Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Congratulations to Ryan Frazier

In the Republican primary for the 7th Congressional District, Ryan Frazier won over Lang Sias. I look forward to doing everything I can to help Frazier win this race--I have complete faith and confidence in the man to represent us well. From the moment I met him a few years ago, while he was running here locally, I knew that he had the potential to be a big player at a much higher level.

It won’t be an easy fight against incumbent Ed Perlmutter, but it is a winnable race.

Read the rest. If you live in the area, consider signing up to help Frazier win this seat; he is a thoughtful and accomplished conservative and the kind of person who I will be proud to have represent us.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Tancredo, You Ignorant Slut

From the Denver Post’s blog this morning, we find that Tom Trancredo is getting ready to launch a third party candidacy.

Tancredo’s fixation on illegal immigration has sometimes reminded me of the Westboro Baptist Church’s obsession with gay folks: unhealthy and wrongheaded. Listening to him over the years--and, if you life in Colorado and vote somewhere on the right side of the divide, you’ll have been forced to listen to Tancredo regularly--it seems that there isn’t anything that can’t be blamed on the border-jumpers. Now, he doesn’t take it to the same place as those idiots from WBC, he doesn’t carry signs that say things like “God kills wetbacks” or anything like that, but, like those folks, Tancredo’s mind just seems to naturally drift toward that topic.

Personally, I think he would be a tremendous bore at a dinner party. He’d be that guy who followed you around, talking constantly about things that you showed even the vaguest, polite interest in, and scaring off all the pretty girls. I hate that guy. This is why Tancredo has never been invited to a Blogger Bash.

I’ve never had a problem with a guest worker program, although I’m a “enforce first, reform later” kind of a guy, so I’m not opposed to politicians who want to find ways to enforce our immigration laws and secure our borders. It’s just that he never seemed to have much else--aside from the occasional bellicose comments about waging war against our Muslim enemies--that defined him in the public eye. Illegal immigration is the issue that has defined his public service; and the one note that he sings on the subject gets pretty tiring over time.

I say this by way of noting that, damn, I’m tired of Tancredo and his almost Britney-esque need for public attention. Like the guy at that party, he just keeps following us around, constantly talking, smugly happy that he’s still got an audience, and entirely convinced that he’s changing the world. In fact, what he is managing most to do is alienate the people who should be naturally drawn to him. The guy at the party is pretty, though, and that’s where you find the difference: Tancredo is going to bring the damage.

After threatening the Colorado GOP last week, Tancredo made good on his threat this week: if the Republican candidates for the Governor’s office didn’t leave the race under the conditions that Tancredo had set, he was going to run as a third party candidate and punish them for not bowing to his pressure.

“I will officially announce at noon that I will seek the nomination of the constitution party,” Tancredo told The Denver Post.

The Littleton Republican must file some papers with the Colorado Secretary of State and register as a member of the American Constitution Party, but then “he’s ready to go,” raising money, disclosing his platform and launching a website that is already put together.

Tancredo gave Republican candidates Scott McInnis and Dan Maes an ultimatum last week: Promise to get out of the race after the primary if polls showed the winner lagging behind Democrat John Hickenlooper or else he would get in as a third-party candidate.

He has the right to run in this race, but he has no chance of winning and little chance of bringing Colorado GOP in line with all of his opinions. What he does have a chance of doing is acting as a spoiler for the race; he’ll have an opportunity to put in some a lot off effort to help re-elect Hickenlooper. And he has a decent chance of succeeding--his entry will make it much harder for the GOP candidate to win. What galls is that Tancredo’s success doesn’t leave us with a third party governor or more conservative governance in Colorado; it leaves us with Hickenlooper, a center left guy who doesn’t cross much ideological territory with Tancredo. Instead of supporting positive change, even though it didn’t perfectly fit the borders of his own preferred candidate (at all times, that candidate would be himself), he chose to support the Democrat’s candidate.

I imagine that Hickenlooper is sporting a big smile today.

Tancredo decided last week that he would hold the Colorado GOP hostage to his whims and this week he decided that his whims were to hurt the party, hurt the candidates, hurt conservatives, and hurt the people of Colorado by helping to re-elect Hickenlooper.

Tancredo, you ignorant slut. Instead of finding a way to help us, you’ve found a way to hurt us.

Read the rest.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

New Advocate for Conservative Colorado Bloggers

I heard a rumor about Darren Copeland--a name that will be familiar to most Denver area bloggers and to all regular Blogger Bash attendees--taking a new job as Director of Communications for the Colorado Senate Republican Caucus. A quick call to him confirmed the truth of the rumor and, being properly opportunistic, I decided to find out what exactly his new position might mean.

