Friday, May 30, 2008

Story a shoo-in for public service Pulitzer

Both Denver papers covered the video of the perv extraterretrial on their respective front pages. The Post:

Over the course of three minutes or so, the footage shows a white creature with a balloon-shaped head that keeps popping up and down in a windowsill that was 8 feet above ground. The face was white, with large black eyes that seemed to blink.

"If it was a puppet, it would be a very elaborate and sophisticated puppet," said Alejandro Rojas, education director of MUFON, the Mutual UFO Network, who spoke at the press conference.

Rojas said the video was taken on July 17, 2003, in Nebraska by Stan Tiger Romanek, who set up the camera because he thought peeping Toms had been looking into his house at his two teenage daughters. Romanek did not appear at the news cnference.

Stan Tiger Romanek.
The creature would slowly pop its head up and peer through the window then drop suddenly down, apparently trying to avoid detection. It raised its head up about a half dozen times. The alien's other body parts were not visible.

It was unclear whether the creature was taller than 8 feet and was crouching to avoid detection or whether it was standing on something. It also was difficult, because of the faintness of the object, to tell whether it was three dimensional.

The creature may or may not have been three-d, but the reporter is definitely a cubetop. The News was much more arch:
The eyes of the world were on Denver today for the showing of a video that purports to show a space alien. Live transmissions and recordings of the video were not allowed. The Rocky's Bill Scanlon blogged live.

3:45 p.m. Several dozen people were in attendance today at the Tivoli on the Aurara [sic] campus in Denver. What did they see?

A classic E.T.-like creature, about 4 feet tall, with a narrow chin, a broad forehead and almond eyes.

Some people claimed to see its eyes and muscles move during the roughly two-minute video, which was briefly screened for reporters and the public at the Auraria campus today.

A skeptic said the being has a suspicious similarity to "Gray," the creature depicted in the classic 1957 movie "Earth vs. The Flying Saucers."
Actually, 1956.

Update: How embarrassing:
About 30 journalists were in the room for the screening, including a dozen TV cameras. Photographers were not allowed to capture images from the footage today because experts are still reviewing it, Rojas said.
Update II: The Post has video of the press conference up. Somebody should have asked Alien Boy if he thinks 9/11 was an inside job.

Update: Shoo-in, not "shoe-in," as I had it. You can trust the College Confidential site--its title is wearing a little mortarboard.


Independence Institute shrinking violet Jon Caldara:
You might recall that the Colorado Springs Gazette, in supporting our lawsuit against the state’s unconstitutional property tax increase, suggested that there be a statue erected of me. We now have a winner in the “Design the Jon Caldara Statue” contest! Pete Lepetsos created this inspirational masterpiece and for his troubles, he has won 2 tickets to our ATF Party June 28th.
Here it is:

Click to enlargitate.

Caldara: "I don’t know what I like better, me holding the sword with CU professor Ward Churchill’s head on it, or the sword through the Toyota Prius."

DNC host committee short of fundraising goals

Gee, there's a hot headline. Let's go Plunketting:
Millions of dollars behind in raising money and unlikely to meet a fast-approaching final deadline, the Denver committee hosting the Democratic National Convention is considering spending cuts.
Please don't cut the the sonic ray gun. Please don't cut the sonic ray gun.

Committee sources say they are working with the Democratic National Convention Committee to consider lowering the $55 million in private cash and donated services that must be raised to bring the convention to town. The cuts would be made to the many parties the host committee is obligated to throw for the delegations and the news media, and other hospitality functions not tied to production aspects inside the convention hall. With less than 90 days to the convention and no way to stage it elsewhere, the shortfall in funds could mean the Democratic Party's plan to showcase itself in a smaller city [read: cowtown] will result in making do with less.

The development could likewise hurt Denver's desire to showcase itself, both in the civic programs it wants to stage during the convention week [Cinemocracy?] and in future bids.

"It's never good to not deliver the goods," said Eric Sondermann, a political analyst in Denver.

That's why he's a political analyst and you're not (unless you are, in which case, would you mind explaining why the Drunkablog wasn't picked for the DNC general blogger pool?).
DNCC spokeswoman Natalie Wyeth declined to discuss the matter but said in a statement, "We are always reviewing our budgets and plans to ensure we are being fiscally responsible and budgeting efficiently and effectively throughout the planning period."

The host committee sources didn't specify an amount they wish to cut. But committee officials are $15 million short of the $40 million in cash they are contractually obligated to raise by June 16.

The committee also must raise $15 million in donated services, which, if those aren't offered, must be bought. The value of donated services offered to date has not been released.

The committee never established an $19.5 million line of credit it agreed to in its contract with the DNCC. Officials had said they didn't think it would be necessary. Now those officials say it would be impossible to establish.
Nice work.

More: Here's a list of the bloggers receiving credentials for the DNC. In case you hadn't heard, the Drunkablog is not among them.

More yet: CBS4, in a belated story on the latest ACLU suit, has a picture of (I think) a sonic ray gun:

Watch out, Godzilla, er, Spagnuolo.

Weird Bird Friday

I googled "birds in wigs" thinking I'd find lots to choose from. This was the only one, however.

Definitely at least a runner up for the best Elvis impersonation, don't you think?


Thursday, May 29, 2008

DailyKos, ProgressNow to host leftie DNC bloggers in air conditioned luxury

And your darling D-blog was turned down for the Democratic National Convention general blogger pool. Got this from the DNCC tonight:

Hi there.

I'm writing regarding your application to the 2008 Democratic National Convention's General Blogger Pool.

As you may know, we've had overwhelming interest in the credentialed blogger program this year. Several hundred great blogs submitted applications. But we have very limited space. Unfortunately, your blog will not be credentialed at 2008 Democratic National Convention.

Yeah, well, I didn't want to report on your stupid convention anyway. You'll be hearing from my lawyer.
Regardless of your vantage point, the DNCC staff is focused on making sure your blog can report on the Convention. We'll provide a live, HD-quality video stream of Convention proceedings – from gavel to gavel. And whether you're reporting from elsewhere in Denver or halfway around the globe, we'll be sending extensive press material to you and other members of the media.
Oh boy, extensive press material! Anyway, here's what might be called the news from the e-mail:

[A] group of Denver-based organizations is creating a blog-friendly media center near the Convention site in downtown Denver. ProgressNow, the Alliance for Sustainable Colorado, and the Wright Group are working with Daily Kos [you know them] to create "The Big Tent". This media facility will operate throughout the week of the Convention. It will be just a few blocks from the Pepsi Center and may be of interest to you. . . .

Participants in The Big Tent will enjoy a WiFi-enabled, air-conditioned blogging/new media lounge, "The Big Stage" with some of the most well known faces in the non-profit and political world, as well as food, drinks, entertainment, and much more.
I'm applying even as we speak.

Update: What's with the MIM-like omission of the definite article before "2008 Democratic Convention"?


Local brieflets

Revealing Colorado as only Coloradoeanians know it.

  • Crazy man to show clips of extraterrestrial pervert:
    An extraterrestrial peering into a window was captured on videotape, and a few clips from that footage will be shown tomorrow in Denver, according to a man who wants the city to create an Extraterrestrial Affairs Commission to handle alien encounters.

    Jeff Peckman says the alien is "innocent, benevolent, youthful, more smooth-skinned than the kind of wrinkly 'E.T.' extraterrestrial in the movie." . . .

    Peckman said the alien visited a private home in Nebraska a few years back. The figure stands about four feet tall, he estimates.
  • Scary pic:

    (Photo: Matt Kroschel - The Mountain Mail Newspaper)

    A Fort Collins woman is recovering from injuries suffered when her inflatable kayak got caught in some low-hanging tree branches over the Arkansas River and she was dumped into the water.

    A river guide kept Schneider's head above water until Salida fire and rescue crews arrived and pulled her from the
    river. . . .

    She was taken to Heart of the Rockies Regional Medical Center in Salida suffering from hypothermia, low oxygen and possible water in her lungs.
    (Hi, D-a-W!)

  • "Ice cream truck sought in hit and run":
    Denver police were on the lookout Wednesday night for an ice cream truck involved in a hit-and- run accident on Kalispell Street.

    Kids were skating alongside the truck when an 11-year-old girl fell and the truck ran over her arm, police said.

    "According to what we understand from witnesses, the driver of the ice cream truck stopped and got out of his truck," said police spokesman Sonny Jackson. However, the driver got back into his truck and drove off, Jackson said. The girl was taken to Children's Hospital for treatment of a possible broken arm.
    Editorial comment (does not necessarily reflect the views of the Drunkablog or his alternate personalities): Jeez. (Update: the driver has turned himself in.)

    Not a cowtown:

    We're No. 42.

    Denver-Aurora ranked 42nd in per-capita greenhouse carbon emissions among the nation's 100 largest metropolitan areas, according to a study by the Brookings Institution.

