Opinion Columns, Columnists

A couples commitment (column)

August 1, 2015 — 

The last time I spoke to Robert, he had just finished changing his wife Mary’s diaper. He told me this with no trace of self-pity but rather to share one of the remaining intimacies of a couple still very much in love.

She learned of her sickness on her 49th birthday. With drugs and determination she fought the good fight but eventually the disease proved stronger than science.

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Littwin: The Donald's madhouse candidacy will implode, right?

July 31, 2015 — 

I don’t know what date you’ve got in your when-will-the-Donald-finally-implode pool, but there’s a lot of smart money down on Debate Night, Aug. 6.

As The New York Times put it, Thursday’s Debate Night is — in a word — huge. Huge for Trump, and maybe for the other guys, too. The thinking is that when Trump supporters actually see the Donald being the Donald during an actual debate about who leads the free world, it might just give some of them pause.

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The war against Planned Parenthood (column)

July 31, 2015 — 

Whenever the Republicans target Planned Parenthood, I always remember what Jon Kyl said in the spring of 2011. Because the GOP senator’s lie — and a spokesman’s defense of that lie — nicely illustrates the party’s eternally hostile attitude.

Kyl was on the Senate floor, arguing that the family-planning group should be stripped of its federal funding, when he declared: “If you want an abortion, you go to Planned Parenthood, and that’s well over 90 percent of what Planned Parenthood does.” Actually, abortions are 3 percent of what Planned Parenthood does. How was it possible that Kyl could be off by 87 percent? No problem, said his spokesman — because the senator’s remark was “not intended to be a factual statement.”

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Jim Crow lives on in America's prisons (column)

July 29, 2015 — 

War is hell. Post-Civil War, Reconstruction was hellish.

In a beauty contest, however, Reconstruction was in a dead heat with the Redemption for ugliness. The Redemption is what the former Confederacy called the era post-Reconstruction.

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Gun-control advocates should just give up

July 29, 2015 — 

President Obama told the BBC he’s “stymied” because he’s not gotten his way regarding gun control — yet. So, apparently we should just relinquish our guns during a Second Amendment burning ceremony on the National Lawn.

Obama’s upset more Americans don’t agree with his definition of “common sense” gun control. If Pew Research is correct, a majority of us lean more toward Lt. Col. Allen West’s “index finger” definition whereby individuals should be trusted to call the shots. Pew says the majority of Americans still support gun rights.

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A child's comfort and bad fashion (column)

July 25, 2015 — 

Her name was Miss Rizzo; when I was 8 I would have died for her.

She had flaming red hair, black roots and smelled better than a barbershop. But it was her legs that captured my imagination. There were two of them, that was to be expected, but they also had lines. Beginning from the heels of her stylish, yet practical, shoes, the lines traveled up her calves and disappeared under her dress, leaving to a young boy’s mind’s eye their eventual destination.

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BASE jumpers should stay out of national parks (column)

July 24, 2015 — 

A diminished Vail Mountain

I read with sadness your July 22 article, “Construction continues on Vail Mountain.”

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Colorado xeriscaping: How to make your garden water-wise

July 24, 2015 — 

Dear Eartha,

With all the water and drought talk in California recently, I would like to do my part and use less water in my landscape. I’ve heard that if I xeriscape my garden, I won’t ever have to water again.

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Menconi: We suck at minimum wage

July 23, 2015 — 

I mean, we suck,” U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez said in October at a Bloomberg News breakfast, speaking on minimum wage. “We really do.”

Vail Resorts recently notified employees via email that the company is raising its minimum wage to $10 per hour. I was surprised this has received so much coverage when McDonald’s already announced that the average hourly wage for its employees at company-owned restaurants will be more than $10 per hour by the end of 2016. The fast-food giant will also help its employees with high school completion, college tuition and accrued vacation time.

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Donald Trump's spectacular implosion (column)

July 22, 2015 — 

If you were worried that The Donald’s inevitable implosion wouldn’t be wildly spectacular, you can put your mind at ease.

Give the guy some credit.

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Lamborghinis, concentration camps and fetus parts (column)

July 22, 2015 — 

Like car parts chunked and sold in a junk yard, unborn baby parts have value, too. A just-released video by the Center for Medical Progress shows yet another Planned Parenthood top official, Dr. Mary Gatter, negotiating fetus tissue prices and describing using “less crunchy” abortion methods over drinks — because she wants to buy a Lamborghini.

This video comes on the heels of another undercover video last week where a different top official, Planned Parenthood’s senior director of medical services Deborah Nucatola shared, between wine sips and salad nibbles, and with a chillingly Hannibal Lecher-like tone, “We’ve been very good at getting heart, lung, liver because we know that, so I’m not gonna (sic) crush that part, I’m gonna basically crush below, I’m gonna crush above and I’m gonna see if I can get it all intact.”

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Liddick: Who will be your neighbor? (column)

July 20, 2015 — 

Forget Mister Rogers. The Obama Administration will now tell you who will be your neighbor.

