner across from Mesa State College

Larimer County
City: Fort Collins
When: April 15, 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Where: Fort Collins City Hall, 300 Laporte Avenue

City: Loveland
When: April 15, 4:00pm - 7:00pm
Where: 205 E Eisenhower Blvd, Loveland, CO 80537

Weld County
City: Greeley
When: April 18, 11am – 2pm
Where: Bittersweet Park at 35th Ave. and 11th St.

Pueblo County
City: Pueblo
When: April 15, 4:00 pm
Where: Pueblo County Courthouse, 215 W. 10th St.

Fremont County
City: Cañon City
When: April 11, 12:00 pm
Where: Veterans Park
Other cities as of Monday include (note--not all are scheduled for Wednesday):
Craig
When: April 15, 12:00pm
Where: In front of the County Court House

Delta
When: April 18, 12:30 p.m. until …
Where: on the front steps of the county courthouse

Durango
When: April 15, 12:00 Noon
Where: Rotary Park, 1565 E. 2nd Ave Durango, 81301

Walsenburg
When: April 15, 5:00 pm
Where: Huerfano County Courthouse, 401 Main St.

Woodland Park
When: April 15, 12:00 noon and 4:00 pm
Where: 12 Noon — In front of City Hall (220 W. South Ave)
4PM — In front of the old Martini Hut (209 E. Midland Ave)

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RMA 2.0: Rocky Mtn Blogs Radio Show #22

**Every Tuesday--next show April 14, 8:30 pm.



The Blog Talk Radio version of the Rocky Mountain Alliance. A weekly discussion about politics--national, state, and local--featuring RMA members bloggers led by featured host and producer Joshua Sharf, with rotating co-host duties from Ben DeGrow of Mount Virtus, Randy Ketner of Night Twister, and Michael Alcorn of Best Destiny.

April 14 lineup--Brian Campbell discusses the April 15 Tax Day Tea Party rally in Denver and the movement in general, and Jessica Corry dishes on the showdown between the Independence Institute and CU over their budget and administrator salaries.

April 7 lineup--In an excellent solo hosting gig, Ben DeGrow reviewed the heated Fort Collins City Council race with co-host Randy Ketner, spoke with J.J. Ament, who is considering a run for state treasurer, and discussed parental rights and homeschooling with Marya DeGrow of the Independence Institute.

March 31 lineup--Nancy Doty talks about a potential run for Secretary of State, and DU law professor Robert Hardaway on HB1299, the bill to replace the Electoral College with a National Popular Vote.

March 24 lineup--we review of the recent state GOP organizational meeting, where Dick Wadhams was reelected as state chair, and Leondray Gholston was elected vice chair after three rounds of voting with Boulder County GOP chair Scott Starin, and David K. Williams, co-founder of the Gadsden Society of Colorado.

Next week--TBD.


March 17 lineup--State Senate Minority Leader Josh Penry was our first guest, followed by Nathan Chambers, candidate for Colorado Republican Party state vice chair.

March 10 lineup--From 8:45 to 9:15, Colorado Republican Party Chair Dick Wadhams and at 9:30 Hassan Daioleslam.

March 3 lineup--two candidates for Fort Collins City Council, Aislinn Kottwitz (District 3) and Andrew Boucher (District 5), and Tom Stone, who is challenging Dick Wadhams for state party chairmanship.

February 24 lineup--Evan Coyne Maloney of Indoctrinate U, whose film of the same name was shown at the inaugural Liberty on Film last Thursday, and Nadeem Esmail of the Fraser Institute, discussing the dangers of single-payer (socialized) medicine from first hand experience.

Indoctrinate U trailer:


Plus two special editions of RMA Radio--the Pork Roast/anti-stimulus rally edition from the steps of the state capitol, as well as extensive coverage of the Larimer County Lincoln Day dinner.

February 17 lineup--Denver-based political activist Chris Maj, also an affiliate of Ron Paul’s Campaign for Liberty, and a look back to today's anti-stimulus/pig roast rally at the state capitol.

February 10 lineup--State Rep. Cory Gardner (R-63), probable candidate in the CD-4 GOP primary, and Leondray Gholston, Republican activist and candidate for state GOP vice-chair.

February 3 lineup--Daveed Gartenstein-Ross from the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and Mike Saccone of the Grand Junction Sentinel.

January 27--Guests included elections expert Jan Tyler and State Sen. Greg Brophy.

January 20--Guests included Todd Shepherd, Independence Institute, and Mark Hillman, Colorado Republican National Committeeman.

January 13--State Rep. Ellen Roberts, R-Durango (HD 59) and State Senator Mike Kopp, SD 22, R-Littleton.

