Opinion Columns, Columnists

Hallman: Politics again, go figure

October 30, 2014 — 

I ran into my buddy Dan Gibbs the other day. He and his wife, Johanna, have a beautiful new baby girl and he’s working hard to be a good dad. It was nice to see him. I don’t always agree with Dan but when it comes to Summit County and politics, his heart and head are in the right place. Dan’s one of us, and he will be re-elected hands down. Sorry, Al, that’s the facts of life.

Who’ll win the Senate race is anybody’s guess. Mark Udall has in my opinion served us well. He has strong local connections going back to when he was our congressman and Dan worked for him. In many ways I feel the same about Mark as I do about Dan; he’s an outdoor guy with a mountain mentality. He’s understands us.

Learn more »

Littwin: Big Dog Bill Clinton cuts to the chase in Colorado

October 29, 2014 — 

Bill Clinton may have his flaws — some pretty significant ones at that — but you can’t deny the Big Dog his genius. And he has a particular genius for cutting to the chase.

So, in case you haven’t figured out what the Udall-Gardner Senate race is about, Clinton has come to town to explain it while here for two days touting Udall, Hickenlooper and Romanoff.

Learn more »

Young: In a tale of two states, never a more stark difference

October 29, 2014 — 

The dictionary has nothing more extreme than “extreme.” No “extremer.” No “extremest.” So “State Sen. Dan Patrick” will have to suffice, if you’re talking extreme politics, as opposed to extreme cold, extreme heat or extreme disinterest.

Sadly, despite the fact that he’s nearly been shut out in endorsements by the state’s major newspapers, one can’t find an objective observer who doesn’t assume that Patrick is about to become Texas’ second most powerful man. And while “second most” is a matter of debate, considering the lieutenant governor’s power in Texas, “most extreme” is beyond debate.

Learn more »

Liddick: The pox of politics

October 27, 2014 — 

A week to go, and the election-year slime-storm has reached full intensity. If you want to know why we have such a low opinion of politicians, watch an hour of prime-time television. Democrats insist their opponents want to destroy Social Security, eviscerate Medicare and throw granny off a cliff. Republicans insinuate the governor is at the least an accessory to murder and his fellow partisans never met a dollar they didn’t want to take from those who made it.

No matter the outcome on Nov. 4, the stereotypes this nonstop character assassination engender — or reinforce — will remain. Cemented even more firmly into the local and national psyche will be the idea that Democrats are a bunch of weak-willed, tree-hugging nitwits, eager to grab money from the successful to give to ne’er-do-well followers in return for votes. Conversely, that Republicans are mean-spirited homophobes who don’t like women either, and are perfectly willing to squeeze the “little guy” in the name of corporate profit. No wonder many Americans declare “A pox on both your houses.”

Learn more »

Sirota: In legalization battles, alcohol defines the politics of marijuana

October 26, 2014 — 

When Colorado voters in 2012 approved a ballot measure legalizing marijuana, the state did not merely break new ground in the ongoing battle over narcotics policy. It also bolstered an innovative new political message that compares cannabis to alcohol.

Two years later, that comparison is being deployed in key marijuana-related elections throughout the country, and drug reform advocates are so sure marijuana is safer than alcohol, they are now challenging police to a “drug duel” to prove their point.

Learn more »

LeVaux: Grass-fed beef can be good 365 days a year

October 25, 2014 — 

There is an unfortunate stigma attached to frozen meat, a widely held assumption that it’s inferior to fresh meat. This prejudice runs deep enough that fast-food chain Wendy’s promises that its burger meat is “always fresh, never frozen.”

This belief, and all the retail efforts that cater to it, are misguided. If processed correctly, frozen meat is just as good as fresh. It also has advantages, such as the fact that it won’t spoil in a few days. And with grass-fed beef, depending on what time of year the animal is slaughtered, frozen could very well be more nutritious than fresh.