    "Denver is still a sprawling, auto-driven metro area," said Marc Munro, Brookings' director of metropolitan policy.

    In October, Mayor John Hickenlooper adopted the city's first Climate Action Plan, which aims to cut 1.8 million tons of carbon by 2012.

    "We are trying to offer ways for homes and business to become green and energy-efficient," said Michele Weingarden, director of Greenprint Denver, the city's environmental initiative. "It's a big undertaking and one everyone has a role in."
    Or else. Hey, did you notice the Post's new "green" logo?

    How could you not have?

  • And I'll just throw this bit of DNC crud in because I can:

    Boulder County law enforcement agencies will dedicate about 75 officers and thousands of hours of service to help Denver police with the 2008 Democratic National Convention.

    The Denver Police Department is seeking to contract with as many as 40 suburban departments to help patrol and control the Aug. 25-28 convention. . . .

    According to a draft agreement being presented to the City Council at its June 3 meeting, 25 Boulder police officers will be assigned primarily to provide security at Denver hotels where delegates are lodged.

    In addition, two Boulder detectives will be assigned to unspecified "intelligence and counterterrorism measures."

  • Writer: R!68 not violent, just misunderstood

    In a Speakout column in the News, Ryan Voss of Fort Collins sets us straight on !Recreate!68:
    I'm writing to try to correct some very serious misconceptions I've been seeing lately. The Democratic National Convention protest organization Re-create 68 has been getting a very bad rep in the media, and I'd just like to submit my own experiences for consideration.

    What I've seen has been worlds apart from how the group has been portrayed in the Rocky Mountain News and elsewhere; a wide variety of people from many different backgrounds, coming together to find an effective way to voice their opposition to, among other things, the complicity of the Democratic Party in the Bush administration's war and other wretched policies, and all totally committed to nonviolence in doing so.

    I haven't seen any trace of the violent, destructive troublemakers that the group has been made out to be. Just the opposite; much of the organizing I've witnessed has revolved around such "troublemaking" activities as feeding the displaced homeless, training first-aid responders in case other groups or police become violent, arranging speakers and bands, and the like.
    Funny, that's exactly what Tent City honcho Adam Jung said roughly 13 seconds before the group severed ties with R!68 because of (he said) the violence of its rhetoric and its inability to work with other anti-war groups.

    Wednesday, May 28, 2008

    Fish cheer

    Stanley Fish belatedly hears that CU is looking for a professor of conservative thought:
    I’ve just returned from New Zealand and find that in my absence the University of Colorado – the same one that earlier this year appointed as its president a Republican fund-raiser with a B.A. in mining and no academic experience – has gifted me again, this time with the announcement of plans to raise money for a Chair in Conservative Thought and Policy.

    Why? The answer is apparently given in the first sentence of a story that appeared in the May 13th edition of the Rocky Mountain News: “The University of Colorado is considering a $9 million program to bring high-profile conservatives to teach on the left-leaning Boulder campus.”
    Fish thinks it's all rather silly, of course--which it is, though not for the reasons he thinks--but volunteers anyway:
    G.P. Peterson, the chancellor of the Boulder campus, who has been prattling on about “intellectual diversity” (always and only a stalking horse for political diversity), did have a moment when he seemed to be an academic administrator rather than a political operative. He acknowledged that the professor of conservative thought didn’t have to be an actual conservative, and pointed out that many teachers of French “aren’t necessarily French.” (Of course the analogy doesn’t work: you don’t get to choose your country of origin; you do get to choose your political beliefs.)

    Taking him at his word, I hereby apply for the job. If what is wanted is someone to teach conservative political thought starting with Plato and Aristotle and hitting the highlights including Hooker, Hobbes, Adam Smith, Burke, Schmitt, Wyndham Lewis, Oakeshott, Strauss, Kirk, Bork et al , I can do that. And if the job is to teach the tradition of conservative aesthetic thought, again beginning with Plato and Aristotle and including Dante, Puttenham, Swift, Pope, Bergson, Matthew Arnold, Irving Babbitt, Eliot, Pound and Allan Bloom, I can do that, too. The only sticking point might be the salary. The suggested figure, which is supposed to include money for an assistant, is $200,000. That, I’m afraid, is pretty low-end. But then again, Boulder is a nice place.
    Boulder's got it all!

    Obama in Denver area today

    Bill Scanlon, who's worked for this crusty ol' scabtown's papers since about 1862, liveblogs Barack Obama's visit to the pompously named but allegedly successful Mapleton Expeditionary School of the Arts (MESA) in Thornton. Sample:
    2:45 p.m. Evie Hudak, a member of the Colorado State Board of Education, said she’d been waiting all her life to hear a speech by a presidential candidate that zeroed in on what is most important about education.

    “It was inspiring,” said Hudak, who is running for state Senate. “At times it brought tears to my eyes.

    “To hear a presidential candidate talk about the importance of teachers, and their needing to be paid like the professionals they are ...I’ve been waiting to hear a speech like that.”
    Update: Wisdom from children during Obama's tour of the school:

    John Karger, 14, an eighth-grader at MESA, gave Obama a tour of the black experience in America beginning in Africa.

    "Resilience is really how they bounced back ... and how they created a new black community," Karger said as he pointed to posters on the walls he and the other eighth-graders had made in class.

    He showed Obama a map of West Africa. "It helps you visually see what's going on," Karger said.

    Obama nods in agreement.

    Krager then explains the Middle Passage. "It was horrible," he tells Obama. "It was so inhumane that a lot of them preferred death because it was that bad."

    He then explained the Civil War and the Harlem Renaissance, including the students' versions of their own Jacob Lawrence paintings.

    Well, somebody's got to teach the man history.

    Update II: Abstract of the Week!
    This paper introduces an integrated teacher education model based on the Expeditionary Learning Outward Bound Project model. It integrates early childhood, elementary, and special education and uses inquiry-oriented and social constructive approaches. It models a team approach, with all teachers unified in their mutually shared philosophy of education. The Expeditionary Learning model challenges future teachers to learn core concepts, develop divergent thinking approaches, see issues from multiple perspectives, appreciate collaborative learning processes, and apply what they learn to solve real problems in teaching. The model includes five blocks, each featuring unique, theme-based experiences (diversity of human experiences, tools for literacy and communication, going on a treasure hunt, critical analysis of teaching and learning, and reflection and integration). Data from students' notes posted on the course Web site, weekly faculty meeting notes, and e-mail messages suggest that students had to work hard to adjust to very different kinds of learning experiences that were highly socially constructive but, in the end, they appreciated the shared responsibility, collaboration, technology infusion, use of community-based resources, integrated curriculum, and diversity. Faculty believed the workload was tremendous, and the experience was demanding but rewarding.

    ACLU sues Denver again over police equipment purchases

    The Post:
    The American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado today sued the city and county of Denver seeking disclosure of public records related to purchase of security-related equipment for the upcoming Democratic National Convention.

    The city twice has twice denied requests filed by the ACLU under the Colorado Open Records Act seeking disclosure of the records, the lawsuit filed in Denver District Court states.

    Mary Dulacki, the records coordinator for the city's department of safety, has denied release of the records based on the grounds that disclosure "was contrary to the public interest" and because "it could potentially disclose tactical security information."

    Mark Silverstein, the legal director for the ACLU of Colorado, said in a prepared statement that the city was being overly restrictive.

    He argued that he did not believe the public records requested would contain any "tactical security information." Even if it did, he said, the Colorado legislature has passed amendments to the open records laws that would allow disclosure of how the money is being spent while allowing for deletion of more sensitive information. . . .

    He said the lack of information has prompted rumors, such as whether the city had acquired a "sonic ray gun" for crowd control.

    "If Denver is buying such a device, or any other new-fangled so-called 'less lethal weapons, the public is certainly entitled to know," Silverstein said in a statement. "And the public is entitled to ask whether Denver has adequately evaluated the manufacturers' self-serving claims of safety, has established appropriate policies to regulate how and when officer may use such weapons, and has adequately trained officers."

    Afrospherians charge racism in selection of DNC bloggers

    The Post links to a Wapo story about black bloggers' complaints that they've been excluded from the Democratic National Convention's blogger pool:

    With the Democratic National Convention less than three months away, and with Web pundits playing an even bigger role during the four-day event, a whole other drama is chewing up the blogosphere -- and the often unmentioned Afrosphere.

    A small taste of the commentary:

    "OK, folks, black bloggers to the back of the bus," read one post on the African American Political Pundit, one of the more prominent national black blogs. A posting on Georgia Politics Unfiltered, a state blog, read: "Jim Crow raises his ugly head . . . at the Democratic Convention."