On July 8 — with national attention focused on the perilously bad deal with a soon-to-be-nuclear Iran — Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro announced the implementation of sweeping new regulations, which threaten to halt federal funds to cities, counties and other municipalities tat do not make “suggested” changes to zoning laws and other “potentially discriminatory” barriers to construction of low-income housing in wealthier neighborhoods. Call it the Don Corleone version of urban renewal.

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Backlash against gay marriage

July 19, 2015 — 

My oldest daughter attended Silverthorne Elementary as a first-grade student in 2003 at a time when gay weddings were not mainstream, but they happened. In fact, they happened in our family.

My sister-in-law and her partner were married in a civil ceremony in Oregon. Much to our chagrin, especially Ellie’s, they eloped. Like most little girls, Ellie dreamed of fairytale weddings filled with flowers—and little flower girls. To help ease her anger about being robbed a wedding, I suggested that she make a card for them. She did. Using glitter and glue, sparkles and markers, Ellie made a magnificent card of two women in two princess wedding dresses, holding hands and surrounded by wedding bells. After licking the envelope, she bounced her way to school, excited to tell everyone the news.

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Dancing to tears (column)

July 18, 2015 — 

Ellie was brought to tears on the dance floor — for once it was not due to my lack of rhythm.

“I can hear her heartbeat for a thousand miles. The heavens open every time she smiles.”

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Ask Eartha: Who's the most eco-friendly consumer in the galaxy?

July 17, 2015 — 

Dear Eartha,

A friend and I were having a friendly discussion regarding which of us is the most eco-friendly, and we were hoping you could help us decide what makes a really good eco-conscious consumer.

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It's time to end Custer worship (column)

July 16, 2015 — 

As the rebel flag of Dixie disappears from prominent public flagstaffs, questions are being asked about other symbols of defiance. For example, is it appropriate to display statues of Confederate Civil War generals, some of whom were members of the Ku Klux Klan and outspoken in their racist views?

It’s easy for us Westerners to wag fingers of political correctness at those states south of the Mason-Dixon line, criticizing their legacy of race relations. But, we have our own messy history to deal with, a conundrum we’ve never really addressed. It’s left us with some giant blind spots in our thinking about regional identity and the meaning of democracy.

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Atticus Finch jumps the shark? (column)

July 16, 2015 — 

Sequel reveals dark side of Atticus Finch.” “New book portrays Atticus Finch as a racist.” “Atticus Finch fans on Twitter aghast.”

Those are some of the headlines spawned by the arrival of “Go Set A Watchman,” the long-unexpected sequel to Harper Lee’s 1960 Pulitzer-winning novel “To Kill A Mockingbird.”

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Captives of commerce in a shooting gallery (column)

July 16, 2015 — 

We now know that racist trigger man Dylan Roof should not have been able to purchase a firearm. The FBI’s background check system should have blocked it based on felony drug charges.

To this, a Facebook post announced, “Proof positive that making it harder to purchase guns will not make it harder for criminals to acquire guns.”

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We're all ridiculous in our own way, no matter what Tomatometer says

July 15, 2015 — 

It’s that time of year when we have more opportunities to take in an evening movie. Kids are up later, and homework, while somewhere vaguely on the radar, just seems wrong on a blustery summer evening. And so, we happened across “What We Did On Our Holiday,” a British “comedy-drama” now airing on pay per view. When I first read the film’s title, thoughts of “National Lampoon’s Vacation” immediately came to mind, including certain unsavory scenes those of us with RVs would just as soon forget.

Undaunted, we hit the “pay now” selection and contemplated popcorn. It is absurdly easy to rent a flick these days, and I’m sure there are a multitude of opinions on whether that’s progress or a sign of civilization’s certain decline, with the ensuing debate a perfect subject for a scholarly paper or two. For now, however, I’ll just accept the convenience because bickering over it seems nearly ridiculous.

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Mountain Law: Introduction to the Colorado child support guidelines (column)

July 15, 2015 — 

Under Colorado law, a child has a legal right to support from both parents until the child is emancipated. This right has long been recognized by courts and is now codified in various statutes. Regardless of the statute at issue, the same guidelines are used to determine the appropriate amount of support. This article provides a basic overview of how the guidelines work.

Preliminarily, the guidelines are based on research into how much of two-parent family income is spent on children. They were formulated in response to concerns that child support levels were too low, with the result that many children and their custodial parents suffered diminished living standards or were even forced into poverty, while noncustodial parents enjoyed an improved standard of living. The guidelines also try to ensure that similar child support amounts are awarded in similar cases.

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Liddick: Don't let an inartful mogul Trump immigration debate (column)

July 13, 2015 — 

Kathryn Steinle. Bob Barry, Jr.. Michael Grubbs. Grant Ronnebeck. Jamie, Mary Ann and Shane Oxendine. Seven among thousands of Americans killed by illegal aliens since 2010 — 3,000 in motor-vehicle homicides alone. Four fell victim to Mexicans who had been deported several times. Three were killed by those the Obama administration calls “Dreamers.” It seems that Donald Trump is on to something.