January 6--CU Regent Tom Lucero, chairman of the successful Amendment 54 campaign and a candidate for CD 4 in 2010.

December 30--RMA took a look back at a dismal year in their 2008 year-in-review.

December 23--Joshua and fellow commentators (including yours truly) hosted Jim Pfaff of Americans for Prosperity Foundation and Opinion Times. Pfaff discussed the AFP Colorado report "Keeping Colorado Competitive" and bridging the Christian/libertarian gap.

On December 16 we hosted State Rep. Kevin Lundberg (District 49), and discussed the Salazar appointment as the Secretary of the Interior in the Obama cabinet.

The December 12 edition featured Aurora City Councilman Ryan Frazier.

Complete list of guests featured on RMA Radio can be found here.

**Bookmark the new RMA Radio home page, with embedded player and calendar of upcoming shows and featured guests.

Stream the show live, or play/download the podcast at your convenience.

Listen to Rocky Mtn Blogs on internet talk radio

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

RMA's shows are archived--if you missed any of them, be sure to check out the archive page to stream or download, or scroll down this page a bit, for the embedded archive player.

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April 11, 2009

Colorado 2010 US Senate Race: Ryan Frazier An "Untraditional" Candidate

The local media (InDenver Times) has picked up on the increasing profile of Ryan Frazier in an update on the looming GOP primary for the opportunity to unseat the appointed Michael Bennet:
Republican Aurora City Councilman Ryan Frazier said Wednesday he is “seriously considering” running for U.S. Senate in 2010, though he acknowledged his toughest fight may come from the more conservative wing of his own party.

Frazier stopped short of saying he will definitely run. But the 31-year-old Navy veteran has been making the rounds, meeting with potential supporters and attending county party gatherings. At a dinner in Douglas County – one of the state’s most conservative areas – Frazier got about 60 percent of the vote in a straw poll, besting more conservative Republicans such as radio host and attorney Dan Caplis, former Congressman Bob Beauprez and Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck.
. . .
A native of North Carolina who has lived in Colorado for 12 years, Frazier describes himself as “not a typical Republican” and “very independent.” He knows his stance on certain issues, such as benefits for same-sex partners, may rankle the far right. But he believes he is better positioned to win statewide, much as Democrats have dominated recent elections with more centrist candidates such as former Sen. Ken Salazar.

“It’s going to be a real question for the Republican Party: ‘Are they ready for someone like me?’ ” Frazier said. “It shouldn’t be a question of surviving a primary. It should be, ‘Are you ready to win? Or do you want to continue down the road of a string of losses?’”
That's up to the Colorado GOP--establishment vs. activists, and the mythical "base" of social conservatives vs. center-right, fiscally conservative voters statewide. The GOP primary, depending on who actually jumps in, should give us a clearer picture of where the party insiders stand, as well as where the rank-and-file Republicans are leaning. Expect more libertarian-minded folks and those "unaffiliateds" to take a good look at Frazier's "live-and-let-live," limited government, and economically-minded positions over other potential GOP competitors.

That won't stop the criticism, however:
Most recently, Frazier was one of the driving forces behind the “right-to-work” initiative known as Amendment 47. Voters rejected the measure, which would have banned agreements that require workers to pay union dues if they fall under a collective bargaining contract.

But Frazier also supported benefits for same-sex partners of city of Aurora employees. And in 2006, he joined with Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper – a Democrat – to publicly endorse Referendum I, which would have given domestic-partner benefits to same-sex couples statewide.

Frazier said he’s been told by many people – inside and outside his own party – that his support for those measures will be “the arrow on my back” in a primary battle.

“They will come at me hard on that,” he said.
Based on the somewhat coordinated comments seen so far, they sure will.

But Frazier's initial strength lies in being outside the traditional party structure that ultimately alleviates any associated baggage from a recently weak Colorado GOP, and is more concerned with moving forward than looking back a decade:
“These are untraditional times that call for untraditional people to step forward,” he said.

Frazier said his top issues would be the same issues he believes are most important to voters: the economy, energy, education, defense and government reform.

Frazier also said he isn’t dissuaded by Bennet’s stellar fundraising in the most recent quarter, in which the former Denver Public Schools chief and businessman raked in nearly $1.4 million.

It’s a good start, Frazier said, but added that whichever Republican takes Bennet on, “the money will come.” And he said he has had Democrats and unaffiliated voters encourage him to run.
Regardless of the candidate, the GOP will push hard for this Senate seat--the question of degree of broader support will ultimately depend on what kind of candidate the GOP settles upon, both for Senate and for Governor.