    The protracted primary has been like a bottomless glass to thirsty national and local bloggers -- so much to blog about! -- and about 400 of them have applied to attend the convention. Although four years ago the credentialing of 30 bloggers in a single pool was a historic event, this August there are two blogger pools: a State Blogger Corps and a General Blogger Pool.

    The Drunkablog is still in the running for the general pool.
    The State Corps is considered the more elite [ewwwww, elite]; its 55 bloggers will have floor access all four days, sit next to their state delegations and be hooked up to the Internet. Those not chosen for the State Corps are competing for spots in the General Pool, which will have rotating floor access. The State Corps list was announced nearly two weeks ago; the General Pool list, DNC officials say, will be released this week.
    The Drunkablog is keeping his fingers crossed.
    Natalie Wyeth, spokeswoman for the convention committee, says criteria for selecting State Corps bloggers were readership, online ratings and focus on local and state politics. The General Pool will also be selected on the basis of readership and online ratings, she adds, with an emphasis on bloggers covering "national politics to niche issues of interest to specific communities."
    Race was not a factor in the selection of the State Corps, Wyeth repeatedly says.
    The general pool application didn't ask about race at all.
    In the growing political Web, many of the most popular liberal blogs -- save for DailyKos, created by Markos "Kos" Moulitsas Zúniga, whose heritage is in part Latino -- are run by white men, as was evident at last year's YearlyKos blogapalooza, the gathering of the who's who of the netroots crowd. It's not because the blogosphere is racist, bloggers say, but because, at about five years old, it is still evolving. . . .
    Five years old?

    But, to the frustration of black bloggers, the list [of convention bloggers] appears to be mostly white -- during a primary race in which black voters turned out in droves in Georgia, South Carolina and Mississippi. And, they add, this pool is for coverage of a convention that might very well see the first African American presidential nominee.

    In other words, this constitutes convention drama and, rightly or wrongly, people are getting called out, e-mails are being exchanged, accountability is being demanded. Francis L. Holland, one of the vocal black bloggers, sent e-mails to DNC officials asking that 15 black-operated blogs be added to the State Corps.

    "There is nothing 'Democratic' about an all-white Democratic National Convention floor blogging corps," he wrote in an e-mail. Holland is also asking for the inclusion of 15 Latino-operated blogs.

    How equal-opportunity of him.
    L.N. Rock, a Silver Spring-based information technology professional and founder of the African American Political Pundit blog, likens this "black shut-out" in the State Corps to an "I'm sick-and-tired-of-being-sick-and-tired" Fannie Lou Hamer moment. The civil rights activist and Mississippian challenged her state's all-white delegation at the 1964 Democratic convention.
    Read whole thing, as well as Francis L. Holland's blog post.

    Tuesday, May 27, 2008

    Denver to get fed money for DNC killbots

    Well, to cover insurance for cops from outside of town, anyway. The Post:
    The federal government has agreed to reimburse Denver for the $1.85 million in upfront costs of liability insurance and workers' compensation insurance to cover outside police during the Democratic National Convention.
    And it looks like R!68's famous downtown camera hunt last March might have been pointless:
    The council also will soon consider approving a $947,364 contract for a wireless-camera system from Avrio Group for security during the convention. The money would be reimbursed from funds provided by a $50 million federal grant to cover security costs related to the convention.

    Police officials also said they were developing standards for video surveillance and already had rules in place, including prohibitions on using the cameras for voyeurism.
    Good for you, boys in blue!
    The police department will be able to continue to use the system once the convention is over, he said.
    Not so crazy about that.
    Civil libertarians have raised concerns about the cameras, saying they would intrude on privacy.

    Re-create 68 co-founder Glenn Spagnuolo [not a civil libertarian, fyi], who is organizing protests during the convention, said the money was being misspent. He said his group already is trying to determine where existing security cameras have been installed and will try to find locations for whatever else is bought.

    Will Revo the Rabbit be there to help again?
    "We feel this is getting ridiculous," he [Spagnuolo, not Revo] said. "It's the over-militarization of the community."

    He added that "something is wrong when schools are being closed in Denver while tax funds are being used to purchase this."
    Yes, yes there is. We just differ on who's to blame.
    The council will soon consider two additional convention-related purchases: a $588,550 contract for a computer-aided dispatch system and a $677,560 purchase for a unified mobile command unit. Both would be reimbursable expenditures.
    More: The Neocon's Guide to the Democratic National Convention (hyuck, hyuck) and the Liberal Protester's Guide to same.

    McCain: I'll never surrender in Iraq; protesters protest

    The Rocky live-blogged John McCain's speech at DU today:
    Within 10 minutes of Sen. John McCain’s speech on foreign policy at the University of Denver he was interrupted by several protesters four separate times –- each chanting “end this war” repeatedly until they were removed.

    The crowd quickly drowned them out by chanting “John McCain. John McCain, John McCain.”

    McCain responded each time, drawing a standing ovation when he said, “By the way, I will never surrender in Iraq. Our American troops will come home with victory and with honor.”

    The Republican nominee for president also chastised the protesters, telling them that they are interfering with others’ rights to free speech.
    Well, duh.

    Update: Here's video of the speech. Protesters at around 1:46, 4:31, 6:46 (where McCain makes the "never surrender" statement) and 10:15.

    Update II: Git!

    Post, liberal blog to webcast DNC talky-talk

    The Plunkett of Chuckster:
    Grab a cold one and enjoy some politics and convention talk Wednesday night.

    The Denver Post and are staging a webcast from Drinking Liberally Denver's meeting at Mario's Double Daughters Solotto Wednesday at 7 p.m.
    Mario's Double Daughters Solotto?
    We're featuring some prominent liberal bloggers from Colorado discussing the upcoming Democratic National Convention and politics. The 30-minute webcast will include Aaron Silverstein and John Erhardt of Both plan to cover the Denver convention, with named the official credentialed blog for Colorado, allowing them to sit with the state's delegation.
    Well ain't they grand. Chuck will be moderating and wants questions, which you can submit at

    Monday, May 26, 2008

    Wisdom of children on display in new short films for DNC competition

    It's the kiddies' turn as Denver School of the Arts unleashes its middle- and high school auteurs to make short fillums about democracy for the Democratic National Convention. Some of the movies and tiny synopsi:

    What is Democracy? Twelve-year-olds answer the question (free speech and crap like that), then ask, "Is it really democratic that we deny some people the right to enter the country?" They think the answer is no.

    Listen. A girl loses her best friend because she's mean and never listens--just like George Bush with the whole country.

    Risk. Two kids play Risk and start a real war, or something. Some really bad Claymation. It's a "Kids With Disabilities Production," which is rather cute.

    The Outcast. A kid walks out of a classroom where all the other kids are reading silently in unison like they're robots or something. Whoa. Tagline: "To have a say in things that are done, is showing individuality and democracy." Must be a bad translation from the Little Red Book. A "Denver School of the Ars" production.

    2010. The movie R!68 wishes it could make.

    Democracy in a Box. Yet another group of middle-schoolers and a few adults say what they think democracy is. Then they draw pictures of it. Pat Schroeder's daughter Diana DeGette guests, steals somebody else's picture.

    And my favorite of the kiddie flicks: America's Downfall. "Spring. It begins."

    There are a few new shorts from grownups, too. They stink, of course:

    Community Values is America's Story. "It's time that the people--the sick, the poor, the people with disabilities--we all need to rise up." An ad for something called the Campaign for Community Values. Vaguely socialist mush.

    The Promise of Democracy. Straight Algorian fantasy w/polar bear. Worth seeing for the picture of Algore they use, which was taken about 15 years and 80 pounds ago.

    The Waiting is Over. a "A hand-clapping, foot-stomping celebration guaranteed to lift your political spirits" as two guys wearing animated sheep heads sing in celebration of the end of Bushitler's Fourth Reich.

    Check 'em all out! The Cinemocracy site has undergone a revamp, but their embed codes are still useless.

    Update: And don't forget to vote for your favorite, which will be shown at the convention.

    Sunday, May 25, 2008

    Sunday Night at the Radio!

    Jack Benny! From Swamp, er, Camp Adair, "Infantry" (14 May 1943).

    The Great Gildersleeve: "City Employees' Picnic" (21 May 1943).

    And The Six-Shooter: "Jenny" (20 September 1953). Last week I played the audition show; this, I think, is the first broadcast show.

    Police blotter!

    Yourhub (bub):
    A Jefferson County Sheriff's deputy was sent to a home on the 11000 block of West Burgundy Avenue on a report of a disturbance at 9:44 April 26. The deputy spoke to a 35-year-old man who said he was in an argument with his 28-year-old girlfriend about what the first word in the dictionary is. The man said he thought the first word was "aardvark"and his girlfriend thought it was the word "a". The man said the argument became loud, but there was no physical violence during the debate. The deputy spoke to the woman who confirmed the story. The deputy determined no crime was committed.