Trump may be inartful. He may be a shameless self-promoter, the clown shoes of the 2016 presidential campaign. But, that doesn’t mean he’s wrong about crime and those who enter or remain in this country unlawfully. So, our conversation should be about the problem, not the politician bold enough — and well-heeled enough — to stand up and speak the words no one else dared for reasons now perfectly clear: Too many love free speech, so long as it comports to their own point of view. But, those who deviate must be punished for speaking the truth.

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Curse of the Bambino

July 11, 2015 — 

“What sports team is Mike a fan of?”

My mate asked that question in reference to a post our friend, Michael, put on facebook. Since this was last week, I assumed Ellie (and Mike) was referring to baseball. Mike’s post was lamenting his teams’ poor performance the night before. While not happy with the results he applauded their efforts.

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Fixing Breckenridge traffic congestion will take long-term funding (column)

July 10, 2015 — 

It’s no secret that traffic congestion and parking have been top issues in our community for some time. The Breckenridge Town Council believes we’ve finally hit the tipping point and unanimously agrees that now is the time to work towards solving this issue.

We have an active, educated and informed citizenry. We know that significant projects succeed with a transparent, engaging public process. Earlier this week, the town hosted two well-attended community forums. The purpose was two-fold: to share information and to listen.

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Current Breckenridge parking solutions harm the guest experience (column)

July 10, 2015 — 

I have been the head of mountain operations at Breckenridge for six years, and, during that time, I have worked closely with town staff to improve not only the parking and transportation challenges, but also the overall guest experience. It’s for that reason that I appreciate the town focusing on the issue of parking for our guests during the ski season and why I was excited to participate with the Parking & Transit Task Force.

I am part of a large company that has a proven process for planning complex projects, and I appreciate the time it takes to weigh the interests of many stakeholders. Just like the time our company takes for any of our big projects and having just sat through the town’s two community meetings on parking, the town should slow down and ensure all aspects of any solution are well thought out and given ample time for community review.

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Founders' intentions got redistricted right off the map (column)

July 8, 2015 — 

Most Americans don’t know how long it took for a notion “conceived in liberty” in 1776 to gestate. For a notion to become a nation, that is.

Eleven years is how long it took: seven years of war, four years of legal flux, before the Constitution was signed.

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Sanders and Trump: Blockbusters of the 2016 presidential race

July 7, 2015 — 

The two biggest stories of the day in presidential politics are so obvious that I only wish I had bothered to predict them.

One, Bernie Sanders as Liberal Rock Star’s Midsummer Threat to Hillary Clinton’s Inevitability Campaign.

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Liddick: A nonsensical nuclear deal with Iran (column)

July 6, 2015 — 

Let’s try to use that which separates humans from other animals: ability to predict the future based on study of past events. This capacity allows us to see that, yes, there will be a nuclear deal with Iran in Vienna, probably on Thursday or shortly thereafter. It will be touted to the treetops by the Obama administration, accompanied by much chest-thumping and self-patting of backs. And, it will be the most complete and dangerous loss for this country since the abandonment and collapse in South Vietnam.

It will have repercussions around the world, especially in the Mideast. The “legacy” Barack Obama will create for himself will be one of destabilization of the post-Cold War world and further weakening of America’s ability to influence affairs for the better. No problem for the president and his coterie of like-minded Lefties, who think it long past time that this country had a come-uppance. Remember that when our security goes south, and we find ourselves alone, thanks to this administration’s fecklessness, incompetence and perfidy. It won’t take long.

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Republicans are at odds with corporate America (column)

July 5, 2015 — 

The Republican brand is that they’re on the side of business. “Corporations are people, my friends,” uttered doomed 2012 presidential candidate, CEO-turned-Massachusetts-Governor Mitt Romney. At the time I assumed what he actually meant was, “Corporations are my friends, people.”

This has been the bottom line for the GOP: Business is their business. Even South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley defended the odious decision to have the Confederate flag fly at her state’s Capitol grounds by saying, “I can honestly say I have not had one conversation with a single CEO about the Confederate flag.”

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Biff America: Tired, poor, huddled masses

July 4, 2015 — 

Laura’s grandparents, Abraham and Aliza, came to America from Poland in 1901. They landed in Ellis Island and were processed like cattle. They met in a Jewish ghetto in New York — fell in love and married. Abe wrote his brother back in Poland saying he married an angel. He bragged of her good looks, great disposition and stew.

Two years, and two children later, Aliza died of a condition that now would be only a minor inconvenience. In keeping with an Old World tradition her younger sister, Claire, was dispatched from the old country to take the place of her dead sister.

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District Attorney Bruce Brown: Let's think twice about universal police body cams (column)

July 4, 2015 — 

In the wake of police officer involved shootings from Ferguson, Missouri to North Charleston, South Carolina, there is no hotter topic among law enforcement agencies and District Attorneys than the routine employment of body cams for patrolling police officers. In next year’s Colorado legislature, which has an enormous appetite right now for regulating police, there are bound to be proposals including requiring body cams for every police department.

An undercurrent of police distrust is driving a need to not to just hear their testimony in court but to see what the officer saw through the utilization of recorders mounted in their cars and upon their bodies. Similarly, police feel vulnerable to people they encounter who might make a false allegation of misconduct against them and the officers themselves view body cams as a tool to prove their own innocence with the tap of the “play” button.

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