Real grassroots support will play an extremely large role in this primary--although there will be the temptation to coordinate astroturfing campaigns in order to "demonstrate" real support among GOP voters, however far-fetched.

Incidentally (via RockyMountainRight), at the most recent Denver County GOP First Thursday Breakfast (April 2), Frazier and State Sen. Josh Penry won informal straw polls for Senate and Governor, respectively. Penry spoke at the breakfast, and Frazier is scheduled for the May meeting. While the results are unscientific and very, very early, it looks more and more likely that many Republicans are at least prepared to take a look at younger, next-generation, not-as-established candidates. Much will depend, as indicated earlier, on who eventually runs and who can create the necessary ground game for primary victory. Fundraising and messaging will be important as each candidate seeks to establish his own "base" within the party.

If the party truly wants to create a 64-county, all district, renew-the-bench strategy to reinvigorate GOP voters, increase registration, and re-connect with unaffiliateds, then it will need a fresh vision for the state. Relying on late '90s electoral messaging, final-weekend get-out-the-vote campaigning, and retread candidates will not be the way to electoral victory in the critical 2010 election. With redistricting looming and five state-wide offices up for grabs, the top of the ticket--the U.S. Senate and Governor--should be viewed as the vehicles for electoral coat-tails. Mediocre and uninspiring candidates will be shunned by activists, won't attract much national attention or fundraising, and will depress voter turnout if they can't engage on a meaningful level, especially on economic issues. Elections have consequences, and Colorado can't afford a repeat of the 2004, 2006, and 2008 elections.

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April 09, 2009

Denver Tea Party: Tax Day Protests Gear Up For April 15 Rally

**Update (April 13): Rallies scheduled all over Colorado (in at least 16 cities); Leftist smear tactics continue



"It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds"--Samuel Adams


From the folks at FreedomWorks.

Get started with a roundup of links at Gateway Pundit and Michelle Malkin. Denver's Tax Day Tea Party can be found on Facebook (also here)--with a tentative schedule (plan on arriving by 11:30am, with conclusion by 1:30pm):
10:00 Volunteers arrive, Setup
11:00 Speaker Meet & Greet
11:00 Tea Bag Sign Up Begins, Send a pink slip to your officials, Join Hear US Now! sign up!
12:00 Greeting by MC Brian T Campbell, Sr.
12:05 Pledge of Alegiance - Led by Brian T Campbell, Sr.
Castle Capella's Patriotic Singing
Guest Speaker - Gunny Bob
Guest Speaker - Tom Lucero
Guest Speaker - Jon Caldara, The Independence Institute
Guest Speaker - Mike Kopp, CO State Senator
Guest Speaker - Rob McNealy
Guest Speaker - Josh Penry, CO State Senate Minority Leader
Guest Speaker - Keith Peterson
Guest Speaker - Ken Buck, Weld County District Attorney
More speakers will be announced as April 15 approaches. If you want to bring your own signs, here are over 175 great suggestions for slogans.

There are at least 300 confirmed cities hosting a Tax Day Tea Party rally--even a low-ball, extremely conservative estimate of 1000 participants at each rally means that there could very well likely be somewhere in the neighborhood of five hundred thousand passionate Americans fighting for liberty on April 15.

The grassroots element of these loosely affiliated and locally organized actions has been clearly demonstrated--johnny-come-latelies like RNC Chair Michael Steele have been politely turned down when offering their speaking services.

The Left has also recognized the true scope of this upsurge in pro-liberty activity from libertarians, Republicans, and conservatives. Their solution?

Hijack.

Sabotage.

Infiltrate.

Smear.

Discredit.

Roger Simon offers some pointers on dealing with lefty agents provacateurs.

Instapundit Glenn Reynolds has a video update from PJTV on the Tea Parties across the country.

There are more important questions in the days that come after the fervor of April 15 has passed--what next?

Not all are convinced of the constructive nature of the rallies, but it looks like this is turning out to be a very small minority.

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April 08, 2009

Upcoming Events--April Edition (Continuously Updated)

April 16--
Please Join R Block Party
--To continue our discussion about the future of the Republican Party in Colorado

State & local politics: what the state can do for us & what we must do for ourselves--the importance of local elections staying involved candidate development & support

**********************************
Join us in welcoming:

Michael Britt, Executive Director, Colorado GOP
--On state party structure: what the state can and cannot do

Cathy Noon, candidate for Mayor of Centennial
--On why her previous campaign failed & how she will adapt in her run for mayor
**********************************
Thursday, April 16, 2009
6:30 pm mingle, 7:00 pm start

Southpark Clubhouse
2850 W Long Ave
SE corner Mineral & Santa Fe
in the Southpark development
Littleton, CO 80120

Please feel free to forward this invitation to any friends or acquaintances that might be interested in joining us!