    Libertarians on sixth ballot!

    As everybody knows, the party is meeting in Denver this weekend to select its candidate for president. Right now they're tallying the sixth ballot (it's on C-Span) and only Bob Barr and Mary Ruwart are left. The tension is driving me mad--oh, wait, that's a mosquito bite. Reason is liveblogging the excitement.

    Update: It's BobBarr, 324 to 276! Tremble, Rethuglicans and Dhimmicrats!

    Ward Churchill has operation for aneurysm

    The disgraced ex-professor underwent surgery Friday for an aneurysm in his leg, a source tells the Drunkablog. Churchill pal Shannon Francis sent out this e-mail:
    Our brother Ward Churchill went in for surgery today for an aneurysm in his leg/ankle. Please send your prayers out to Ward for a good outcome and quick recovery. When I get more information, I will send out later. Talk soon!
    Iliff School of Theology prof and American Indian Movement elder Tink Tinker had a little more:
    I just spoke to Natsu and Ward is doing just fine. Resting easily. The surgery was a success, so the surgeons say. Keep him in your thoughts just to make sure.

    Friday, May 23, 2008

    All Things Considered does R!ecreate68

    Not much new from NPR Denver reporter Jeff Brady, but a few good nuggets. For one, Brady says "the city's head of security for the convention says he's talking to the group and is relatively comfortable all will go smoothly." But wasn't Glenn Spagnuolo claiming just a couple of days ago that the city had cut off communications? Yes, he was. Odd. Maybe the new guy renewed contact.

    Brady: "[R!68 cofounder Barbara] Cohen says the group is operating on a tight budget. It has about $1500" (ten of that is mine; if this thing fizzles I want it back). The tightness of the budget raises a frightening possibilty. Cohen:
    In case we have to get our own port-a-potties, we will be having an adopt-a-port-a-potty campaign, where for $120 you can pay for a port-a-potty and that will give you the right to decorate it . . .
    Is she serious? They're expecting 50,000 people and they don't know who's paying for the port-a-potties? What if they don't get adopters? Will the city have to pony up, or are we looking at 50,000 people and three (nicely decorated) port-a-potties in Civic Center park?

    Along with some fun sounds from 1968 like William F. Buckley threatening to push Gore Vidal's face in if Vidal doesn't stop calling him a "crypto-nazi," Brady digs up a couple of original 68ers for quotes. Tom Hayden says the potential for violence in Denver is less because likely nominee Barack Obama opposes the war. Fellow 68er Bobby Seale says he won't be marching; he had a heart attack a few years ago and has a defibrillator. Seale's son, Brady says, is an army reservist on his way to Iraq in June. What a country. Happy Memorial Day!

    DNC parade route to be announced June 12; other agreements reached between city, ACLU

    The Rocky lacklusterly leads:
    The ACLU of Colorado has reached agreement with the city of Denver and the U.S. Secret Service on some of the issues the group raised in a federal lawsuit dealing with First Amendment rights during the Democratic National Convention this August.

    Denver will announce the designated parade route to the Pepsi Center, the site of the convention Aug. 25-28, by June 12.

    The ACLU preserves its right "to challenge the adequacy" of the parade route and to "argue for a prompt disclosure of the location and other details relating to the termination point of that route."

    Denver will try to accommodate up to three parades daily [!] on the designated route.

    Denver will begin processing already-pending requests for parade permits June 12 and will complete that processing by June 19.

    Denver will establish a "Public Demonstration Zone" on the grounds of the Pepsi Center
    As the story notes, the ACLU still has some isseeyous, especially that termination point. They want a court order (from their press release):
    directing Denver to disclose promptly the termination point of the Designated Parade Route;

    directing Denver to disclose promptly all restrictions that it will impose on activity within the Public Demonstration Zone, such as

    the location and size of the zone

    any restrictions on the number of persons allowed in the zone at one time

    the locations of all entrances and exits

    the nature, height, and transparency of any barriers that will interfere with or limit communication between persons inside the zone and delegates outside the zone

    any restrictions on signs or banners within the zone

    any additional regulations or restrictions on First Amendment activity within the zone;
    and directing Denver to disclose any plans to close or restrict access to any other public forum space as a result of the DNC.
    Lawyers. Is there anything they won't demand?

    (via El Presidente, who links to the better Post story. Chuck Plunkett rules!)

    More: Ed Driscoll says Hillary's RFK assassination remark shows that even she's worried about Recreate68.

    We gotta get out of this place

    As if the presence in Denver during the DNC of Christine Aguilera, Bono, Oprah, George Clooney, Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks weren't enough, the Post's Bill Husted notes that:
    Re-Create 68 Alliance will be camped in Lincoln Park. I hear they're thisclose to having Rage Against the Machine play during the confab. Sean Penn's bus, the Dirty Hands Caravan, is being courted to come to town with its New Orleans volunteers. Word is Penn's very interested in being here.

    Weird Bird Friday

    Expired chicken breasts!

    From here.


    Thursday, May 22, 2008


    Rocky Mountain News liberal baglady Mike Littwin on "The night I met 'Teddy'." You can imagine. I'll just quote one commenter: "Oh gods below, Littwin. Did you save the blue dress, too?"

    Meanwhile, in the front yard . . .

    University of Colorado student newspaper adopts "equal space" rule

    Not voluntarily. According to chancellor and blame-dispersal unit G.P. "Bud" Peterson last month, CU,
    under the leadership of Provost Phil DiStefano . . . pledged to review recommendations made by Journalism Dean Paul Voakes and the faculty of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication for restructuring and oversight of the Campus Press. As a result of these recommendations, the Campus Press editors have adopted a new opinion policy that states in part, that all opinions deemed controversial will be discussed by student editors who will strive to offset controversial opinions with a counter opinion published the same day and on the same page.
    Peterson announced a few other new and humiliating policies:
    Beginning in Spring 2009 the Campus Press will no longer qualify for course credit but will be open to all students. However, the School of Journalism and Mass Communication will continue to support this effort by providing space, a professional advisor and a modest operating budget. Finally, Journalism Dean Paul Voakes will create a Campus Press oversight board that will include not only journalism faculty but also non-journalism students, faculty and administrators representing a broad diversity of campus interests.
    All of these policies, of course, in response to the PC stupidstorm kicked up by CU student Max Karson's mega-lame, fake-racist satire in the Press last February. What's hard to believe is that the journalism faculty recommended them. Way to be craven, guys.

    (via the Vincent Carroll piece linked below, which I'll link to again anyway)

    Carroll: R68 is a bunch of babies

    Rocky editorial page editor Vince Carroll is on fire! Stop, drop and roll, Vinnie!

    While he's doing that, I'll quote from his latest editorial:

    Speaking of activist groups with a hair trigger, could there possibly be one more tedious than the Re-create 68 Alliance with its endless complaints about access to Denver parks during this summer's Democratic National Convention?

    Waaa! We didn't get a permit to protest in Civic Center on the eve of the convention. . . .
    Doesn't "Waaaah!" have an "h" on the end?

    It is particularly rich to see Re-create's Glenn Spagnuolo invoking constitutional rights and fair play in the group's pursuit of protest permits. After all, he doesn't actually believe in the First Amendment as most of us understand it - at least not when the issue is whether the Columbus Day parade should enjoy an undisrupted trip through Denver's downtown. Then Spagnuolo can be found in lock step with the likes of Ward Churchill, who would shut the parade down.
    The likes of Ward Churchill?

    Now Spagnuolo presumes to lecture Denver officials about the importance of free speech. Which is important only when he says so, apparently.
    Carroll still doesn't get it: The Columbus Day parade isn't an exercise of free speech. It's a hate crime, and therefore not protected by the First Amendment.

    Update: More DNC via EP at SP:

    1. Glenn Spagunolo was on Peter Boyles' show several times earlier this month. Having long ago forged the habit of never listening to Boyles, I missed them. This show (May 7), also has Larry Hales, and sounds quite dated already. Boyles, of course, asks obnoxiously easy questions (How many people will be here protesting, Glenn? How many do you think, Larry?). I'll listen to the rest of them (find them here) someday, maybe.

    2. Fartmobiles:

    The Molson Coors Brewing Co. has been named the official ethanol provider for the 2008 Democratic National Convention, to be held in Denver Aug. 25-28.

    Molson Coors (NYSE: TAP) of Denver, and its Golden-based Coors Brewing Co. subsidiary, will donate all the E85 ethanol needed to power a fleet of General Motors Corp. (NYSE: GM) flex-fuel vehicles to be used at the convention.

    Molson Coors also is Presidential-level sponsor of the convention, and will provide beer for Denver 2008 Convention Host Committee convention and pre-convention events, meetings, media briefings and VIP events. Presidential is the highest level of convention sponsorship, with sponsors contributing $1 million or more of cash and/or services, according to the host committee.