Learn more »

Marston: Heard around the West

October 25, 2014 — 

THE NATION

Multiple-choice question: We know our public schools need help, but what kind of new gear do you think they need? (A) grenade launchers; (B) mine-resistant armored vehicles, or MRAPs; (C) M16 rifles; or (D) all of the above. Pat yourself on the back if you chose D. We’ve been hearing a lot lately about the militarization of our police departments, but thanks to another Pentagon giveaway program, school districts across the country have also asked for — and received — surplus weapons and vehicles equipped to withstand artillery. When the press began taking note, education and civil liberties groups roared in protest: What were educators thinking? Finally, the Los Angeles School District, the nation’s second-largest with almost a million students, announced that it would “remove three grenade launchers it had acquired, because they are not essential life-saving items within the scope, duties and mission of the district’s police force,” reports The Associated Press — though the district refused to let go of its cache of 60 M16 rifles and one armored tank. Elsewhere, Utah’s Granite School District and Nevada’s Washoe County School District each decided to keep M16 rifles for undisclosed reasons. San Diego’s school district got creative with its MRAP, removing its weapons mounts and turrets, painting the mine-resistant vehicle white, and filling the inside with teddy bears and medical supplies for potential “emergencies to evacuate students and staff.” At the Baldwin Park School District in California, however, the schools’ police chief admitted she was dismayed that her predecessor accepted M16 rifles from the Pentagon: “Honestly,” said Jill Poe, “I could not tell you why we acquired those. They have never been used in the field, and will never be used in the field.”

Learn more »

Local Ebola risk remains low, but Summit health officials are preparing

October 24, 2014 — 

With the Ebola virus garnering national and international headlines, and the busy holiday travel season right around the corner, you may be wondering what efforts are under way locally to prepare for the very unlikely, but nevertheless possible, event that an Ebola case is identified in Summit County.

What is most important to understand, despite those worrying headlines, is that the risk of an Ebola outbreak in Summit County, in Colorado or in any other U.S. location is very low. Ebola is not easily spread like the flu. It is not transmitted through air, water or food. Rather, the virus spreads through direct contact with bodily fluids such as infected blood, urine, diarrhea or vomit.

Learn more »

Littwin: Bob Beauprez’s horror show

October 24, 2014 — 

The truly frightening thing about the Bob Beauprez horror-movie campaign ad is that Beauprez and his team must have thought it would actually work.

I don’t know if the ad is an act of desperation or an act of political ineptitude or perhaps some combination of the two, but it not only sets new Colorado standards for fear-mongering, it also reveals Beauprez as one of the least-talented politicians in modern state history.

Learn more »

Ask Eartha: Explaining tough choices on Summit County ballots

October 24, 2014 — 

Dear Eartha,

I always participate in the presidential elections but am ashamed to admit I shy away from voting on amendments and propositions. These issues intimidate me. How can I make an informed decision and best serve my community and conservation efforts?

Learn more »

Life on the Summit: Hey, Spike! finds American riding for Brazil

October 24, 2014 — 

Did you hear about the newspaper columnist who walked into Prost, the German beer hall in Frisco, to meet a female American snowboarder on the Brazilian team?

Now you have.

Learn more »

An Earthly Idea: More to GMOs than labeling

October 23, 2014 — 

Ballots have been mailed out. It’s time to switch from trying to block out all the negative political ads to actually thinking about voting. One state issue is much more important environmentally than it might seem at first glance.

Colorado Proposition 105 would require that food made with genetically modified organisms be so labeled. Contrary to agribusiness squawking, this is a simple requirement that shouldn’t be a big deal. It would be like stating that a food contains a common allergen like peanuts. Other than this reporting burden, most discussion has been on whether eating genetically modified food might be harmful, on which I won’t try to pass judgment. I do think, however, that how genetically modified crops affect agricultural practices deserves far more attention.

Learn more »

Writers on the Range: Ten lessons from the American Robin

October 23, 2014 — 

For climate activists, this feels like the last moment. The huge marches in New York and other cities around the world were a reflection, among other things, of desperation. How loud must we scream before our so-called leaders will listen? How many hundreds of thousands must fill the streets before any of those leaders act?