RSVP:
rblockparty@comcast.net
Nikki Mata

hosted by:
Lori Horn, Susie McKinney, Madelaine Rohan, Elise Marks, Carol Kaferle, Carol Harangody, Christine Hart & Nikki Mata
April 2--
DENVER COUNTY GOP FIRST THURSDAY BREAKFAST

Please join us this week for a special First Thursday Breakfast
Thursday, April 2nd from 7:00 - 8:30 am, featuring:

Senator Josh Penry, Senate Republican Minority Leader and potential candidate for Governor

JW MARRIOTT at 150 CLAYTON LANE, on block north of the Cherry Creek Mall. $10 covers the cost of your breakfast. You can park for FREE on Clayton Lane, or use the hotel's valet parking (there may be a charge). We are working on approval to also allow parking at the mall, and will send an update via e-mail when details are finalized.

RSVP HERE or send a quick note to vice.chairman@denvergop.org

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April 07, 2009

RMA 2.0: Rocky Mtn Blogs Radio Show #21

**Every Tuesday--next show April 7, 8:30 pm.



The Blog Talk Radio version of the Rocky Mountain Alliance. A weekly discussion about politics--national, state, and local--featuring RMA members bloggers led by featured host and producer Joshua Sharf, with rotating co-host duties from Ben DeGrow of Mount Virtus, Randy Ketner of Night Twister, and Michael Alcorn of Best Destiny.

April 7 lineup--In an excellent solo hosting gig, Ben DeGrow reviewed the heated Fort Collins City Council race with co-host Randy Ketner, spoke with J.J. Ament, who is considering a run for state treasurer, and discussed parental rights and homeschooling with Marya DeGrow of the Independence Institute.

March 31 lineup--Nancy Doty talks about a potential run for Secretary of State, and DU law professor Robert Hardaway on HB1299, the bill to replace the Electoral College with a National Popular Vote.

March 24 lineup--we review of the recent state GOP organizational meeting, where Dick Wadhams was reelected as state chair, and Leondray Gholston was elected vice chair after three rounds of voting with Boulder County GOP chair Scott Starin, and David K. Williams, co-founder of the Gadsden Society of Colorado.

Next week--TBD.


March 17 lineup--State Senate Minority Leader Josh Penry was our first guest, followed by Nathan Chambers, candidate for Colorado Republican Party state vice chair.

March 10 lineup--From 8:45 to 9:15, Colorado Republican Party Chair Dick Wadhams and at 9:30 Hassan Daioleslam.

March 3 lineup--two candidates for Fort Collins City Council, Aislinn Kottwitz (District 3) and Andrew Boucher (District 5), and Tom Stone, who is challenging Dick Wadhams for state party chairmanship.

February 24 lineup--Evan Coyne Maloney of Indoctrinate U, whose film of the same name was shown at the inaugural Liberty on Film last Thursday, and Nadeem Esmail of the Fraser Institute, discussing the dangers of single-payer (socialized) medicine from first hand experience.

Indoctrinate U trailer:


Plus two special editions of RMA Radio--the Pork Roast/anti-stimulus rally edition from the steps of the state capitol, as well as extensive coverage of the Larimer County Lincoln Day dinner.

February 17 lineup--Denver-based political activist Chris Maj, also an affiliate of Ron Paul’s Campaign for Liberty, and a look back to today's anti-stimulus/pig roast rally at the state capitol.

February 10 lineup--State Rep. Cory Gardner (R-63), probable candidate in the CD-4 GOP primary, and Leondray Gholston, Republican activist and candidate for state GOP vice-chair.

February 3 lineup--Daveed Gartenstein-Ross from the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and Mike Saccone of the Grand Junction Sentinel.

January 27--Guests included elections expert Jan Tyler and State Sen. Greg Brophy.

January 20--Guests included Todd Shepherd, Independence Institute, and Mark Hillman, Colorado Republican National Committeeman.

January 13--State Rep. Ellen Roberts, R-Durango (HD 59) and State Senator Mike Kopp, SD 22, R-Littleton.

January 6--CU Regent Tom Lucero, chairman of the successful Amendment 54 campaign and a candidate for CD 4 in 2010.

December 30--RMA took a look back at a dismal year in their 2008 year-in-review.

December 23--Joshua and fellow commentators (including yours truly) hosted Jim Pfaff of Americans for Prosperity Foundation and Opinion Times. Pfaff discussed the AFP Colorado report "Keeping Colorado Competitive" and bridging the Christian/libertarian gap.