Apparently our Darren--who, of all the bloggers I know, seems best-equipped for this kind of a job given both his background in radio and his personality--will be coordinating all of the communication efforts for the Republican Senate caucus. That communication effort won’t be directed only toward mainstream media, but will include a concerted effort to “strengthen the relationship between Senators and bloggers.”

When I talked to him, Darren explained to me that he felt that the Democrats smartly made use of bloggers in the last election cycle and that he hoped to help build an avenue of communication between GOP Senators and bloggers to help support conservative efforts in Colorado. The next few years will be vital to the long term health of our state and enlisting the aid of influential writers throughout the region might make the difference between winning and losing an important battle. It’s that realization that leaves me personally excited by the potential for a Colorado GOP that works to engage bloggers in a way that we haven’t seen before (and, of course, excited to see one of my friends moving into a new phase of his career).

Of course, now that he is officially part of the establishment, I wondered if he would still be the same guy when it came time to come to the next Blogger Bash. His answer proves that even a little bit of power can be a corrupting influence. “As for the next RMBB I expect to be picked up at my house in a gilded carriage towed by six trained buffalo, announced at the door of the venue by John Elway with a 30 gun salute led by Jed, then carried into the room by Carmelo Anthony, Jay Cutler, Troy Tulowitzki, and Joe Sakic while Jerralyn Merritt and Stacy from ‘Still Stacy’ walk in front dropping Columbine flowers behind them (state flower of course).  Finally, I expect to be fed grapes and shots all evening until I retire for the evening at which point 15 professional wailers will loudly express their misery at the absence of my Obama-esque presence.’”

This is big news on a personal level and, potentially, very good news on a political level. If the Colorado Senate Republican caucus really does reach out to local bloggers, they might find willing and extremely capable allies. Good luck to Darren; we’ll be watching when you settle into your new position and we’ll hope for your success.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Coming Back for More

I’ve been ridiculously busy these last few weeks between a Russian language publication, a few little freelance jobs, and my normal social and professional obligations. I’m pretty sure I wasn’t missed. Which won’t stop me from jumping back into the pool because, frankly, I need to get a few thoughts off my chest.

Like, who the hell thinks it’s a good idea to question the tax free pension a Vietnam vet gets from the many injuries that he sustained in service to our country? Most especially when those injuries came when he was tortured as a POW?

Apparently the LA Times thinks its a good idea when the vet in question is running for President of the United States. They think it’s a good idea to insinuate that either he doesn’t deserve it because he’s really not all that disabled or, if he was wounded so severely, then he might not be physically capable of serving as president.

The fact that he is legally designated with a disability pension may raise further questions.

“It is a legitimate question to ask about the commander in chief: Is he fit to serve,” said Robert Schriebman, a senior Pentagon tax advisor and tax attorney who recently retired as a judge advocate for a unit of the California National Guard.

If McCain can hike across the Grand Canyon, then why should he be getting disability payments from the government that are tax-exempt, Schriebman asked.

McCain shattered his knee and broke both arms when he was shot down over North Vietnam in 1967.

In his autobiographies, McCain said that his knee still bothered him in cold weather and that he was unable to raise his hands above his shoulders.

See? Big fucking pool of stupid.

Firstly, he earned every penny of that pension in service to his country and I doubt very seriously that most Americans (we try to treat our vets well) will take the LA Times’ lead on this issue. I do not personally know the full extent of McCain’s injuries, but I do know that the military doesn’t just hand out 100%, tax free disabilities to everyone who gets a splinter. The injuries that he sustained had to have been severe.

Secondly, the office of the presidency is physically demanding--but not in the way that requires a guy who can run marathons in the morning before breakfast. As an example, and regardless of what anyone who thinks of FDR, he was exceptionally effective in acting as president with serious physical handicaps. I think McCain, even at his admittedly advanced age, can handle the stress.

And you know what else I don’t care about? His temper. I like that he gets pissed. I like that he isn’t always calm and level--there are things worth getting a little riled about.

As this political season continues (and, good Lord, can they possibly draw out the campaigning any longer? Will the next presidential campaign start before this one has even ended?) I find myself growing angrier. I’m tired of all the promises, the empty rhetoric, and the fact that none of the candidates will do the one thing that I really, really want: leave me the hell alone.