    Uh-huh. Another interesting fact or figure:

    While most ethanol comes from corn, Molson Coors' ethanol is produced from waste beer. The ethanol used in DNC vehicles will come from Coors Brewing's brewery in Golden.

    There's an oxymoron only fellow alkys will appreciate: waste beer. It's not waste unless there's a cigarette butt floating in it (and sometimes not then). Coors produces 3 million gallons of ethanol annually.

    3. DNCC essay contest winners announced. Here's the opening graf of high school junior Maria Tanabe's essay, "Restless for Change" (pdf):

    "And so, my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do--ask what you can do for your country." The wise words of John F Kennedy are timeless and resonate loudly in the upcoming election of 2008. The future of our country is change and the power behind that change is the people. Individuals are becoming involved and are participating in government because the world is quickly shifting, and everyone wants a voice in the change.
    Young people are the future of this country.

    Wednesday, May 21, 2008

    For further information

    Look elsewhere. "Normal" blogging will resume shortly. If you haven't heard all the good R68! stuff that's been going on, check out Slapstick Politics. El Presidente has even begun a DNC "countdown" roundup that's chock full of DNC-ee goodness.

    Monday, May 19, 2008

    Anarchists give up on Recreate!6!8

    A long, long piece by the jolly sociopaths at Crimethinc discusses the effectiveness of "mass mobilizations" and strategerizes on the RNC and DNC protests, taking time to diss Recre!at!e68 along the way:
    Unfortunately, in the course of the past year, major differences have emerged between the local organizing in Denver and St. Paul. It now appears that, as in 2004, the demonstrations at the RNC will be several orders of magnitude larger than those at the DNC. Like it or not, we must take this into account. . . .

    [A]narchist organizing [for the DNC] has taken place in the shadow of Recreate 68, a coalition of liberal and radical groups. This has manifested itself most recently with the cancellation of one of Unconventional Denver’s two primary days of action, despite two nationwide consultas [!] and months of planning, at the request of an immigrant and Chicano rights coalition. . . .
    Hadn't heard about that. No doubt accusations of racism were exchanged. But really, you have to wonder what R68!!! honcho Glenn Spagnuolo did to alienate anarchists even more than they're usually alienated (which is pretty alienated). Probably a charisma overload. Crimestinc ain't sayin', instead using the "anarchists have responsibilities too" excuse:
    The surge in anarchist traveling culture that coincided with the publication of Evasion is long past; nowadays most anarchists can only be away from their communities for limited periods of time, so they have to choose carefully which national events to attend. Most will probably choose the RNC over the DNC, deeming Denver a tragic but unavoidable missed opportunity.
    I've long deemed Denver a tragic but unavoidable missed opportunity.
    This does not mean there is no potential for demonstrations at the DNC. Even a small but exciting action in Denver could serve the important purpose of heightening expectations and morale for St. Paul. Hopefully at least a moderate number of highly motivated anarchists from the surrounding region will converge in Denver with a plan for making something memorable occur.
    A small but exciting action. In contrast, things are jumping in the Twin Cities, where
    anarchists are involved explicitly in every level of the organizing in a way we haven’t seen since the successful FTAA protests in Quebec of April 2001. The RNC welcoming Committee, an explicitly anti-authoritarian organizing group, has for
    well over a year already, and has established relationships of mutual respect and collaboration with broader antiwar organizations throughout the region—an achievement that has eluded other anarchist organizers for years. . . .

    So, following a full year of regional and national strategy consultas, the RNC strategy that has been consensed upon by groups nationwide is… shutting it down via blockading.
    Yep, that's what they've consensed upon, all right: blockading. They go on and on about it, too, but I'll just throw in a few more fun quotes. A philosophical question:

    So is it more effective for one person to smash twenty windows on an empty street, or for twenty people to smash one window with the eyes of the world upon them? For that matter—is it safer to smash windows alone, or during a mass mobilization when lawyers are prepared to spring into action and police may be hard pressed to prove that they grabbed the right black-masked hoodlum? Is an example more infectious when it takes place in a typical suburban setting, or in a glamorous moment of collective activity?

    A sad truth and a wistful daydream:
    The antiwar movement of the following years was a colossal failure—perhaps the most colossal failure in the history of antiwar movements. . . . Imagine the effect if a mere tenth of the participants in the February 15 [2003] demonstrations had smashed recruiting center windows or blockaded ports!
    Pigs want violence (we'll claim):
    All this could change overnight if the powers that be saw a significant threat to their ascendancy; but it suggests that compelling the police to use force at the conventions this summer would be a coup, in that it would frame them as aggressors in a time when they are trying to dispel that
    image. . . .

    It may be that we don’t need to succeed in actually shutting down the convention in St. Paul this summer to deal a blow to our enemies and seize the attention of the world; we need only provoke a serious confrontation with the police.
    Lovely folks. But here's the question: Is Rec!reate68 falling apart?

    Old hamburger is green

    The host committee for the Democratic National Convention has released its "green" requirements for catered food at parties it sponsors during the DNC. The Post:
    Fried shrimp on a bed of jasmine rice and a side of mango salad, all served on a styrofoam plate. Bottled water to wash it all down.

    These trendy catering treats are unlikely to appear on the menu at parties sponsored by the Denver 2008 Host Committee during the Democratic National Convention this summer.

    Fried foods are forbidden at the committee's 22 or so events [no Rocky Mountain oysters!], as is liquid served in individual plastic containers. Plates must be reusable, like china, recyclable or compostable. The food should be local, organic or both.

    And caterers must provide foods in "at least three of the following five colors: red, green, yellow, blue/purple, and white," garnishes not included, according to a Request for Proposals, or RFP, distributed last week. . . .

    "I think it's a great idea for our community and our environment. The question is, how practical is it?" asks Nick Agro, the owner of Whirled Peas Catering in Commerce City. "We all want to source locally, but we're in Colorado. The growing season is short. It's dry here. And I question the feasibility of that."
    And if a guy named Nick Agro questions the feasibility of something, you better listen.
    "There is going to be sticker shock when those bids start coming in," he says. "I'll cook anything, but I've had clients who have approached me about all-organic menus, and then they see the organic stuff pretty much doubles your price."
    Hope they're not thinking of shifting money from the rubber bullet and Taser budget.

    Sunday, May 18, 2008

    Haven't they suffered enough?

    Cuba's gay community celebrated unprecedented openness — and high-ranking political alliances — with a government-backed campaign against homophobia Saturday. . . .

    State television in Cuba, where prejudice against gays is deeply rooted, gave prime-time play Friday to the U.S. film "Brokeback Mountain," which tells the story of two cowboys who conceal their homosexual affair.
    Update: Not such a big deal, really. The Cuban dictatorship said long ago that it ♡s trannies.

    Update II: Radar in 2006 on Raúl Castro:
    News articles on exile websites about the hand over, which may prove temporary if Fidel ever recovers, are routinely accompanied by reader comments that refer to Raúl as el maricón, a Spanish derogatory term equivalent to "faggot." . . . Asked how widespread the belief is, a member of a Cuban exile family from Miami told Radar simply, "Everyone knows Raúl is gay."

    The Western press has almost entirely ignored the rumor, aside from The Economist, which has mentioned in passing that Raúl is known as "la China," or "the Chinese girl." This, according to The Economist, is because he is "effeminate." In fact, it carries a clear implication of homosexuality, says Ann Louise Bardach, author of Cuba Confidential: Love and Vengeance in Miami and Havana," and an expert on the regime.

    Bardach acknowledges that the rumor about Raúl is remarkably pervasive. It's not even particularly farfetched: Gay relationships are exceptionally common in Cuban culture, even among men who consider themselves straight, says Bardach. "It might be the gayest place on the planet outside of South Beach."
    I did not know that.

    (h/t Will T. Power)

    Wondered why Colfax was so bumpy today

    Der Posten:
    Michael McBride pounded his way through the 13-mile half marathon, a black metal cart hitched to a harness he wore trailing behind him like a rickshaw.

    Four small gray oxygen cylinders were suspended between the cart's bicycle wheels and green tubing pumped air through his nostrils to his battered lungs.

    "As long as I'm moving, they can't bury me," said McBride, 55, who was diagnosed with emphysema three years ago.
    Ex-smoker, no doubt. Something else to look forward to.
    He was one of more than 2,400 runners who registered for the half-marathon, the most popular event of the Colorado Colfax Marathon, Half-Marathon and Relay today. A total of 5,216 people registered in all three races.

    It took McBride and his 100-pound load three hours and 50 minutes to make the run from City Park to Aurora and back.
    This wheezer's some kind of freak of nature (and American Tobacco). Even now, years after I quit, my staggers around Sloan Lake always end with Billy Bob having to drag me the last quarter-mile.