On December 16 we hosted State Rep. Kevin Lundberg (District 49), and discussed the Salazar appointment as the Secretary of the Interior in the Obama cabinet.

The December 12 edition featured Aurora City Councilman Ryan Frazier.

**Bookmark the new RMA Radio home page, with embedded player and calendar of upcoming shows and featured guests.

Stream the show live, or play/download the podcast at your convenience.

Listen to Rocky Mtn Blogs on internet talk radio

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

RMA's shows are archived--if you missed any of them, be sure to check out the archive page to stream or download, or scroll down this page a bit, for the embedded archive player.

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April 06, 2009

Liberty Activist Ari Armstrong: A Modern-Day Sam Adams

Ari Armstrong, the author of FreeColorado.com, has brought home the Sam Adams Alliance's "Modern-day Sam Adams Award" for excellence in the cause of liberty:
Ari Armstrong of Westminster, Colorado

Armstrong wins the $10,000 prize for his relentless—and ubiquitous—defense of free markets and individual liberty in the state of Colorado. He is author of FreeColorado.com and a columnist for the Grand Junction Free Press. In the last year, Ari’s work has been published in the Rocky Mountain News, Colorado Springs Gazette, Denver Post Online, and featured on numerous radio and television news programs.
Ari has been an eloquent and tireless advocate of liberty, and I echo Ben DeGrow's sentiment that this award is well-deserved. Congratulations!

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Denver Metro Young Republicans Legislative Reception 2009

Join Denver Metro Young Republicans on April 7 for our Third Annual Legislative Reception.

Meet your Colorado GOP representatives and senators, along with other Republican officials and VIPs, over cocktails and desserts including (in no particular order)--Colorado GOP Chair Dick Wadhams, Rep. Cory Gardner, CU Regent Tom Lucero, Attorney General John Suthers, Aurora Citycouncilman Ryan Frazier, Independence Institute President Jon Caldara, and many many more representatives, senators, and other past elected officials and prospective 2010 candidates from around the state, not just the Denver Metro Area.

Where: Colorado Automobile Dealers Association, 290 E. Speer Blvd. (parking available behind the building)

When: Tuesday, April 7, at 6:00pm

Admission - pay online through PayPal or at the door:

* Current DMYR members: $10
* Non-members: $15
* Joining members: $30 ($25 membership plus half-price admission - save $5!)

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Clear The Bench Colorado Launches Judicial Non-Retainment Initiative

A followup to BlueCarp's earlier post--Clear the Bench Colorado launches anti-retainment campaign targeting Colorado Supreme Court justices who value partisanship above the rule of law:
The Colorado Supreme Court has trampled our Constitution one too many times…

This is a rogue court, populated with partisan “justices” with no respect for justice or the rule of law.

This partisan court violated accepted legal practice in ignoring the “findings of fact” of the trial court which heard the case and ruled (correctly) on the unconstitionality of the mill levy tax rate freeze.

The majority on the court is apparently incapable of interpreting the plain language of the Colorado Constitution (including TABOR) which “specifically says voters must approve ‘any new tax, tax rate increase, mill levy above that for the prior year … or a tax policy change directly causing a net tax revenue gain to any district.‘”

The court’s majority is also apparently incapable of interpreting the plainly expressed will of the people, who previously “crushed a ballot amendment [32] in 2003 that would have frozen property tax rates.”

It is time to remind the court’s majorityof their responsibility to the rule of law, the state Constitution, and the will of the people.
John Andrews has more:
"We are a nation that has a government, not the other way around." Reagan's words speak defiance to statism, but they are only as true as we make them. The 2010 election is Coloradans' chance.

Supreme Court justices Mary Mullarkey, Michael Bender, Alex Martinez and Nancy Rice will be up for another 10-year term. Poor stewards of the law since they last faced voters in 2000, all four deserve dismissal. Whether they're retained or bounced will signal how much we cherish liberty.

Voting judges into office ended here in the 1960s. Gubernatorial appointments replaced the unseemly spectacle of jurists soliciting campaign funds. No court can overrule us, nor need we explain why. In this, at least, we're still sovereign.

Capriciousness isn't justified. "Prudence will dictate" avoidance of political changes "for light and transient causes," the Declaration of Independence cautions. But terminating a dishonest judge is warranted, and so is termination for breach of trust. Mullarkey, Bender, Martinez and Rice have failed their constitutional trust.

