Opinion Columns, Columnists

Best: The lessons of Ludlow, 100 years later

April 17, 2014 — 

If April 20 is an informal holiday for celebrants of cannabis, members of labor unions observe the day more somberly. That’s especially true this year. One hundred years ago, striking coal miners and their families were killed in what’s now remembered as the Ludlow Massacre. It was the landmark catastrophe in the broader, nearly year-long struggle remembered as “The Great Coalfield War” of Colorado.

Striking miners back then harbored bitter complaints about company “pluck me” stores, and accused company men of cheating them at weigh stations. Worse, they felt mine managers cared nothing for their safety.

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Ask Eartha: How to celebrate Earth Day in Summit County

April 17, 2014 — 

Dear Eartha,

Earth Day is coming up on Tuesday, April 22. I love participating in local green events, but I am wondering how all this Earth Day stuff got started?

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Young: Weed vs. ‘white lighting’

April 17, 2014 — 

Everyone has experienced the oddness of meeting up with a long-lost acquaintance after many years, only to find impressions downright strange.

So it is with me and marijuana.

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Cacace: Ophir Mountain clear-cutting is unnecessary surgery

April 16, 2014 — 

The patient has survived the disease, but surgery will go on ... ”

This unnecessary surgery is not being performed at Summit Medical Center but on Ophir Mountain between Breckenridge and Frisco by large, mechanized, “Avatar”-like tree cutters funded by the U.S. Forest Service.

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Liddick: Return of the thought police

April 14, 2014 — 

Once again, the Left has shown its true nature. Call them Liberals, call them Progressives, call them what you will, they all share a common authoritarian trait: unwillingness to abide any opinion not their own. The past few months have offered an abundance of intolerance from the disciples of “diversity,” defined by the Left as “the intrinsic worthiness of any person, action or thought we find acceptable, and death to any other.”

The current wave of Newspeak and Doublethink began with the Los Angeles Times’ announcement in October of last year that it would no longer publish letters to the editor challenging Anthropogenic Global Warming. So at a point in time when the “consensus” on APG global warming is fraying like cheesecloth in a hurricane, the LA Times agrees with the president that everything to say on the subject has been said. Everyone who doesn’t agree is a dangerous, lying idiot who must be driven from the public square, that the unsophisticated masses may not be incited to think for themselves. The Inquisitors who convicted Galileo of heresy for arguing that the Earth revolved around the sun would have been pleased; in all things, Groupthink must prevail.

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Sirota: The Chicago way

April 13, 2014 — 

In America, there is regular ol’ corruption, and then there is Chicago Corruption, with a capital “C.” America’s third largest city is so notoriously corrupt, all you have to do is say “Chicago politics” and many people instantly start making jokes about payoffs and reciting lines from “The Untouchables.”

Yet, while the Windy City’s brand of corruption is extreme, it is also emblematic, as a recent spate of revelations prove.

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Biff America: Being both careful and grateful

April 12, 2014 — 

The rock was the size of a cantaloupe and was traveling at the speed of a big league fastball.

It was last spring; we were skiing in the Teton of Wyoming. Donny was using crampons to climb up a narrow icy chute. The missile came from high above. The rock was probably freed from the frozen snow by the sun which hit the upper chute first. By the time it reached us it was bouncing, off the ice-covered snow, at terminal velocity. It looked to be going wide but then caromed off the rock wall and came straight for Don’s head.

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Tyree: Income tax procrastinators, unite!

April 12, 2014 — 

Suddenly, I don’t feel so alone.

According to the Internal Revenue Service, roughly one in five Americans file their federal and state income tax returns in the final week before the April 15 deadline.

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Pearsall: Save sagebrush, and good things happen

April 12, 2014 — 

High in the Desatoya Mountains east of Fallon, Nev., and just east of Route 50 — famously dubbed “The Loneliest Road in America” by Life Magazine in 1986 — a curious congregation gathers in the predawn light.

It is a congregation made up of two parts: one, of sage grouse, preparing to strut their stuff in the frost-nipped sagebrush; the other, of humans, huddled in or near their cars. The people have swaddled themselves in gloves and fleece against the early-morning cold. They peer intently through binoculars and spotting scopes, murmuring, counting birds. The two groups coexist, mainly because the humans stay way back, and the birds stay focused on their courtship revue.

