Opinion Columns, Columnists

Ask Eartha: Being green and grateful this Thanksgiving

November 27, 2014 — 

Dear Eartha,

I know you tend to address environmental problems requiring action. Are there any issues that we should be grateful for during this Thanksgiving period? — Erin, Dillon

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Doty: Don’t think of the Keystone oil pipeline as inevitable

November 27, 2014 — 

I’ve usually admired David Brooks, New York Times columnist, and Mark Shields, campaign strategist and analyst, for their smart political opinions on public television. So it was sad recently to see their heads stuck in Alberta’s tar sands over the highly controversial Keystone XL pipeline, which will surely be reintroduced in Congress next year. Pipeline supporters see the Senate’s recent decision as little more than a speed bump; construction might be on hold for the moment, but they’re determined to push it through.

TransCanada’s pipeline would transport heavy crude oil 875 miles from underneath boreal forests in Alberta, Canada, through Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska, connecting with pipelines to refineries in Oklahoma and Texas. From there, refined oil most likely would be sold to lucrative markets overseas.

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Bargell: Thankful for Summit County’s great people

November 27, 2014 — 

Hint. It starts with a P, and it absolutely, positively does not rhyme with hot.

A couple of weeks ago I had the chance to watch a bunch of determined girls take home an unheard-of seventh straight state rugby championship. Behind me on the grass sat a small, unassuming blond lady, just another fan for the home team. After the game I thanked her for coming. “Wouldn’t have missed it,” she smiled, noting her weekends seemed filled with trips to watch our high-schoolers excel. The preceding week she made the trip to her old stomping grounds, Colorado Springs, to cheer the soccer boys on their road to a phenomenal season.

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Young: Guess who’s (not) coming to dinner

November 26, 2014 — 

The Indianapolis Star has apologized, but surely some of its readers ask: Why?

The cartoon that it published carried the sentiments of every American who is horrified — horrified, I tell you — about President Obama’s directive on deportations.

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Liddick: Counting blessings, not foibles, this Thanksgiving

November 24, 2014 — 

Two days hence when we gather with family and friends to give thanks for those blessings that come to mind, let one thought be that we are fortunate to share this exceptional country. Yes, despite what you might have gathered from recent public discourse, our country is exactly that.

An underpopulated, peripheral area of a world-spanning empire, we won our independence and maintained it. A fractious, experimental republic, we evolved a political system designed to transfer power among groups with widely-divergent views without coming to blows. It was an unprecedented development that has endured for almost 250 years — that four-year Civil War business excepted.

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Littwin: Obama moves the ball on immigration, demands Congress pass a bill

November 23, 2014 — 

If you watched the Obama immigration speech or even if you didn’t, it comes down to the same thing.

The speech was stirring, and yet some will call it manipulative.

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Lydon: Giving thanks and looking forward

November 23, 2014 — 

With Thanksgiving near, it’s the season to be grateful and take stock of our situation. In that spirit, here’s some of what I’ve been thinking about. First, as we conclude our celebration of the golden anniversary of the Wilderness Act, let’s give a cheer to the 88th U.S. Congress, which, in 1964, passed the law almost unanimously.

Congress’ legacy is a 109-million-acre wilderness system that continues to expand despite frequent efforts, generally Republican, to thwart new collaborative proposals and weaken protections. These lands are meant to be set aside for solitude, research, adventure and future generations — of people, bears, loons and other creatures. As a haven for both wildlife and the human mind, wilderness is more relevant than ever as we face the entwined crises of climate disruption, ocean acidification and declining biodiversity.

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Pheil: Adding handwritten signatures to emails

November 23, 2014 — 

Visit http://onlinesignature.in if you’ve ever wanted a simple image of your very own handwritten signature that you could add into your email signatures, Word documents and more.

Choose from an actual signature you create with your mouse (warning: can look rather choppy!) or from a variety of beautiful handwriting options. Within a minute or two you’ll have a handwritten signature image file you can use anywhere you’d like.