The justices up for renewal are poster kids for the "living constitution" racket of legislating from the bench in disregard of the written text. Under Chief Justice Mullarkey, as The Denver Post's Vincent Carroll wrote after last month's TABOR ruling, "the Colorado Supreme Court seems to think that it is . . . free to redefine words however it likes." Let's answer their abuse of judicial review with electoral review and retire them.
Clear the Bench Colorado--bookmark it.

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April 03, 2009

Fallen Navy SEAL Honored In Denver: Danny Dietz Memorial Highway



Honoring the fallen:
The next time you drive on Sante Fe Drive, just south of Denver, you will be heading down a new road; it is actually a familiar road just with a new name.

On Friday morning, Colorado lawmakers approved a measure to rename a ten mile stretch of Sante Fe, "Navy Seal Danny Phillip Dietz, Jr. Memorial Highway." The highway stretches from Interstate 25 south to C-470.

Dietz is a Navy Seal soldier from Littleton, was working on a recognisance mission in Afghanistan, in 2005, when Taliban troops surrounded his small group of four navy seals. Dietz was shot 16 times and continued fighting in order to save his brothers. Dietz died on the single worst day of American fatalities in the war in Afghanistan.

Dietz's family was also at the capitol Friday morning. They say the highway is not only about Danny, but every American soldier.

Tiffany Bitz is Dietz's sister. She said it is amazing to see the amount of support her brother has received.

"It really just, I think it helps to know that he's appreciated and remembered. That's the greatest thing that he's remembered and people are never forgetting the sacrifice that he made," Bitz said.
SP has been tracking the story of Danny Dietz from the controversy that erupted in April 2007 over a memorial statue placed near his childhood home in Littleton to this most recent honor.

Danny Dietz has been a source of inspiration--in an era where heroes are routinely ignored or forgotten, Danny and his fellow SEALs stood as heroes, and have not been forgotten because we have not allowed that to happen. Fellow Navy Seal Marcus Luttrell chronicled the actions of the SEAL team comprised of Michael P. Murphy, Luttrell, Danny Dietz and Matthew Axelson in the book Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10, an excellent and harrowing account.

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April 02, 2009

Jury Reaches Verdict In Ward Churchill Lawsuit

Breaking . . . developing, more updates and analysis as they come in:

9:36pm--PirateBallerina has extensive updates and reactions from around the country on the Churchill verdict (scroll); Drunkablog has the transcript of one of the toolheaded jurors (a bright 19 year old) who sided with Churchill

--Courtroom audio of verdict from Complete Colorado

--Denver Post's story now up

--Judge's decision on reinstating Ward Churchill's job to be determined in next 30 days

--jurors not speaking to media so far . . .

--PirateBallerina: CU's defense to blame

--"lying liars" strategy works?

--more speculation: jury may have found for Churchill, but $1 damages indicate they may strongly feel that Churchill is an academic fraud

4:21pm--jury awards $1 to Ward Churchill

4:20pm--not terminated except for protected speech activity

4:18pm--the jury finds on termination by CU Regents based on protected speech yes, for Churchill

4:17pm--jury foreman to be addressed--jury reaches unanimous verdict

4:16pm--jury entering court room

4:15pm--verdict being announced now, judge giving orders to the public inside the court room

Developing:
The jury has reached a verdict in the case of Ward Churchill vs. University of Colorado. It is expected to be delivered shortly after 4 p.m.

Speculation that jury may award nominal damages . . .
Chief Denver District Judge Larry Naves read the question in the courtroom this afternoon.

"We are feeling uncomfortable about the damages portion. Would you be willing to meet with us to talk about what is required and other things regarding money," Naves said. "And is zero dollars an option?"

Naves read his reply to the jury.

"I cannot meet with you. Please re-read the instructions regarding damages and if you find in favor of the plaintiff but do not find damages, you will award in the sum of one dollar," he said.
Jurors appeared to be leaning toward the ex-professor based on questions earlier in deliberations.

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Jury Leaning Toward Churchill?

Developing . . . verdict reached:
The jury has reached a verdict in the case of Ward Churchill vs. University of Colorado. It is expected to be delivered shortly after 4 p.m.

Things may not be looking good for CU--and academic honesty:
A question submitted this afternoon from the jury indicates that it is leaning toward granting Ward Churchill's civil claim against the University of Colorado.

But the six jurors also appear to be struggling with what to award the former ethnic studies professor in damages, if anything.

Chief Denver District Judge Larry Naves read the question in the courtroom this afternoon.

"We are feeling uncomfortable about the damages portion. Would you be willing to meet with us to talk about what is required and other things regarding money," Naves said. "And is zero dollars an option?"

Naves read his reply to the jury.

"I cannot meet with you. Please re-read the instructions regarding damages and if you find in favor of the plaintiff but do not find damages, you will award in the sum of one dollar," he said.