You know what else is making me cranky right now? Douglas Bruce is an ass, of that there is no doubt; but that doesn’t mean that he didn’t have the right to finish his statements about immigrants and a guest worker program being debated. To be sure, a guest worker program designed to bring in agricultural workers from our neighbor to the south isn’t a program designed to bring in college educated, highly skilled workers with literary ambitions. Our need for a guest worker program, whichever side of the argument you might take, is well worth debating, and, regardless of his insensitive statements, Bruce has a right to take part in that debate.

State Representative Douglas Bruce made the remark during a debate on the Statehouse floor. Lawmakers had been discussing a bill designed to ease a shortage of farm workers in Colorado.

Bruce was ordered to leave the podium immediately after the remark. But he says he knew exactly what he was saying.

And, anyway, adult literacy rates in Mexico are quite high, though, so “illiterate peasants” may have been factually wrong.

It would appear that he won’t be censured for his words--which is as it should be. I understand why so many people are upset, but he didn’t do anything illegal or unethical. He was merely being a bit of a jerk. Voters have ways of dealing with bad, non-criminal behavior in their elected representatives. That is also as it should be.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Damned, Evil Denver Police Department

Denver Post reporter Susan Greene relates a story that needs to be heard about a young man arrested erroneously, held for eight days without a court appearance, held under a name that wasn’t his, and, ultimately, treated poorly by DPD. I agree with Greene that these are all horrible things and everyone who erred should be held to account. The apology offered to Mr. Muse Jama hardly makes up for shabby treatment.

But Greene makes this into something much larger than the facts seem to warrant. First, she suggests that the actions of the DPD are similar to the actions of militias in Somalia.

Jama’s family fled their native Somalia in 1994 partly due to that country’s own problem with people disappearing mysteriously without cause.

What happened to Jama was purely wrong, but it hardly compares to what has happened to hundreds of thousands of people killed and displaced since Somalia began its civil war and descent into anarchy in 1988. When someone “disappears” in a country like Somalia, they don’t generally come back a week later with even a perfunctory apology from a court.

The evils of the Denver police can’t be contained in an oblique reference to a country with no real, functioning government for more than the last 15 years, though.

What kind of twisted, Abu Ghraib reality are law enforcers working in when they insist — over several days and despite evidence to the contrary — that you are someone you’re not?

One can only imagine that Greene has some inside information about the torture or abuse of Mr. Jama that she hasn’t shared with the class. Accidental incarceration happens, is horrible, and always deserves attention and consideration. But that hardly makes what happened to Mr. Jama similar in any way to the detention and abuse of prisoners in any way similar to what happened to prisoners at the hands of Charles Graner, Lynndie England and Co. much less the even more terrifying years of prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib under the rule of Sadam Hussein. The sickening part of Abu Ghraib isn’t that some people were mistakenly imprisoned for a few days, but that they were subjected to inhumane abuse at the hands of American soldiers.

Bringing the emotionally charged Abu Ghraib to this story is dishonest.

Innocent people are being plucked from their lives and caged because of police work that is beyond sloppy.

Yes, they are. In fact, Greene points out a grand total of three somewhat similar stories of errors made by Denver police. That doesn’t begin to justify the hysterical, unrelentingly outraged tone of Greene’s story or her suggestion that DPD is somehow similar to the militias of Somalia or the rogue US soldiers who abused detainees at Abu Grhaib. That distortion undermines her story, in fact.

Three documented mistakes (Are there more? If so, how many?) doesn’t constitute an epidemic of official misconduct. It does warrant investigation, public scrutiny, changes in policies and procedures, and punishment if criminal wrongdoing is found.

It’s just hard to see that the average Denver cop is working in some “kind of twisted, Abu Ghraib reality,” and her suggestion to the contrary is simply wrong. 

Friday, April 04, 2008

As Problems Go…

As problems go, this one seems pretty small. “Lloyd’s of London warned yesterday that an absence last year of natural disasters or man-made accidents was putting pressure on firms to reduce premiums in 2008.”

While I’m sure that a certain class of investor is a little worried, the rest of us are breathing a sigh of relief.

The problem with Putin’s request to “be friends...and engage in an honest dialogue” is that I don’t think he’d like what we have to say about his view of Russia or our post-Cold War international relationships. Frankly, he can take the entirety of the arctic circle (minus valuable natural resources, of course, which would have to be removed carefully beforehand) and shove it up his KGB-lovin’ butt.

I"m going to guess that’s not the kind of honest talk for which he was looking.

The problem with this is that it’s stupid. Which is Kenny Wright’s problem, too. Stupid. Which isn’t really unusual--the stuff gets all over the place if you aren’t careful.