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An Earthly Idea: Make mulch, not fire

November 23, 2014 — 

Thirteen-THOUSAND slash piles. Did I read that correctly in the Nov. 18 Summit Daily? Not 13 or 1,300, but thirteen-THOUSAND slash piles to be open burned on public land in Summit County. Set aside for a moment the obvious inference that an obscene amount of forest — healthy as well as beetle-killed trees — had to be clear-cut to create all that slash. Whether these slash pile burns are completed quickly or take all winter or several winters, they are totally unacceptable for several reasons.

For starters, this slash-pile-burn project is unacceptable on communications and public responsibility grounds. Unless you were signed up for a special alert system, you were not told about the start of the slash burning until the day after it started (and even then only the day of). How many calls did our 911 system have to handle from people who responsibly called to report smoke? What would have happened if people called to report smoke from actual wildfires or home fires? Will this be a problem for emergency response all winter long?

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Sirota: A big election with little local journalism

November 23, 2014 — 

On a warm October night toward the end of the 2014 campaign, almost every politician running for a major office here in the swing state of Colorado appeared at a candidate forum in southeast Denver. The topics discussed were pressing: a potential war with ISIS, voting rights, a still-struggling economy. But one key element was in conspicuously short supply: the media.

This was increasingly the reality in much of the country, as campaigns played out in communities where the local press corps has been thinned by layoffs and newspaper closures. What if you held an election and nobody showed up to cover it? Americans have now discovered the answer: You get an election with lots of paid ads, but with little journalism, context or objective facts.

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Young: What we need, what we want

November 21, 2014 — 

Watching the indescribable sacrifices of America’s infantry in the trenches of World War II, legendary war correspondent Ernie Pyle made a plea in print.

Pay for enlisted men overseas made no distinction between those dodging bullets and those in the typist pool. That was wrong, he wrote. Those with mud on their faces deserved additional combat pay.

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Life on The Summit: Hey, Spike! discovers an outerwear extremist

November 21, 2014 — 

Most of us think about outerwear seasonally — and likely thought about it a lot during winter’s recent onslaught.

Mike Collins thinks about outerwear year-round.

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Hallman and Piehl: When it comes to forestry, size matters

November 19, 2014 — 

A little bit of tree cutting is always appreciated. A modest amount of logging is generally OK. Large disruptions are not always well received.

There’s been considerable logging in Summit County over the last couple of years, a lot more than we are accustomed to. This leads to protest in some quarters and applause in others. How many people are for or against more logging is anybody’s guess.

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Bargell: It’s tough to be a kid in a candy store

November 18, 2014 — 

I didn’t expect the message. At least not exactly how it was delivered. But the pictures were what really threw me for a loop. It came a week after Halloween, when parents around Summit abandoned the mundane search for razor blades in apples, and instead were on the lookout for candies in an all-too-familiar bright-yellow wrapper, bearing the label “Buddahfinger” and painstakingly packaged to closely resemble the bar the Nestle Co. put on the market 89 years ago. The imposter, however, was one chocolate bar guaranteed to pack a marijuana-infused punch.

Labeling edibles is a hot topic for state legislators who have been investigating labeling options, an issue many consider a critical public health and safety question. Some in the industry worry that the recent labeling debate is an overreaction to a nonexistent problem. In a Nov. 1, SDN article, Elyse Gordon, owner of Better Baked, a Denver company that makes edible pot products lamented, “We’re governed to death, and people need to take responsibility for themselves,” continuing, “I don’t think anyone in the industry is looking to make products for children, and we resent this idea that people aren’t responsible for the products they bring into their home.”

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Liddick: Stupid Americans versus the smartest guy in the room

November 17, 2014 — 

Now we know how Barack Obama will react to the American people’s repudiation of what he still thinks is the smartest guy in the room: He’s going to punish us for lèse-majesté.

Step one was taken last Tuesday in China. In a slapped-together “major milestone” of economic capitulation, our vindictive president announced unilateral economic disarmament so extreme that it could only appeal to the Chinese or the wildest-eyed green crazies among us. Briefly, he committed the United States to reducing our carbon emissions 26 to 28 percent by 2025, to 5.25 gigatonnes, roughly what we produced in 1992. It’s going to cost us a bundle, not only in higher taxes and prices for all forms of combustion, but in lost productivity as resources are diverted from real investment to the coffers of the Democrats’ pet corporations like Solyndra, SVTC Solar and BrightSource.