Churchill attorney Robert Bruce said "it's one of those juror questions that seems to be leaning in our direction."
Drunkablog corroborates and is transcribing CU attorney Patrick O'Rourke's appearance on Caplis and Silverman and PirateBallerina has more.

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April 01, 2009

Ward Churchill Week 4 Update--Judge Tosses One Of Two Claims, **Update: Jury Receives Case

"Are you going to allow lies to overcome the truth?"--David Lane, Churchill's attorney

"What we heard here during the course of this trial is there are two worlds - the world the University exists in and the world Ward Churchill lives in . . . Ward Churchill's world was a place where there are no standards and no accountability"--Patrick O'Rourke, CU attorney

**Update 2: Jury receives case:
A jury began its deliberations in Ward Churchill's civil trial against the University of Colorado on Wednesday after hearing the closing arguments from both sides.

"The job you are now undertaking is quite possibly the most important decision you will ever have to make," Churchill's attorney David Lane told the Denver jury during closing arguments. "You are in charge of preserving, protecting and defending the Constitution of the United States of America."

Lane added: "Are you going to allow lies to overcome the truth?"
. . .
CU's attorney countered during his round of closing arguments.

"What we heard here during the course of this trial is there are two worlds - the world the University exists in and the world Ward Churchill lives in," attorney Patrick O'Rourke said. "Ward Churchill's world was a place where there are no standards and no accountability."
Exit questions--how quick a decision, and in whose favor?

Scroll for updates--as always, check out the implacable Drunkablog, who managed to cover the majority of the trial from inside the courtroom, and PirateBallerina for additional coverage . . .

**Late breaking update: No chilling of free speech--judge tosses one of Churchill's claims!:
Chief Denver District Judge Larry Naves threw out one of Ward Churchill's two claims this afternoon, ruling that the former professor's assertion that the University of Colorado launched an investigation into his scholarship in retaliation for exercising his First Amendment rights was not "actionable."

The judge and lawyers met out of the presence of the jury Tuesday afternoon to go over the final language on the jury verdict form.

"This case will go to the jury on the other claim where there is clearly an adverse employment action, which is being terminated," the judge said.

The second claim in Churchill's civil lawsuit against the school is the primary claim -- that CU fired Churchill for exercising his free speech rights.

The first claim in his suit, which was dismissed this afternoon, was that CU launched an investigation into the former professor in retaliation for exercising his First Amendment rights, essentially chilling those rights.

Naves said an investigation, in and of itself, is not an adverse employment action.

Churchill didn't lose his job or his pay while the investigation was ongoing, the judge said, and the possibility that an investigation could chill free expression by others who fear that making a controversial statement will result in a whole sale investigation of their scholarship is not sufficient to bring a retaliation claim.


Naves cited several other cases where judges had made similar rulings.

The jury will receive instructions Wednesday morning. Closing arguments will follow.

"Where do you guys get off looking at every word he has ever written when the only thing he wrote that upset you was the 9/11 essay?"--Churchill's attorney David Lane


Excellent cartoon from Face the State.

The latest updates on the Churchillpalooza trial--including extensive previous coverage:

Churchill receives the support of terrorist-sympathizer Lynne Stewart.

March 31--Defense concludes:
Ludwig took the stand for a short period Tuesday afternoon, testifying that he felt Ward Churchill was a valuable presence on campus because he served to combat the "cultural amnesia" that the larger society has about the treatment of American Indians.

He said it was "not easy" to fire the professor but that his academic transgressions were serious enough to merit it.

"We can't have one of our faculty members fall below that standard that we have," he told the jury.
March 30--Regents admit Churchill essay sparked probe:
Three former and current University of Colorado regents testified today that they authorized a review of then-Boulder professor Ward Churchill's speeches and writings only to find out whether they were protected under the First Amendment.

Former regent Patricia Hayes and regent Peter Steinhauer, both Republicans, said they found Churchill's comments in an essay about the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, "anti-American." But they said they also were concerned about other instances where Churchill made speeches that they thought appeared to advocate violence and terrorism.

They testified that they wanted to know whether the speeches and essays were considered protected speech under the First Amendment if Churchill had made them as a public employee representing the university.
"Given a fair chance":
Carlisle was the lone regent to vote against firing Churchill in 2007.

She said her decision to stray from her colleagues was based on the fact that the majority of faculty members serving on CU's Privilege & Tenure Committee voted to suspend the professor.

"They're the ones with the scholarship, they were the ones who should be making the decision about what sanctions should happen to Professor Churchill," she testified.