The problem with wealthy, young socialites these days is that so many of them are intent on the dignified, smart use of their privilege, skills, intelligence, and wealth to support their philanthropic efforts, truly hoping to make the world a better place. Oh, wait, that’s not their problem at all. Their problem seems to be something else entirely.

Sorry about that.

The problem with pirates is that they aren’t much like that lovable, funny, yet desperately in need of some personal hygiene guidelines Captain Jack Sparrow. Which, if you look carefully, is also the problem with failed states (and, if you look even closer, the problem with fetishizing anarchy--but that’s a long conversation for another day).

The problem with today is that I’ve got a lot to do and no desire to do it. Which, as problems go, is a big one for me but not so much for you.

Just sayin’.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Denver Schools are Revolting. And I’m Not Talking About CSAP Scores.

A quiet revolution seems to be building in some Denver area schools--schools that want to be freed from the bureaucracy of the overblown administration and the dictates of the teachers’ union. And, best of all, they are doing it for the kids--only this time it isn’t a funny catch phrase used to point out the obvious manipulation of politics and events with teary-eyed tots in hopes of doing something like banning the bomb so that the children will never again be hugged with nuclear arms. Or something like that.

Anyway, this revolt started a few weeks back with another school that wanted to free itself from the bonds of the district in hopes of creating a better school where kids could excel. I’m not sure what I think of their plans--I’m haven’t seen a real road map, if you will, of what they are trying to do. I like, though, that they recognize that schools need to be able to deal with their neighborhoods, their kids, their parent, and their issues with more agility than a giant district can provide.

Eighteen northeast Denver schools are seeking to build an autonomous school zone — freeing them from union and district rules they say are bureaucratic barriers to improving student achievement.

Principals from several of the schools met Monday with 50 community members and educators at Montbello High School to outline the proposal, which will be presented this month to the school board.

Principals from the 18 schools want to create a “zone of innovation,” giving them control over their budget, the educational program in the schools, staffing and incentives.
They want their own human resources department, a budget support office and an enrollment center to help schools balance populations — sending more students to schools with empty classrooms and alleviating crowding in others.

“We’re talking about putting an umbrella out here to make sure our kids get help,” said Ruth Frazier, principal of Greenwood School that serves kindergartners to eighth-graders. “We’ve come together as a region. . . . This zone is to create a new operating system.”

The move is similar, in parts, to autonomy agreements and waiver requests being sought by other Denver schools.

I would like to hear more about their plans--why they think they can do better, what the changes would mean functionally, and how it will work in relation to things like budget and support issues--but I like the trend. Moving away from bureaucracy might well mean more efficiency and smarter choices for the schools and their students.

Hooray for Denver’s revolting schools!

Read the rest.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Rules for the Elect, #1

The first lesson that elected, male representatives up and down the food chain need to learn is this:

The penis stays in the pants unless you are with your doctor, significant other, or playing solitaire. If you know what I mean.

Other people don’t want to see your penis, no matter how impressive it (or your job title or your ego) may be.

Keep the penis in the pants.

I put this one first on the list because it seems to pop up fairly often. You’d think that this rule would be in some budding politician’s “Intro to Ruling the Rubes” “Your First Day on the Tax n’ Spend Trail” handbook, but it seems to have been omitted in all the pertinent literature.

Since I continue to want our elected overlords public servants to be successful and happy, I offer this up as my own public service. Sadly, it seems to have come up a little bit late for House Assistant Majority Leader Michael Garcia (D-Aurora).

House Assistant Majority Leader Michael Garcia is resigning as a state representative, effective immediately.

Our partners at the Denver Post have reported that Rep. Garcia (D-Aurora) was accused by a lobbyist of exposing himself and making lewd comments to her as they played pool and drank in a bar.

The Post also reports that the incident was reported to House Speaker Andrew Romanoff who said he could not comment on the matter.

Of course, his first mistake might have been trusting a lobbyist.

Even with this highly public advice, my guess is that politicians will continue to fall into the same trap of believing that their penises are far more desirable than rational thought might lead the rest of us to believe. Kind of like Hillary’s thoughts about the desirability of the Federal government mandating universal pre-k.

Read the rest.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Bill Ritter, You Ignorant Slut

Bill Ritter wants to raise taxes on the people of Colorado. He wants to raise taxes to the tune of an estimated $500 million a year.