    He runs with his cart, built by an engineer friend who designed a suspension system that keeps it from pushing him downhill, 3 to 6 miles a day Monday through Friday. He takes longer runs on the weekend. . . .

    The barrel-chested McBride has always been physically active, but didn't start running until he was diagnosed. "I was one of those people who go to the gym three days a week and smoke on the way home."
    Just like me! Except for the "gym" part! Our reporter shows an eye for the telling detail:

    Despite his illness, he had more success than some. At least one man collapsed, falling in a heap beside a sound system blaring Midnight Oil's "Beds are Burning," about 100 yards from the finish line.
    Might want to follow up on that.

    Update: Good name in the story: Keith Panzer.

    Update II: Not surprisingly, since the marathon was sponsored by the two papers, the Nee-ewes has more:
    Unlike last year, when runners were sent in the wrong direction, adding a half-mile to an already brutal 26.2-mile race, the top 30 runners only had to go an extra quartermile this year.

    They were led off course after the first mile because a bicycle pacer made a wrong turn. But within a few minutes, race officials knew the runners were headed in the wrong direction out of City Park and turned them around.
    Nice work. Funny, the News doesn't mention anyone collapsing and the Post doesn't mention the wrong turns.

    Protesters warn: DNC lawsuits a'comin'

    As if you didn't know. Susan Greene in the Post:
    They call it the Activists' Retirement Plan. Cities have paid protesters millions of dollars after using overly aggressive, unconstitutional police tactics to handle mass demonstrations.

    Denver insists it won't happen here.

    "The city's working to create a positive environment for people to express themselves," City Attorney David Fine said of the Democratic National Convention in August. "Our intention is for a week that doesn't result in claims against the city."
    Aim high.
    Some activists aren't so sure.

    "Any time you get a bunch of law enforcement people with a $50 million security budget and new toys, they're going to find a threat. They'll manufacture one if they need to. And we'll all be paying for it later," warns Paul Bame, a software engineer from Fort Collins.

    Pure R!68 logic. And these guys are pros:

    Bame's activism led him in 2002 to protest the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. He was walking on a Washington, D.C., sidewalk with a question mark painted on his face when police rounded him up, then locked him away for 30 hours. He sued for civil rights breaches and won $13,000 of that city's $1.6 million settlement with protesters.

    A year later, police plucked Bame off a Miami sidewalk before a protest against a free-trade summit. For his six hours in jail, he settled for $20,000.

    Laura Ripple, a Grand Junction property manager [sic], endured pepper spray, a strip search and an ankle injury while being arrested in Miami that same week. She settled for $52,500.

    Though the payouts helped, both say they hardly compensated for their troubles, even after the charges against them were dropped.

    "The money isn't enough to make up for the fact that I no longer feel safe about voicing my opinion," said Ripple, who plans to stay clear of protests around the DNC this summer because she is pregnant.

    No matter how often you've seen it, the self-righteousness is mind-boggling.
    That may be the city's desired effect [to ban pregnant women from protesting?] as it gears up to dispatch 2,500 officers in late August. The $50 million that Denver has snagged in federal security funding is twice the sum it estimated it needed and nearly double what Boston spent for the 2004 DNC.

    The city is mum about how it will spend $18 million budgeted for new equipment such as rubber bullets, Tasers, batons and percussion grenades.

    Though Denver covers lawsuits against its own cops, it's spending $1.4 million for a $10 million policy on officers from other cities working the event.

    Denver also has three law firms approved for $83,000 in contracts to represent it in cases involving the convention.
    More protester logic:
    "They're acknowledging ahead of time that they're going to do things that will injure people and offend civil liberties," said Ripple, who won a $250 settlement for more than two days jailed in a Manhattan pier during the 2004 GOP convention.
    Fifty-two thousand bucks for a sprained ankle and pepper spray in Miami, $250 for two days in jail in New York. Cheap bastards.
    Fine said Denver 2008 shouldn't be compared to New York 2004, when 1,800 people were arrested and charged. Rather, he says, comparison should be to the DNC in Boston a month earlier, when police made only a handful of arrests.

    "The city will treat people with respect and dignity, and expect respect and dignity to be returned," he said.
    How nice.
    At Fine's comments, B.C. Killmon howled with laughter, asking how equipping police with $18 million in riot gear amounts to "respect" for protesters.

    "That's a joke," said the retired pilot, who won $240,000 after having spent seven hours at age 71 with his hands cuffed behind his back in Miami.

    "There's a war going on, the economy's down the hole and there's a lot of pent-up frustrations coming into this convention. Every city says it won't happen here. God knows where things may go in Denver."
    God knows.

    Update: How's this: Ooooooohhhhh, my ankle!

    Update II: Slapstick Politics has another good example of protesters' "we're peaceful but the pigs want violence" meme from the Democrats' state convention in the Springs yesterday.

    Update III: Yeah, "Ooooh, my ankle" is too wimpy. How about this:
    Everyone’s out of jail. I just spoke to one of the American Indian men who participated in the final protest. When they locked down, the police rushed in and immediately started a beat-down. One of the female pigs grabbed him by the testicles and started yanking on him. Another got him by his braid, cranked it up in his fist, and was jerking his head around. Then they laid into them with their nightsticks, destroying one of the men’s faces. When they were arrested, the pigs ground the cuffs on and left them cuffed in the holding cells; their hands were swollen and turning purple by the time they were released. It was a fucking bloodbath, but they’re all out of jail at least.
    Naw, nobody would believe it.

    Saturday, May 17, 2008

    Saturday Night at the Radicchio!

    Think I'll play a run of these. Jimmy Stewart as The Six-Shooter. Might as well start with the "Audition Show" (15 July 1953). Stewart gives a little sales spiel to potential sponsors in the middle and at the end.

    And a couple of Vic and Sades: "Uncle Fletcher to Meet the One O'clock Train" (24 February 1941). "With best wishes for a happy holiday season from Edna, Gus, Arthur and Bug-Eye"; and "Marching Team Pictures" (14 March 1941).

    Friday, May 16, 2008

    If someone compared me to Ward Churchill I'd drop out of the (human) race too

    University of Colorado Regent Paul Schauer said a flyer comparing him to fired professor Ward Churchill had nothing to do with his decision to pull out of a quest for reelection.

    Schauer, a 6th Congressional District Republican, said that he wanted more personal time and that an unpaid regent post made it hard to “move on to something new.”

    His announcement to pull from the race came only a few days after a flyer went out to some households in Aurora and Centennial comparing him to ethnic studies professor Churchill, who was fired from the university last summer for sloppy scholarship.

    “What do Ward Churchill and Paul Schauer have in common?” the flyer reads, with a picture of an angry-looking Churchill next to a sunny picture of Schauer in a suit and tie. “They both take issue with Western Civilization,” the inside reads.

    The ad harkens back to a debate the nine elected regents had during the winter of 2006. Regent Tom Lucero proposed starting a department of Western civilization on the Boulder campus, which would offer classes in American history and the classics.

    After some debate, however, the regents decided unanimously to table the motion, which was eventually withdrawn.

    The flyer was paid for by “Coloradoans for Reform in Higher Education,” a 527 political action group formed by Mike Ciletti, who works for Republican political operative Sean Tonner.
    Probably says that on his business cards: "Republican political operative Sean Tonner."

    “I fully expected this,” Schauer said. “This group (Coloradoans for Reform in Higher Education) is a shield for people who don’t want to be identified. I knew the sorts of things they do, this is the quality of the work they put out.”

    Ciletti didn’t return calls for comment.

    CU President Bruce Benson, who, in his former life, was involved in a political 527 himself, told Schauer in November – before he knew he’d be a finalist for the top job at the university – that if Schauer ran for re-election, he’d face political battles.

    Benson said Friday he supports Schauer and that he no longer is involved with politics.

    Well okay then!

    Schauer was running against Republican Dr. Jim Geddes and Democrat AJ Clemmons for the seat.

    Regent Michael Carrigan, a Democrat who represents Denver, called the flyer a “swift boat attack on an honorable public servent.”

    “I think it’s ironic that people who claim to support intellectual diversity attack Paul Schauer because he dared to think for himself.”

    Regent Chairwoman Patricia Hayes, a Republican, said the entire ordeal is “frightening” for CU.

    “I think we should be making decisions on what’s best for the university, not what’s best for our own well-being,” she said.


    101 Days

    Chuck Plunkett of the Post:
    Soon, so soon, they will be here. Thousands of delegates, hundreds of campaign staffers, bunches of bloggers, and all of them potentially divided.

    After more than a year and a half on the campaign trail, fueled by an unprecedented total half-billion dollars, worn by 16-hour-plus days on buses and planes to stadiums and churches and greasy spoons in every corner of the United States, teams Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama finally will come to town.