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Young: GOP’s 17.2 percent solution

April 10, 2014 — 

As of mid-March, the nation’s rate of uninsured had declined to 15.9 percent from 17.1 percent in December.

We can’t know exactly where the rate stands now, but it’s lower. And, well, the nation’s Republican leaders will not have that.

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Jensen: The premature Obamacare victory lap

April 9, 2014 — 

President Obama took a victory lap on Tuesday, celebrating 7 million Obamacare enrollees.

Let’s take a look at this success.

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Ask Eartha: Unwanted surprise nested in plastic Easter eggs

April 9, 2014 — 

Dear Eartha,

My kids love looking for eggs full of candy on Easter morning. I love it too, but I worry about those mysterious plastic eggs. Is there such a thing as an Eco-Easter?

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Writers on the Range: Former Interior secretary blasts gas industry pressure

April 9, 2014 — 

Former Interior Department Secretary Bruce Babbitt visited the University of Colorado recently to talk about oil and gas drilling on federal public lands. Not surprisingly, he didn’t pull any punches.

Babbitt criticized the agency he oversaw during the Clinton years, the Bureau of Land Management, for its handling of drilling on 250 million acres of land and 700 million acres of subsurface minerals, all of which it manages for American taxpayers. Agency decisions about drilling are “dictated by the oil and gas industry,” he said bluntly. Instead of protecting the public’s interest, the agency’s culture and structure facilitate industry profits at the expense of recreation, conservation and natural values.

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Sirota: The labor market’s double standards

April 7, 2014 — 

Technology, sports and politics are distinct worlds.

They have their own junkies, their own vernaculars and their own peculiar customs. Yet, in recent weeks you may have noticed a common economic argument coming from those worlds’ respective leaders — an argument about who should have a right to engage in collective action and who should not.

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Tyree: I’m Batman — and I’m 75!

April 7, 2014 — 

According to DC Comics, March 30 marked the 75th anniversary of the first appearance of Batman (in “Detective Comics” #27).

I’m proud to have been a fan of the Caped Crusader (created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger) for two-thirds of that span.

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Biff America: A fallen figurine

April 5, 2014 — 

Have you ever dropped something fragile and delicate?

You grasp for the object as it falls toward floor, only to miss by a fraction of an inch. You curse your carelessness. That is how I felt when I put Sheila on the Portland, Maine, bus.

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Young: A change of heart for Colorado Republicans on ‘personhood’

April 5, 2014 — 

Regularly I drive past individuals praying out in front of Planned Parenthood.

Supplication being a private thing, one can only imagine what appeals they direct skyward, out there in the cold and wind.

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Heard around the West: Feral cats a force to be reckoned with

April 4, 2014 — 

THE WEST

There’s a lot to worry about on the public lands, including the oil boom, climate change, wildfires and a multitude of environmental scourges. Now a bird advocacy group wants the Interior Department to deal with a dangerous invasive species — the soft-and-cuddly, remorseless serial killers that roam the landscape, slaughtering wildlife and endangering human health.

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Writers on the Range: Let a thousand pot plants bloom and end “trespass grows”

April 2, 2014 — 

If you care about protecting clean water, endangered species and public health, then you might want to consider legalizing marijuana for recreational use.

That’s because so much of the stuff is now being grown illegally on our public lands in places dubbed “trespass grows.” These secretive and often well-guarded farms do enormous environmental damage and place a huge burden on federal agencies. In California in 2013, the Forest Service discovered about 1 million plants within public forests on nearly 400 sites. Thousands of trees had been logged to make way for pot plants.

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Bargell: A new breed of poetry born from Summit County youth

April 2, 2014 — 

Ah, April ... the month of daffodils and chirping birds, and “literary works, in which special intensity is given to the expression of feelings and ideas.”

Rarely do I ask someone if they’ve run across a good poem lately. I’ll clamor for a sure movie tip, or a must read book, but a poem? Not in my recent recollection. Poetry can be either so intensely personal or profoundly abstract that absorbing its deeper meaning often eludes me.