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Sirota: Wall Street takes over more statehouses

November 16, 2014 — 

No runoff will be needed to declare one unambiguous winner in this month’s gubernatorial elections: the financial services industry. From Illinois to Massachusetts, voters effectively placed more than $100 billion worth of public pension investments under the control of executives-turned-politicians whose firms profit by managing state pension money.

The elections played out as states and cities across the country debate the merits of shifting public pension money — the retirement savings for police, firefighters, teachers and other public employees — from plain vanilla investments such as index funds into higher-risk alternatives like hedge funds and private equity funds.

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Reagan: The American public gets smart about Obamacare

November 15, 2014 — 

So Jonathan Gruber thinks the American people are stupid, does he?

Gruber is a complete nobody to most Americans, but his face should be on a Most Wanted poster in every post office.

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Dupuy: Think over ‘under God’

November 15, 2014 — 

Did you hear atheists are suing god? According to Fox News’ for-profit preacher Mike Huckabee they do it all the time! “Dear Lord!” he tweeted this week, “Atheists are suing God AGAIN!”

Never mind the spurious premise of a group of people suing the very thing they don’t believe in. That’d be like Republicans suing birth control, scientific evidence or a living wage. Or Democrats, respectively, suing winning.

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Gulliford: Colorado can boast it was the cradle of wilderness

November 14, 2014 — 

Only God can make a tree, but only Congress can designate a wilderness, and the Wilderness Act, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, became the law it is today largely because a powerful Colorado congressman, Wayne Aspinall, blocked the legislation in his committee over and over again.

His stubborn opposition, however, gave birth to many environmental groups across the West, because locals were called upon to champion their special places. And whether Aspinall liked it or not, the idea of setting land aside to be undisturbed originated in his home state in 1919, the year a Forest Service employee named Arthur Carhart spent a summer camped at Trappers Lake, near the ranching town of Meeker on Colorado’s Western Slope.

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Hey, Spike! reports on Frank Walter’s return

November 14, 2014 — 

Just like that — smacko, we have a great start to winter on The Summit.

And bouncing back just in time to start the ski season is 92-year-old Frank Walter, a longtime Copper Mountain Resort resident who logs more ski days in a winter than most of us do in a decade.

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Bargell: Firing up the Summit County appreciate engine in time for Turkey Day

November 13, 2014 — 

A couple of weeks remain before the main event for giving thanks, and it’s time to fire up my dormant appreciation engine. November is a fitting month for a refresher course on gratitude as the time sandwiched between elections and the holiday season, both of which tend to leave me frayed around the edges. It is our month to take stock of all that is good, and it’s a good thing too because shorter days and cooler weather can leave this mountain mom in state that is far from gleeful.

For the last couple of years the initial prompt to remember gratitude comes when Facebook friends begin to post daily one single item they are thankful for. There’s even a Facebook page, “Thirty Days of Thankful” where random people post random messages of gratitude. Granted, the opening days of the month often are somewhat predictable, with family and friends topping nearly every list. It reminds me however there are people right now who are grieving the loss of a loved one, or who feel particularly friendless during this season. Reaching out is one expression of gratitude I often overlook.

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Writers on the Range: Just call John Hickenlooper the Silver Fox

November 12, 2014 — 

John Hickenlooper, the recently re-elected (by a whisker) governor of Colorado, should be called the new “Silver Fox” for his work on water sharing, in memory of Delphus Carpenter, who earned that title back in 1922. That year, Carpenter cajoled seven Western states into signing the historic agreement that divvied up the Colorado River.

Hickenlooper was certainly wily as a fox when he brokered a difficult deal this summer between the oil and gas industry and Colorado Democratic Rep. Jared Polis. Hickenlooper got Polis to back down from his campaign to put anti-fracking legislation on the ballot, and created a bipartisan commission to work out tougher fracking rules. Hickenlooper avoided a messy political battle while also spurring a fracking pact and developing a first-ever statewide water plan. It was the kind of thing Delphus Carpenter might have done.

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Young: Democrats bonked by Newton’s apple

November 12, 2014 — 

The political Einsteins are flexing their brows over Nov. 4: They cite President Obama’s failure, Dems’ fecklessness, Republicans’ vision and efficacy, Mitch McConnell’s savoir faire. Egads.

