Opinion Columns, Columnists
Two powerful nations square off in a strategic corner of the world. The area is fractured, riven with rivalries and tensions these powers exacerbate as they form associations with local parties. Finally, there is an attack by a disaffected group on an important asset of one of the major powers. Stung, it demands recompense from one of the region’s states. Braced by the other power that is its ally, it refuses. Threats are exchanged, and, finally, shooting begins. The major powers and their associates muster, and the resulting maelstrom of conflict engulfs the world.
This scenario has played out many times in human history, so there’s no reason to assume it won’t in Syria — or across the Middle East. This is why the appearance of weakness and accommodation is dangerous in the real world: It invites conflict through miscalculation. At some point, there’s no going back.Learn more »
Get this, and get it straight — Gordon Gekko was wrong. Greed is not good. Greed is bad. Greed eats away the core of society like a golden parasitic leech the size of Manitoba. Or Saskatchewan. One of those Provinces or Territories or Protectorates or whatever they use in Canada to keep their license plates distinct.
And practicing and/or defending greed makes you nothing but a blood-sucking tick, no matter how fancy a suit you’re wearing. Or size of the diamonds around your wrist. Or how free-range the organic heirloom Chicken Florentine is on your plate.Learn more »
Some Republicans in Congress will never learn.
This time the GOP’s hard-right conservative minority had dreams of shutting Washington down over Planned Parenthood’s illegal profiteering in fetal tissue from its abortion business.Learn more »
When I was 18, back in the swinging ‘60s, I ran with equally driven friends through the Grand Canyon, going from the North Rim to the South Rim in a single day. Our trek involved traversing the 14-mile North Kaibab trail, the 7-mile South Kaibab Trail and the Old Bright Angel Trail, 14 miles of pretty rough trail.
Some five decades ago, that kind of thing was an anomaly. Visitors rode mules down and back, while hikers took their time, usually camping or staying overnight at Phantom Ranch. If anyone wanted to go rim to rim, that was considered a multi-day backpack, certainly not a day trek.Learn more »
My roommate and I cleaned out our house and have a ton of material we don’t know what to do with, like a tv, mattress, small fridge and old paints. He said just to leave it out on the curb, and the trash guy will pick it up. Is that true? —Eric, BreckenridgeLearn more »
Mountain Law: Do grandparents have the right to visit their grandchildren under Colorado law? (column)October 1, 2015 —
Imagine the following scenario. Alan and Betsy’s son, Charlie, is divorced from Diane. Charlie was awarded partial custody of his children, Evan and Frankie. Alan and Betsy enjoy spending time with Evan and Frankie during the time that Charlie has custody. But Charlie passes away suddenly, and Diane now refuses to allow Alan and Betsy to continue visiting their grandchildren. Is there anything Alan and Betsy can do to obtain visitation rights?
Preliminarily, it would have been a good idea for Charlie (or Alan and Betsy themselves) to address this issue when he was getting divorced. Grandparent visitation is often overlooked during divorce proceedings with consequences like those here.Learn more »
A lot of Republicans are hoping Donald Trump will go away, and here’s why he won’t: The Thirders aren’t going away, either.
Understand, the Thirders aren’t a lot of us — just a third — but being the life force of the Republican Party, they are enough to run it. That’s a take-away from the announced retirement of Speaker John Boehner. He is conceding the House to the forces of GOP wackery.Learn more »
Millie Hamner wants your money. Again.
Representative Hamner who, barring the unforeseen, will be chairwoman of the Colorado Legislature’s Joint Budget Committee in the coming session, correctly sees the Taxpayer Bill of Rights as a roadblock to what Thomas Jefferson once described as “an unbounded field of power”: an unrestrained government’s ability to tax as much as it can for whatever purpose it wishes. It was Madison, not Jefferson, who completed the thought, thereby leveraging the power of those who control the spending.Learn more »
Three years into its most severe drought in over a thousand years, it’s unclear how much longer California can continue growing half of the nation’s produce. The crisis confronting Big Ag and family farmers alike may signal the end of agriculture as it’s currently practiced. But it need not spell doom for farming altogether: On the contrary, a handful of ecology-minded growers think California could produce plenty of food even with limited amounts of water.