In times like these, we need both the perspective and renewal of energy to be gained from nature’s teaching. Many famous fables feature the attributes of animals we may never see in person: the courage of the lion, the memory of the elephant, the teamwork of the wolf pack. But in truth, we need look no farther than our backyards to gain instruction from nature. Here are 10 valuable lessons I have learned from a species so familiar that we take it for granted: the American robin.

Learn more »

Mountain Law: Restricting land use tricky in Colorado

October 21, 2014 — 

There aren’t a lot of good options for a local government wanting to preserve a certain type of land use, whether it be open space, agricultural land, historic buildings or the like. One option is simply for the government to buy the land, then restrict its use in whatever way it wants. But that takes a lot of taxpayer money that can be hard to come by.

Another option is for the government to pass regulations in furtherance of preservation goals (e.g., “downzone” the land). But, if the regulations are too weak they might not achieve the goals, and if the regulations are too severe it can lead to landowners claiming a “taking” and demanding just compensation. One possible solution is a transferable development rights (TDR) program as discussed in this article, but that approach is not without legal concerns.

Learn more »

Bargell: Nebraska in the rearview mirror

October 21, 2014 — 

When our youngest completed a recent investigation of her family heritage we unearthed photos of distant, and sadly forever unnamed, relatives from the turn of the century. Stern faces staring back at the camera, unaware a Summit County middle-schooler would wonder just who they were, and how they contributed to who she is today. I’m pleased the school takes the time to connect kids to their distant heritage in humanities (for those unaware, a class formerly known as social studies). Through the years we’ve made countless Swedish rosette cookies, my husband’s contribution to the family mix, and I often speak wistfully about their grandpa who immigrated from Scotland to make a better living mining coal underground. I’d venture to guess he was not quite as nostalgic about the brutality of the mines that robbed him of two brothers at a young age, and one has to wonder how bad life was to make being underground 12 hours a day an improvement.

Our history bent continued on a recent trip through the Midwest. In search of “different” attractions on our visit, we noted signs for “Nebraska’s #1 Attraction” in various stages of dilapidation sprinkled alongside Interstate 80. The signs prompted my husband to reflect on the field trip he made to the attraction, Nebraska’s Pioneer Village, during his junior high years (now known as middle school). He seemed genuinely chagrined that he somehow missed seeing the world’s smallest violin on the trip. Recognizing our opportunity to remedy this childhood deprivation with a mere 13-mile detour we headed directly to Minden, Nebraska, population not quite 3,000.

Learn more »

Liddick: Dough! Democrats’ deep pockets highlight hypocrisy

October 21, 2014 — 

Two weeks left. At which point we’ll discover if Colorado’s political future is for sale to the highest bidder. At present it looks as though it mostly won’t be: Democrats looked to be foiled in their attempt to buy the state delegation.

You read that right. For all the squealing from the Left about “money in politics,” they are the really big spenders in Colorado. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, as of Oct. 18 liberal and Democrat groups have outspent conservative and Republican in Colorado races by about 15 percent, $24 to $20 million. The race-buying champ is again California’s uber-left fat cat Tom Steyer, who has shoveled $5.7 million into Colorado, principally targeting the Senate race. Steyer has pledged to crush the Keystone pipeline, promising to reward its foes and punish its supporters — thereby enhancing his personal portfolio: he’s invested in a competitor and he wants your help to become even richer.

Learn more »

Sirota: Fracking for the Cure?

October 20, 2014 — 

Helping find a cure for cancer or “pinkwashing” carcinogenic pollution?

That is the question being raised upon the news that one of the world’s largest fossil fuel services firms is partnering with the Susan G. Komen Foundation on a breast cancer awareness campaign, despite possible links between fracking and cancer.

Learn more »

Littwin: Another easy question; another apparent whopper of a white lie

October 17, 2014 — 

The question in the 9News Senate debate was half-softball, half-gotcha and the answers, by themselves, meant little in the greater scheme of things.