    In but 101 days.

    And if Democrats don't use that time to figure out how to heal the wounds and bring the teams together for the teary-eyed, hearts-aflutter historic coronation that is supposed to be the 2008 Democratic National Convention, the audience will notice. . . .

    "What has to happen is that all of us who are family members remain family members," said Leah Daughtry, the chief executive for the Democratic National Convention Committee.
    Family members. And the kids will be outside, throwing a tantrum. Read whole thing if you feel like it. Odd fact I just figured out: Former Denver mayor Wellington Webb is national co-chair of the Clinton campaign; former Denver mayor Federico Peña (just before Webb) is national co-chair of the Obama campaign.

    Update: AP notices time growing short as well, and adds some details:
    Audio, lighting and scenic designs for the center are complete, and initial designs for the podium and stage have been drawn up. Denver hired a veteran in emergency preparedness to draw up plans for any contingency during the event, including civil unrest like the protests that shook Seattle during a World Trade Organization meeting in 1999.

    Natalie Wyeth, spokeswoman for the Democratic National Convention Committee, said the real construction work won't begin at the Pepsi Center until July 7, when the committee takes control of the building. But she insists everything is on schedule.

    "Once we have a nominee, our production team is ready to put the nominee's stamp on the look and feel of the convention hall," Wyeth said.
    Nothing else new. The piece says R!68 has "pledged nonviolent protest." Yeah, sure.

    Thursday, May 15, 2008

    Weird Bird Friday

    I've had a very bad day at work. I feel like I've been standing beneath this tree for a loooonnnnngggg time.


    Canadian PM to apologize to Indians


    Prime Minister Stephen Harper will deliver a public apology for a decades-long government policy requiring Canadian Indians to attend state-funded church schools - often scenes of physical and sexual abuse.

    "The apology is a crucial step in the journey towards healing and reconciliation," Indian Affairs Minister Chuck Strahl said Thursday.

    He said that Harper will make the apology in Parliament on June 11 to Canada's First Nations, a collection of Indian groups that have been seeking such an acknowledgment for years.

    From the 19th century until the 1970s, tens of thousands of aboriginal children were required to attend church-run schools in a painful attempt to rid them of their native cultures and languages and integrate them into Canadian society. . . .

    The apology is to coincide with a truth and reconciliation commission examining abuse in native residential schools that will begin its work June 1.

    The commission will spend five years traveling across the country to hear stories from former students, teachers and others involved in the so-called residential schools. The goal is to give survivors a forum to tell their stories and to educate Canadians about that dark chapter in the country's history. . . .

    In 2005, the federal government earmarked $1.7 billion in payments for aboriginal victims of sexual and psychological abuse during the forced Christian schooling.

    Phil Fontaine, national chief of the Assembly of First nations, did not immediately respond to calls seeking comment. He helped broker the compensation deal and hoped to help draft the apology. Fontaine raised the prospect in recent weeks that First Nations might reject the apology if it was used as a political ploy to mute a national day of protest on May 29.

    Phil Fontaine: I'm sorry.

    Phil Fontaine: Hmpf! (stalks from room).

    Update: A little too flippant, maybe? I'm all for the Canadian government paying out crap-bucketloads of money and apologizing to the Indians. But is there anyone who believes those actions or even a five-year reconciliation roadshow will conciliate (let alone "re") a single person?

    Update II: Some background on the settlement between First Nations and the government reached in November, 2005:

    Wednesday's package, if confirmed by the courts, will provide payments to some 86,000 former students of the schools. McLellan said that each former residential school student will be entitled to 8,500 dollars plus 2,560 dollars for each year spent in the residential school system.

    Individuals will receive up to 25,000 dollars each, depending on how long they were in the system. Payments to older victims of the abuse will be streamlined with an immediate downpayment of 6,800 dollars to each ex-student 65 years or older.Fontaine said this was an important element of the package because the average age of the victims was now 60.

    The 106-million-dollar "truth and reconciliation" process will provide funding for five years for the Aboriginal Healing foundation and "truth and reconciliation" gatherings.

    But victims accepting compensation will waive their rights to sue either the federal government or the churches that ran the schools.

    Not under the !R68 umbrella

    The Post:
    The Alliance for Marriage Foundation and the Catholic Association of Latino Leaders announced they will hold a rally in support of traditional marriage and family in Denver during the Democratic National Convention.

    Spam expands vocabulary

    Subject line: "Your woman will be flabbergasted by your penis."

    Wednesday, May 14, 2008

    Blame correctly laid

    Tim Blair notes the Post's story about the weather in Denver and the mountains yesterday. He blames Mother Earth.

    Police blotter!

    From YourShlub. "Escort leaves knife behind":
    A 53-year-old man told Wheat Ridge police at 10:57 a.m. May 5 that he had phoned an escort service with a number he found in the phone book and arranged for a female dancer to come over to his hotel room on the 4700 block of Kipling Street at 8 p.m. May 3. A heavily tattooed woman who gave no name came to the hotel room and danced for the man for about an hour before leaving. The man stayed in his room the next day to recover from drinking alcohol, and he noticed a silver knife lying on the floor where the dancer had disrobed. A closer inspection by the man revealed what looked like dried blood and hair on the blade of the knife, which police confirmed. A check of recent activity at the hotel showed no knife-related incidents. The man agreed to provide police with the dancer's name if she contacted him.
    Update: That toy police car is very bizarre.

    Update II: I just realized what this is: a one-paragraph Raymond Carver story.

    Not me

    The liberal Colorado blog SquareState has won a coveted floor pass for the Democratic National Convention:
    Democrats have chosen 55 bloggers who will be allowed on the floor of the national convention in Denver this summer.

    The "State Blogger Corps" includes one blogger from each state plus the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, and one blogger representing Democrats abroad.

    Party officials say the list, announced today, includes some full-time professional bloggers and some part-timers and volunteers.

    They were chosen from among more than 400 applications.
    One in four chance or thereabouts. Not bad.
    The committee also plans to credential a "General Blogger Pool" of local, state and national political bloggers for the convention.
    That's what I'm trying for! Full list of state bloggers in the article. Lots of them have "blue" in their title.

    Update: SquareState's own post on their selection.

    Continue worrying

    Cover of the June, 2008 edition of The Atlantic:

    Yes, NASA can (maybe)! With gravity tractors!

    Anyway, nothing to lose sleep over until I remembered another cover story Easterbrook wrote, this one for The Washington Monthly way back in April, 1980:

    One quote became rather famous after January 28, 1986:
    "Here's the plan. Suppose one of the solid-fueled
    boosters fails. The plan is, you die."

    So he's got a track record. Anybody needs me (you won't) I'll be downcellar.

    Update: Another possibility New Scientist mentions to deflect asteroids is distinctly Frinkian:
    A more novel idea is to paint the surface of the asteroid white. This should change the amount of solar energy it radiates and change its course. However, the amount of paint required could be huge.

    Update II: Glidden! Er, glavin!

    Hick won't be "super"

    The Post:

    Mayor John Hickenlooper has pulled his name from the ballot to be Colorado's last superdelegate to the 2008 Democratic National Convention, a spokesman for the Colorado Democrats said today.

    Hickenlooper was facing former Denver mayor and Clinton administration Cabinet member Federico Peña for a contest that was to be decided Saturday at the Colorado Democratic Party's state convention in Colorado Springs.

    Hickenlooper has pledged to remain neutral in the Democratic presidential primary race while he works to help raise $55 million in privately donated cash and services for the city's convention host committee. . . .

    Hickenlooper "absolutely deserves to be" at the national convention, J.W. ["Going"] Postal, a Colorado superdelegate who supports Obama over Hillary Rodham Clinton, said in an interview last week. "And he absolutely deserves to be at the head of the table. But this thing could come down to every single vote, and we need to make sure we get every single vote we can for our candidate."

    Kiss kiss.

    Lunch-bucket racists

    Dumber-than-usual column by the Rocky's Paul Campos:
    A mistake people make about racism is to think it's primarily a personal flaw which some people have and others don't, as opposed to something that distorts our society at a structural level, whatever particular individuals may believe or say. . . .

    One of the easiest places to see this is in the sports world, where certain racial cliches and stereotypes get expressed in relatively unself-conscious ways. These stereotypes reflect the sort of language we are now seeing from Clinton and her advisers, about "blue-collar" voters.

    Just as in Clinton's special political language, in the world of sports "blue-collar" is a code word for "white." A bunch of other terms - "gritty," "gutty," "hard-nosed," "lunch-bucket ethic," and of course "intelligent" - work in the same fashion.

    The idea is that white players must overcome their lack of God-given athletic talent (which is apparently conceptualized as God's version of affirmative action for black players) through good moral character, and in particular the classic Puritan virtue of hard work.
    His example is ludicrous, and commenter John_II (8:17 a.m.) catches him leaving out crucial verbiage.