For starters, they say, state agriculture and water policymakers could study the practices of farmers like Warren Brush. He runs a 50-acre family farm in the high and dry foothills south of Santa Barbara, where annual rainfall has dropped to just over 10 inches.Learn more »
On Sept. 22, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service made a landmark decision, declaring that the greater sage grouse, that icon of the Western High Plains, does not warrant federal protection. The chicken-sized bird’s numbers have dwindled from a historic high of perhaps 16 million to about 400,000, as its sagebrush range has been transformed into oil and gas fields, wind farms, ranches and subdivisions.
The federal decision is a favorable verdict on one of the biggest conservation experiments ever undertaken. To avoid an Endangered Species Act listing, which could put the brakes on many human activities across 11 Western states, local and regional partnerships and collaborative efforts poured immense amounts of money and effort into trying to save the bird.Learn more »
We launched our rafts on Colorado’s Yampa River at Deerlodge Park, and ran Little Joe and Big Joe Rapids. On the second afternoon, we pulled into Mathers Hole Camp under an overhung cliff wall that towered 500 feet above us. As I set up my tent, I thought about the 100th birthday of Dinosaur National Monument, which we celebrate this year, and remembered the life of Stephen Mather, the first director of the National Park Service.
A successful businessman, Mather started 20 Mule Team Borax in Death Valley, California, to sell soap. To encourage customers, he wrote letters to newspapers all across the country, posing as a happy housewife extolling the virtues of Borax. His marketing scheme worked, and he became a millionaire at a youthful age. But Mather was restless and continually sought outdoor experiences. When he visited Yosemite National Park in the early 1900s, however, he was appalled by what he saw.Learn more »
As September comes to a close and frosty hints of winter begin to appear on my car’s windshield twice a week, Colorado is in its best autumn form. The old joke about Colorado having two seasons, “winter and August” certainly generalizes our state’s potential for cold. But those transition seasons between fluffy powder and high fire danger are not to be discounted.
This past week, I climbed Mt. Elbert on a cloudless day, paddled local rivers through cottonwood yellow, mountain biked amongst aspen gold, and rock climbed to views of changing valley hues. Blue skies and moderate temperatures have replaced the heat and afternoon thunderstorms of summer and given outdoors enthusiasts a comfortable and particularly attractive environment in which to play.Learn more »
I was walking to the dog park with my furry friend and was two blocks away when I smelled the park. Is dog poo bad for the environment? — Pete, BreckenridgeLearn more »
I’ve had a little time to reflect on the 2015 legislative session and am already looking forward to the 2016 session.
I’m a member of the Joint Budget Committee, which produced a 2015-16 state budget that is balanced, bipartisan and responsible. It preserves critical priorities of the Democratic-controlled House and the Republican-controlled Senate, and it provides funding for vital services that help address the growing needs of our state and strengthen the middle class across Colorado.Learn more »
What’s a teacher to do if he sees a wired briefcase that looks like a homemade bomb in the classroom?
Obviously, not apply the Obama administration’s “If you see something, say something” rule. Nor should they follow the school’s zero-tolerance policy to keep students safe, like school administrators in Irving, Texas did after 14-year-old Ahmed Mohamed brought to class what he said was a homemade clock.Learn more »
Ahmed” is every bit as American as “Joe.”
“Hussein” is every bit as American as “Shaughnessy” or “Flannery” or “McGill.”Learn more »
This June, I attended my first snake class. It was not a tutorial on snake charming, but rather a training session designed to teach dogs to avoid rattlesnakes.
Classes like this take place in many Western states where rattlesnakes slither — from California to Idaho to the Front Range of Colorado, where I live. My dog and I were candidates for such a class because Uinta, our big German shepherd mix — the jury is out on whether she’s part husky or wolf — likes to investigate anything that moves, especially if it’s on the ground.Learn more »
As children, most of us learned about the passenger pigeons, whose huge flocks darkened America’s skies before they became extinct a century ago. Another lesson came from the buffalo that we did our best to eradicate from the Great Plains. Less understood is what goes on underwater in our lakes, rivers and streams. Now, a new report by Trout Unlimited shows disturbing parallels with those old stories of loss: Extinction has already eliminated three species of native trout, while many other species of trout have vanished from large parts of their historic range.
The “State of the Trout,” the first comprehensive assessment of the status of America’s native trout, says that only 25 species remain, with 13 of those occupying less than one-quarter of their historic habitat. This is grim news for angler and non-angler alike, and a warning to anyone who assumes there will always be water fit to drink.Learn more »
We learned many things from the GOP marathon debate, starting with the not-so-startling fact that three hours is a lot of hours as these things go.