Except for this:

Learn more »

Brown: Is biomass all its cut up to be?

October 17, 2014 — 

One possible reason for sticking to the ill-advised Ophir Mountain and other clear-cutting plans is that the clear-cut trees would go to the biomass power plant in Gypsum. Biomass power is renewable energy. It wouldn’t justify destroying Summit County’s wonderful forests and trails, but biomass is green energy right? Maybe not.

Is biomass power a good renewable energy source that we should promote here in Colorado? To answer this, we need to back up and look at where biomass energy comes from. As with most of our energy sources, it starts with energy from the sun. In photosynthesis, plants use solar energy to convert water and carbon dioxide to carbohydrates. Energy is stored in the carbon-hydrogen bonds. (Geologic pressure over time strips the oxygen from plant material to create hydrocarbon fossil fuels.) When animals metabolize carbohydrates, or when plant or fossil fuel material combusts (burns), that energy is released as oxygen combined with the material, returning to the lower-energy carbon-oxygen and hydrogen-oxygen bonds of carbon dioxide and water.

Learn more »

Liddick: Higher standards, not more funding, for Summit County schools

October 13, 2014 — 

Ah, election season — when school districts across Colorado whine about the need for more money, and lots of it. After all, “It’s for the children ...”

Sadly, the implicit promise is a fraud.

Learn more »

Sirota: How Big Brother can watch you with metadata

October 13, 2014 — 

Why did Bradley Cooper and Jessica Alba fail to record a tip when they paid their cabbies during New York City taxi rides back in 2013? Why was Cooper near a Mediterranean restaurant in Greenwich Village? Why was Alba at a ritzy hotel in Soho?

We don’t know the answers, but we do know exactly when and where the movie stars were going, and we also know there’s no record of them forking over any gratuity. What’s worrisome, say privacy experts, is that we know all of this not from some special government sting operation but from publicly available data about millions of people’s movements throughout New York City.

Learn more »

Hallett: Columbus Day revisited

October 13, 2014 — 

As Columbus Day approaches, its is interesting to think about what we learned in school about the holiday and how the perception has changed for me as time has passed. Growing up Portuguese on Cape Cod, sailing was a big deal and I remember the Nina, Pinta and the Santa Maria story, thinking how exciting it would be to set sail across the wide expanse of ocean in search of new territory as an explorer. There were also historical landmarks and names such as Waquoit, Wianno and Cotuit, that indicated we were not the first ones to settle in this beautiful place. For me there was a double mystery of Columbus and what he was really doing and how the Wampanoag Indians felt about new immigrants (pilgrims). According to Columbus’ journals, he mentions gold 180 times during the first voyage. He also states many Indians shared anything that was asked and remarked that they were naïve. According to the late historian Howard Zinn, the time of Columbus was a time of mass killings, an era marked by colonization and dispossession in native homelands conducted by the settlers. According to Martin Espada, as Columbus was governor of Espanola in 1495, he required indigenous people to bring him quotas of gold or have their hands cut off. A great feature film called “Even the Rain” does a good job of explaining Columbus’ actions while an undercurrent story unwinds itself. Why is it that we accept the teaching of history from diplomats and leaders but bury the atrocities?

Yes, there have been benefits to the development of foreign lands; much of our modern lifestyle is possible due to resources acquired in this story of domination, power, money and oppression. But, it seems clear that more harm than good has been done by looking at the devastation to the natural world and the lives of indigenous peoples. There are insidious impacts on this modern world as well. The excessive notion of a culture that “more is better” keeps us moving at unhealthy speeds to achieve success measured by money and power. People are obese, depressed, running on the hamster wheel, feeling unsatisfied at the end of the day. Just as the Earth is unable to sustain this trajectory, so too are we humans.