Now, get this: he doesn’t want to let the people vote on it and he doesn’t want to call it a tax. How will he work his plan? By raising fees on the 5 million cars registered in Colorado by an “average of $100.” For reference, currently, according to the article, the average car registration in Colorado runs about $142--mine is a good chunk higher on a 2001 Mazda Millenia and I’m curious to see if I’d be right there in the “average” category. A $100 fee would tack about 50% onto my registration fee.

And I don’t have any say in the matter.

What is most frustrating is that since 1992, Colorado has had a “Tax Payers Bill of Rights” (TABOR) which is not only Douglas Bruce’s finest hour, but says that any tax that increases government revenue by more than the combined rate of population and inflation must be approved by a popular vote. There is a lot more to the TABOR Amendment, but this is the part that concerns us here. Ritter’s proposal--regardless of your opinion of the merit of his goal of rebuilding roads and bridges throughout the state--is designed to circumvent Colorado’s constitution and the TABOR Amendment by levying a monumental increase in fees in the state without allowing the voters any say in the matter.

While Democrats praised Ritter’s approach, Republicans said they were “flabbergasted” by his remarks, which followed eight months of study by his commission.

“The governor was unbelievable,” said Senate Minority Leader Andy McElhany of Colorado Springs. “Instead of a practical solution, all he wants to do is talk some more. And all he wants to talk about is another de facto tax imposed on the people of this state.”

Rep. Cory Gardner, R-Yuma, also trashed the registration-fee increase.

“A car tax is a penalty on Colorado families, poor and small businesses,” he said.

Republicans accused Ritter of trying to circumvent voters with a $500 million fee increase and said any proposal to generate significant money for transportation should go to the ballot.

Colorado’s citizens approved the TABOR Amendment because they wanted a hand in the economic decisions of the state--and a half-billion dollar end run around the voting public isn’t just a bad idea, it’s an unethical violation of the spirit of TABOR.

Governor Ritter, who is facing tough funding choices right now (partially because of some of the other interesting features of TABOR--features that I like because in theory it forces our state government to think hard about its funding decisions), should go to the people and make his case. If the roads and bridges are in such bad shape, explain to us why current registration fees, gas taxes, and other state funds aren’t enough to cover maintenance and repairs. If it is so necessary to pile this new spending onto the budget, persuade me and my fellow citizens that a fee or tax increase is the right path to solving the problem.

We may agree and we may not agree, but, ultimately, it’s our money that these folks are playing with.

Governor Ritter, you have an opportunity to back away from your suggestion and do the right thing by letting the people of Colorado vote and choose. We are adults and it would be nice if you would treat us as such.

Read the rest.

Update: Kindly linked by our friend, Robert.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

An Undeserved Suspension

Does it make sense that a man who teaches geography might use flags displayed in a classroom as a way to aid and supplement his lessons? Sure does. Does it make sense that that man should then be suspended for refusing to remove the flags because they might violate state law against displaying foreign flags in public buildings? Sure doesn’t. Yet, a teacher, Eric Hamlin, was suspended here in Colorado just for that reason after his principal, convinced that the display violated Colorado law, ordered the flags to be removed.

Firstly, the principal that ordered the removal of the flags was wrong: Colorado state law allows temporary displays of foreign flags for educational purposes. Secondly, kids should be introduced to the flags of the world and the symbolism that informs their designs.

Hamlin was actually suspended for insubordination--for refusing a reasonable request from a superior. It is debatable whether this was a reasonable request, but there is little question in my mind that Hamlin didn’t earn a suspension (and potential firing) for using foreign flags as teaching aids. There may be other problems with the content of Hamlin’s classes and previous disciplinary issues that influenced the principal’s decisions. The details in the Rocky, though, don’t appear to support the suspension.

Read the rest.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Ward Churchill: Not Quite Gone Yet

Ward Churchill wasn’t above using his (possibly imagined) ethnic heritage to help secure a job he otherwise never would have been seen as qualified to hold. He wasn’t above using that same (possibly manufactured) ethnic heritage as a fast track to tenure. He hasn’t been above using that (possibly fabricated) ethnic heritage as a sort of stage prop and window dressing. And, in fact, he seems to be utterly fine using his (possibly inaccurate) ethnic heritage to help shield himself from criticism.

According to the Churchill panel report, the professor will not face disciplinary action for having used his ethnicity to help land the job at CU, but he could face potential action if he is found to have “has attempted to gain a scholarly voice, credibility, and an audience for his scholarship by wrongfully asserting that he is an Indian.” While this racially sensitive portion of the panel’s findings is quite short, Churchill’s lawyer latches onto it like a rabid pit bull.

Read the Rest...


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