    CO ballot measures to hold execs personally liable for corporate "misdeeds," prohibit layoffs except for "just cause"

    The Wall Street Journal:
    A labor-union campaign in Colorado to tighten restrictions on layoffs and crack down on corporate fraud could put Democrats in an awkward position as they gather here in August for their presidential convention.

    Unions are pushing to get a total of six measures on the fall ballot, all of them opposed by small-business owners and corporate interests.

    "If they pass, it would be like putting a big 'Do Not Locate Your Business Here' sign on Colorado," said John Brackney, president of the South Metro Denver Chamber of Commerce....

    One measure would make Colorado only the second state in the union, after Montana, to require that employers prove every layoff is for a "just cause." A second measure holds executives personally responsible if they fail to prevent their firms from committing misdeeds, such as polluting a river or cooking the books. Backers said this would be the strongest corporate-fraud law in the nation, subjecting executives to both criminal prosecution and civil lawsuits....

    Meanwhile, another union representing food and commercial workers is pushing four additional ballot measures. They would require all employers to give annual cost-of-living raises, mandate health coverage at any business with more than 20 employees, permit injured workers to sue outside the workers' compensation system, and raise property taxes on businesses.

    Each initiative needs the signatures of 76,000 registered voters by early August to get on the fall ballot. That is a relatively low bar compared with other states.

    Manny Gonzales, of United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, Local 7, said the measures are "strictly focused on protecting Colorado's middle class." But others said they would impose an unprecedented burden on businesses of all sizes. "I think they would turn the lights out in the state," said Ray Hogler, a professor of labor law at Colorado State University.

    For their part, business interests are pushing a right-to-work initiative, which would let workers in union shops opt out of the union. That measure recently qualified for the November ballot.

    Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, also a Democrat, said he plans to vote "no" on all the measures.
    Good idea.

    Tuesday, May 13, 2008

    Tuesday Night at the Radio!

    "Broadcasting for our liberated prisoners of war stationed at Santa Barbara," Jack Benny! "Gaslight" (14 October 1945). Not the best sound, but funny.

    More anti-American films compete for DNC showing

    Cinemocracy, Denver and the Democratic National Convention's short-film competition slated to get giant crap-bucketloads of money from the city, has four new submissions up:

    What Democracy Looks Like (1:59).

    Synopsis: Clips from the (minuscule) peace rally at the Colorado Capitol to mark the fifth anniversary of the Iraq war (the second peace rally that week, not the Spagz-a-thon the D-blog attended) are interspersed with some old gink going under the name J. Turnacliff chiding us for not turning out, all under quietly fake-stirring music. Bonus: Protesters chant, "This is what democracy looks like." (five votes)

    Cost of a War (one minute even).

    Synopsis: A guy standing in front of an American flag with his mouth duct-taped (is "shut" redundant?) uses cue cards to tell us the cost of the war in Iraq--"200,000 homeless shelters" (two for each homeless person!) and "8 million police officers" among other things--while the Star-Spangled Banner plays. Real original. Oddly, the film apparently is a couple of years old. (six votes)

    Democracy (1:07)

    Synopsis: Crude line drawings of two unidentified (perhaps because of a glitch near the beginning) men accompanied by subtitles like, "first, create a heroic past. and identify yourself with it. then tell people they live in the greatest country in the world. and promote an economic system which benefits the few but promises opportunity to all . . . " (four votes)

    Sold Out (4:59)

    Synopsis: Smug little crap-bag of a filmmaker: "If democracy is still alive in the United States of America, then I should be able to get a ticket to the Democratic National Convention." He doesn't (spoiler alert!), but still hopes to get a lot of reaction on the Cinemocracy site so they'll give him one anyway.

    Sold Out has 40 votes (it's been up a few weeks longer than the others listed here), in second place behind the classic Chimpy McJennacide animated short, "Access of Evil," with 50.

    This seems like it could really be trouble for the DNC. Of the 16 films submitted so far, something like 14 are virulently anti-American, and maybe half a dozen exhibit outright paranoia (trooferism, FEMAism, etc.). And, unfortunately for the DNC (according to the website):

    The top 25 ranked films as voted on by the online public viewers will be screened at a public event during the 2008 Democratic National Convention taking place in Denver, CO (August 25-28).

    The filmmakers of the top 10 ranked films will be provided with airfare and lodging to attend and introduce their films at the Cinemocracy Film Festival public screening in Denver.

    Five of the top 25 ranked films determined by a panel of judges comprised of film industry professionals and politicians will be screened as part of the official 31st Starz Denver Film Festival (Nov. 13-23) and thus be eligible for the Starz People's Choice Award for Best Short which carries a $2,500 cash prize.

    The top 25 ranked films will be streamed on through January 31, 2009.

    The decision of the online public viewers is FINAL

    Heh. HappyMayor McHickendrooper might have to sneak in some ringers. Sure too late to just dump the thing and pretend it never existed.

    Update: More money worries for Hick.

    Ann Coulter!

    The University of Colorado is looking for a conservative. The Wall Street Journal:

    The campus hot-dog stand sells tofu wieners. A recent pro-marijuana rally drew a crowd of 10,000, roughly a third the size of the student body. And according to one professor's analysis of voter registration, the 800-strong faculty includes just 32 Republicans.

    Chancellor G.P. "Bud" Peterson surveys this landscape with unease. A college that champions diversity, he believes, must think beyond courses in gay literature, Chicano studies and feminist theory. "We should also talk about intellectual diversity," he says. So over the next year, Mr. Peterson plans to raise $9 million to create an endowed chair for what is thought to be the nation's first Professor of Conservative Thought and Policy. . . .

    Even some conservatives who have long pushed for balance in academia voice qualms. Among them is David Horowitz, a conservative agitator whose book "The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America" includes two Boulder faculty members: an associate professor of ethnic studies who writes about the intersection of Chicano and lesbian issues (Emma), and a philosophy professor focused on feminist politics and "global gender justice."

    While he approves of efforts to bolster a conservative presence on campus, Mr. Horowitz fears that setting up a token right-winger as The Conservative at Boulder will brand the person as a curiosity, like "an animal in the zoo." We "fully expect this person to be integrated into the fabric of life on campus," replies Todd Gleeson, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. . . .

    At Boulder, long known for its lefty politics, the notion of a chair in conservative thought had kicked around campus for a decade. Then, in 2005, the college was thrust into a polarizing debate over an essay by ethnic-studies professor Ward Churchill, who argued . . .

    You know what he argued.
    Fox News television host Bill O'Reilly (our leader!) seized on those comments, and Mr. Churchill swiftly became a national symbol of political extremists running amok on campuses. The university opened an investigation into his scholarship, and Mr. Churchill was fired last summer for what the school described as plagiarism and academic fraud that was unrelated to the Eichmann essay.
    What the school described as.

    Mr. Churchill didn't respond to a request seeking comment. Within days, the university launched an effort to woo back donors infuriated by the affair.

    Mr. Peterson -- a Republican who took over as chancellor two years ago -- says he would like to bring a new luminary to campus every year or two to fill the chair, for an annual salary of about $200,000. No candidates have been approached, but faculty and administrators have floated big names like Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, columnist George Will and Philip Zelikow, who chaired the 9/11 Commission.

    "Like Margaret Mead among the Samoans, they're planning to study conservatives. That's hilarious," says Mr. Will, dryly adding that "I don't think it would be a good fit." . . .

    On campus, the chancellor's fund-raising efforts set off a prickly debate. Faculty members demanded to know whether donors would control the appointment. (They won't.) They asked for a chance to vote on the endowment. (They didn't get it.) "We don't ask the faculty if it's OK if we create a chair in thermodynamics," Mr. Peterson says -- so why give them veto power over conservative thought? After all, he says, "It's an intellectual pursuit."

    Jack Roldan, vice chair of the College Republicans, has felt the lopsided politics keenly during his four years studying international affairs. He longed for a conservative mentor, and says he graduated last week with many questions left unanswered: When is military intervention necessary? Why does the GOP focus so much on economic policy? And what's up with the neo-cons?

    "There's a lot more about what I'm about that I'd like to know," Mr. Roldan says.

    Other students don't have much sympathy. They love Boulder precisely because of its liberal swagger.

    Sophomore Marissa Malouff sees the campus as a sort of re-education camp. Sheltered rich kids from out-of-state might come for the snowboarding, but while they're here they get dunked in a simmering pot of left-wing idealism. And that, in her view, is how it should be.

    "They need to learn about social problems and poverty and the type of things liberal professors are likely to talk about," says Ms. Malouff, a Democrat.

    Update: Come for the re-education, stay for the weed atmosphere.

    Update II: Termonuclear?

    Update III: Tom Tancredo volunteers.