But Carlisle said she had the utmost confidence that Churchill was treated fairly and that the academic misconduct charges against him were fully proven.

"I believe Ward Churchill was given a fair chance to state his case," she told the jury.
March 27--"We did not sacrifice Ward Churchill":
"We did not sacrifice Ward Churchill," said Don Morley, a professor of communications at CU-Colorado Springs and a member of the university's Privilege and Tenure Committee.

Morley testified that he was hoping the fraud charges against Churchill that were being forwarded to his panel from the Standing Committee on Research Misconduct would turn out to be false.

"Why?" CU attorney Patrick O'Rourke asked.

"You just don't want to see one of your own fall and he's one of our own," Morley replied.

He said the Privilege and Tenure Committee was not a rubber stamp for the previous university panels that reviewed Churchill's work for academic misconduct.

His committee gave serious consideration to each allegation of fraud, Morley told the jury, and even absolved Churchill on several when the alleged wrongdoing didn't rise to the committee's higher standard of "clear and convincing" evidence for misconduct.

But what the committee did find in terms of misconduct, Morley said, merited terminating the controversial former ethnic studies professor.
March 26--Free speech doesn't negate academic fraud:
CU Regent Michael Carrigan told the jury that the nationwide furor over an incendiary essay penned by Churchill about the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks was a wholly different matter from allegations that the professor had fabricated, falsified and plagiarized parts of his academic work.

And just because the misconduct investigation grew out of the firestorm over the essay — which CU later determined to be protected free speech — didn’t mean the university could disregard the information it was getting about Churchill’s scholarship, Carrigan testified.

“Essentially, if we ignored these allegations, the message would be that you can plagiarize, you can ghostwrite, you can do it, but just make sure you say something offensive so you can say you should never be investigated and your work should never be scrutinized,” he said.
March 25--Churchill's attorney rests case

March 24--Churchill calls critics "pathetic":
Ward Churchill, fired by the University of Colorado two years ago for allegedly engaging in academic misconduct, called some of his critics "pathetic" during a second day of testimony at his wrongful termination trial Tuesday.

The frank description came after Churchill's attorney, David Lane, asked his client for his reaction to previous testimony from a colleague at CU who, according to Lane, characterized Churchill's three decades of scholarship as "not worth a pitcher of warm spit."

"How did it make you feel?" Lane asked.

"Angry," Churchill replied. "But anger is no new feeling for me."
Boo hoo. Critics also labelled "shit-knitters"--that's a new one.

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Colorado Legislature Considers Additional Honors For Fallen Navy SEAL Danny Dietz


Memorial statue for Navy SEAL Danny Dietz, the subject of much heated controversy two years ago.

The Colorado Senate (in a joint resolution with the House) will be considering another honor for the fallen hero, Danny Dietz, on Friday--"Navy SEAL Danny Phillip Dietz, Jr., Memorial Highway" (video):
Colorado lawmakers are expected to designate part of Santa Fe Drive after one of the state's most honored military members killed in the war on terror.

Senate Joint Resolution 33, which will be discussed on Friday at the Capitol, would set aside the part of Highway 85, from I-25 to C-470, in memory of Danny Dietz, the Navy SEAL from Littleton who was killed in 2005 in Afghanistan.

"It shows that they have gratitude," said his father, Dan Dietz. "That means a lot. They're recognizing true courage."

Danny Dietz was shot 16 times and kept fighting Taliban soldiers in an effort to establish communications with headquarters. He earned the Silver Star, the Purple Heart and the Navy Cross among other decorations for his actions on June 28, 2005 which was the single worst day of American casualties in the war in Afghanistan.

The legislators sponsoring the resolution are both neighbors of the Dietz family in Littleton and both have military service in their backgrounds. Sen. Mike Kopp (R-Littleton) and Rep. Joe Rice (D-Littleton) say the memorial is about recognizing Dietz's service to a cause greater than himself and to his parents and family for continuing to share his story, to inspire that service in young Coloradans as well.

"One of my own personal values is to make sure that the generation that sends its sons and daughters to war is the same generation that honors them," Kopp said. "It's important to remind ourselves what heroism and patriotism looks like."

"It's not just to recognize him, but it's the lessons his life teaches us all," Rice said. "This country does need people like Danny Dietz."

Discussion about the highway designation will begin at 9 a.m. on Friday inside the Senate Chambers at the State Capitol before heading over to the House. Dietz's family members are expected to attend. The discussion will be open to the public.
If you live in the area, I encourage you to attend. Pending work arrangements, I will try to be there in person.

Extensive previous coverage of Danny Dietz' story and the controversy over his memorial statue in the SP archives.

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