Sports fans: Is there anything more grating than The Wave? Imagine one that is confined to those in the box seats and luxury suites.

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Purcell: With the fall of tobacco and the rise of weed, hypocrisy gets in your eyes

November 11, 2014 — 

I admit it: I feel sorry for cigarette and cigar smokers these days. But changing fashions and the results of the recent election may offer them hope.

Cigarette smoking used to be fashionable. Actors like Steve McQueen and Sean Connery made it look manly and cool in their many movies.

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Liddick: A sharp right turn off the road to Utopia

November 10, 2014 — 

On Wednesday last, the president grumpily acknowledged that Republicans “had a good night,” and assured the American public that “I got your message.” It took a little more than 24 hours to complete the thought with, “And I couldn’t care less.”

“A good night?” What happened Nov. 4 was a thrashing of epic proportions. Republicans not only retook the Senate in a wave that continues to roll, they increased their margin in the House to levels not seen since Harry Truman was president. Nor was this simply an “anti-incumbent” tide. Disgust was quite selective: only two Republicans who sought re-election were not returned. No, since Barack Obama repeatedly reminded everyone that his policies were on the ballot and that Democrats campaigning for their lives were solidly behind his policies and performance, we should all understand exactly what Nov. 4 was: a comprehensive repudiation of the president, his programs and his philosophy. Last Tuesday the nation’s voters spoke to Democrats, and what they said was, “Enough of you.”

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Sirota: Tuesday probably meant nothing for 2016

November 10, 2014 — 

The dramatic, across-the-board victory engineered by Republicans in Tuesday’s elections would seem to bode well for the party’s chance to capture the White House in 2016. The GOP took full control of Congress, flipped at least four governor’s offices from blue to red, and prompted much talk of a resurgent Republican movement.

Not so fast. A more careful look at the returns significantly complicates the narrative that an American electorate, which recently tilted Democratic, has since shifted back to the Republican fold.

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Pheil: Using NNTO in the subject line of an email

November 9, 2014 — 

If you’ve never received an email with the letters NNTO in the subject line, read on.

If you have received an email with the letters NNTO in the subject line, chances are you Googled what they meant, and hopefully you’re using NNTO when it’s applicable in emails you send out to others. (But if you didn’t Google it out of laziness or because you thought it was a typo or they were simply nonsense letters, read on.)

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Marston: Heard around the West

November 9, 2014 — 

THE WEST

Sigmund Freud famously asked, but couldn’t answer, his own question: “What does a woman want?” Fortunately, Halliburton Co. knows: Makeup or lipstick and nail polish in “rig-crew red,” says the Houston Chronicle. In order to lure females at job fairs, Halliburton has been giving away the makeup to show the industry’s “softer side.” Women now represent just 19 percent of the oil and gas industry’s workforce.

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Petri Dish: The antibiotics problem

November 9, 2014 — 

The bacterium that causes tuberculosis thrives in the lungs and is spread from person to person through the air. Many patients’ immune systems are able to wall off the pathogen, effectively halting the infection. But in others, fortunately a minority, the bacteria manage to replicate extensively, causing irreparable damage to the lungs and eventually death. The lucky patients who are able to wall off the bacteria are not cured, since live bacteria persist in a dormant form and can subsequently re-emerge from their prison to cause disease, especially later in life when the lung’s immune defenses decline. It may be hard to believe, but approximately one-third of the world’s entire human population, more than 2 billion people, is infected with TB bacteria and harbors the bugs in their inert form.

Antibiotics (antibacterial drugs) have been the main line of defense in the global control of TB. But in recent years, strains of TB bacteria have emerged that are increasingly resistant to even the most powerful antibiotics available. The end result will be a strain of TB simply not controlled by modern drugs, taking us back to the early 20th century when TB was a feared disease across the globe. Surprisingly, relatively little emphasis has been placed on developing new types of antibiotics, primarily due to the lack of sufficient financial incentives for pharmaceutical and biotech companies.

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Purcell: For Veterans Day -- Tomb of the Unknowns

November 8, 2014 — 

Hurricane Isabel struck Washington, D.C., hard that night.

It was Sept. 18, 2003. I lived in Alexandria, Virginia, at the time. I rode out the storm reading a book and enjoying a glass of wine.

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