In fact, the debate was so long that occasionally the CNN moderators even got around to talking about something other than The Donald. And here’s the strange part: For maybe the first time in his life, Trump must have had moments when he was actually glad for the camera to have moved to someone else.Learn more »
I recently moved here from Austin. I took my recycling to one of the county’s recycling drop-off centers and noticed that they only accept #1 and #2 bottles. In Austin, I was able to recycle #1 through #7 plastics. Why is it different here? Are there some plastics that are more easily recycled? — Monica, from BreckenridgeLearn more »
If Ben Carson reads one word of all the information he just got about climate change, he should immediately end his candidacy for the Republican nomination.
Carson, who serenely floats through his presidential campaign on clouds of hard-right truthiness, said the other day he’d seen “no overwhelming science” of man’s involvement in climate change. To that, California Gov. Jerry Brown mailed him a zip drive containing the exhaustive United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report on the matter.Learn more »
Who should we allow into our country?
Border control is a hot topic — not only in the United States but worldwide. Currently, thousands of refugees are fleeing Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, flooding European countries and raising concerns about immigration and refugee policies everywhere.Learn more »
A recent decision of the Colorado Supreme Court has changed long-standing precedent and may open the door to broader gun restrictions.
The Colorado Constitution mandates: “The right of no person to keep and bear arms in defense of his home, person and property . . . shall be called in question.”Learn more »
Hillary Clinton sets up a private server, conducts government business on it and is surprised when called to account. Yes, it contained classified information; ask the National Reconnaissance Office.
City fathers in Seattle raised the minimum wage for franchise workers and, mirabile dictu, some of the most vulnerable fry cooks and dishwashers rejoice at their new bounty. Others get fired, so their colleagues may be paid more. They are angry when it happens.Learn more »
We had barely covered the first 10 miles of trail, hiking north from the California-Mexico border, when my hiking partner, Flash, and I found the first Pacific Crest Trail casualty. A man in his 20s, face flushed red from heat, watched us approach with clear embarrassment.
He sat in a small patch of shade next to a pack bristling with a solar charger and the latest, most expensive gear. “You wouldn’t happen to have any water, would you?” he asked.Learn more »
Last week, yet another majestic mountain lion lost his life in a hit-and-run — on a highly traf-ficked Southern California highway. This is the 14th mountain lion to die on L.A. area roads since a 2002 tracking study began.
Despite the fact Mountain lions in California have been classified as “specially protected mammals,” the roads have nonetheless taken their toll. Southern California mountain lions have one of the lowest survival rates among any population in North America, comparable to hunted populations.Learn more »
This summer, I hiked approximately half of the Colorado Trail from Waterton Canyon to Highway 50 near Salida, covering about 250 miles in 23 days. Overall, it was a good experience, though not a great one. Among the factors limiting my enjoyment were the many road crossings and noise from nearby cars, ATVs and — sometimes unnervingly — gunshots.
I was also dismayed to discover that the first 130 miles of the trail are dominated by mountain bikers, with the exception of the Lost Creek Wilderness Area, which excludes them. Although I have more than 40 years experience backpacking in the western U.S. and Alaska, sharing the trail with mountain bikers was a new experience for me.Learn more »
I’m interested in exploring new ways in which I can improve my health holistically. I’ve been told to look into aromatherapy. Is there any truth to this method of healing? What should I know about aromatherapy and essential oils before I dive in? — Ronnie, FriscoLearn more »
Nearly six years ago, many of you opened your newspaper to find some random mom with a couple of third and fourth grade kids spouting off about an upcoming spring break. At that time, I pondered whether the approaching week off from school was labeled a “break” simply because — before it was all said and done — there was a good likelihood I’d want to wring their precious little necks.
I am pleased to report we all survived. Both girls are well, unbelievably ensconced at Summit High School — although not so little any more, as they went from eight and nine to fourteen and fifteen faster than a C7 Corvette does 0 to 60.Learn more »
For those of you who’ve not read Malcolm Gladwell’s book, “The Tipping Point,” let me briefly summarize. He uses the term to explain societal change after something repeatedly happens until finally it happens one too many times. That incident is coined the tipping point and wakes everyone up to the issue, launching a shift in consciousness.
Major tipping points in history include Hurricane Katrina in regards to the rise in awareness about global warming and natural disasters. During the civil-rights movement, people woke up after hearing about Rosa Parks.Learn more »