Learn more »

Writers on the Range: Heard around the West

October 11, 2014 — 

BLACK ROCK CITY, NEVADA

Once again, Burning Man has come and gone: 70,000 people have converged on Black Rock City, which pops up every year in late August in the Nevada desert north of Reno and then more or less disappears in a cloud of dust. This year’s art theme was “Caravansary,” but the many villages and camps included old favorites, such as the air-conditioned “Orgy Dome” sponsored by a group called “And Then There’s Only LOVE.” The shenanigans — which take place throughout the week before Labor Day on a playa, or dry lake bed — traditionally climax with the burning of a giant man-shaped effigy.

Learn more »

Life on the Summit: Hey, Spike! finds a cultural season kicking off

October 11, 2014 — 

Seasons on the Summit range from skiing, boarding, biking, golfing, boating, fishing, shoulder and mud — to opera?

Yep, opera.

Learn more »

Dupuy: Where’s the storm we were promised?

October 10, 2014 — 

Remember? “There’s a storm gathering. The clouds are dark and the winds are strong and I am afraid.” This was the widely mocked anti-gay-marriage commercial the National Organization for Marriage put out in 2009. “But some who advocate same-sex marriage have not been content with same-sex couples living as they wish,” the spot continued. “Those advocates want to change the way I live. I will have no choice. The storm is coming. But we have hope, a rainbow coalition of people of every creed and color are coming together in love to protect marriage.”

That “rainbow coalition” has been hard at work trying to convince Americans that gay marriage is a threat. It will hurt children! That if we give same-sex partnerships legal recognition it will destroy opposite-sex partnerships. Then once straight marriage is obliterated, according to right-wing bloviaters, everyone will marry their cat/horse/dog/child, have sham gay weddings for benefits and people who publicly denounce sodomy will be prosecuted.

Learn more »

Littwin: The Gardner and the woodshed

October 9, 2014 — 

A funny thing happened at the latest U.S. Senate debate. Cory Gardner got lectured. He got scolded. He got taken to the proverbial (whatever that actually means) woodshed.

And here’s the funny/strange part: It wasn’t Mark Udall who took him there. It was Denver Post politics editor and co-moderator Chuck Plunkett.

Learn more »

Young: ‘Twould be lovely to whitewash history

October 9, 2014 — 

A controlling school-board clique seeks to sanitize the teaching of American history — scrub away unsightly blemishes like racial oppression and women’s liberation. Should be a piece of cake, right?

Sure, except that the students find out about it and voice their outrage loudly.

Learn more »

Bargell: Traveling alone but not lonely

October 8, 2014 — 

The chance to travel alone, with its attendant solitude, is something that I didn’t really want to admit to my family I was looking forward to as an uncommon luxury. Opportunities for silence are appreciated, and I welcomed a convergence of events allowing me to make a brief trip out of state to revisit the grandeur of Utah. The vistas that expose views that go on for miles are a perfect accompaniment for solitude, and the perspective that comes from being surrounded by such perspectives.

My expectation to take it all in with vigor was short-changed one afternoon when I felt out of sorts, and I hurried to the room I’d booked in a quaint bed and breakfast, if only to get off my feet. Upon arrival, I happened upon a few other couples staying in the same spot, who from the moment they saw my ashen face were both compassionate and welcoming. They were a group drawn together by a nearby Shakespeare festival, quite famous I later learned, but one that I was not familiar with.

Learn more »

Littwin: And then the justices did nothing, which meant everything

October 8, 2014 — 

I think the first time I wrote that it was definitely all over on gay marriage was the day that Antonin Scalia wrote grudgingly, and as a warning, that it would soon be all over on gay marriage.

Or it might have been the night Frank McNulty blocked civil unions at the state legislature, when I said something like he was standing in the way of — and would soon be run over by — that old history train.

Learn more »

Mountain Law: What Colorado law says about disposing of the marital home in divorce

October 7, 2014 — 

Many divorce cases involve the question of what to do with the marital home. This issue has emotional as well as economic significance. It can be useful to consider the issue in three parts: 1) short-term plan; 2) long-term plan; and (3) equity and debt plan.

Each of these parts is discussed below.

Learn more »
View 20 More Stories in Opinion Columns, Columnists »
Back to Top