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Liddick: Desperate Democrats cling to dirty politics

April 1, 2014 — 

It’s now painfully apparent that Colorado’s Democratic party, faced with a credible challenger to Sen. Mark Udall, will revert to type. In order to retain one of President Obama’s most reliable rubber stamps in the Senate, they will misrepresent, smear and lie. They’ve already begun.

Consider their response to an ad by “Americans for Prosperity,” one of the myriad of political action groups spawned in response to the last effort to “get money out of politics.” In this offering, a likeable young woman ironically bemoans political ads, then goes on to say “Obamacare doesn’t work.” An opinion with which the president concurs, judging from his increasingly desperate attempts to delay, exempt and otherwise stave off the logical results of the increasingly inaptly named “Affordable Care Act” until after the midterm elections. In the end, the narrator urges us to “tell Sen. Udall to stop playing politics …”

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Biff America: A godly gift of athletics

March 29, 2014 — 

Stop being so cocky or God is going to punish you and make you fall.”

I’ve always been athletically confidant. Some might call it delusional. I also have a selective memory when it comes to the times where my confidence did not match my ability. Once when I was crossing above a raging river on a slippery log, while wearing ski boots and a heavy pack, my mate cautioned, “Don’t you dare fall, break your leg and ruin my summer.”

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Mountain Law: New law allows tenants and HOA unit owners to install electric vehicle charging stations

March 29, 2014 — 

A new Colorado law took effect in 2013 that generally requires residential landlords and HOAs to allow their tenants and unit owners to install electric vehicle charging stations (EVCSs). This article discusses some of the details of the law.

Except as noted, the law is essentially the same as it applies to tenants and unit owners whom I will refer to jointly as “Chargers.” Chargers now have the right to install Level 1 (120 Volt) or Level 2 (240 Volt) EVCSs at their own expense.

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Life on the Summit: Hey, Spike! enjoys a visit with Boot Gordon

March 27, 2014 — 

If you’re 90 years old, life — understandably — becomes a game of numbers.

Spike! knows well: His mother, Medith Lawrence Porter, of Delta, is 89; his mother-in-law, Martha Rasmussen Staby, of Loveland, is nearing 97.

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Young: Algebra II vs. Citizenship I

March 26, 2014 — 

What would you say if someone told you that your state’s emphasis on algebra was undermining math instruction?

What would you say if that someone was a math instructor?

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Liddick: Citizen, gamesmanship and the right to vote

March 25, 2014 — 

“There should be an effective, impartial, non-discriminatory, and accurate voter-registration procedure that ensures all eligible citizens of the right to vote and protects against multiple voting.” — Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development Election Observer’s Guide, fifth edition.

Coming soon to a U.S. Circuit Court near you: an appeal from the Obama Administration’s Election Assistance Commission, which was recently told that its refusal to include proof-of-citizenship requirements on election registration forms was “unlawful.”

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Tyree: Beard transplants: Yeah, you heard me

March 23, 2014 — 

“Who knows what vanity lurks in the hearts of men?”

The 5 o’clock shadow knows!

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Funt: The Plane! The Plane!

March 23, 2014 — 

The other night I got into bed later than usual and wondered if I had missed the nightly installment of this month’s hottest talk-radio topic: the missing Malaysian plane and wild theories about its fate. Silly me. The talkers were still at full throttle, ranting about, The plane! The plane!

Daytime talk shows on radio and TV tend to dwell on basic stuff when a sensational story like this one comes along. You know, terrorist plots, government conspiracies and even mundane mechanical failures. But late at night and online — where media are pretty much off the wall, even without a provocative story like this one — the missing plane is sparking nonstop discussion about secret landing strips, vast worldwide conspiracies and, of course, UFOs!

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Biff America:Remembering Dave the Goat, a legend of the backcountry

March 22, 2014 — 

The last time I saw Dave the Goat alive was in 2004 at a trailhead in Yosemite.

It was about 6 a.m. The morning fog would soon burn off, but in the meantime it muffled the conversations of the two or three groups getting ready to head out to backcountry ski.

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Writers on the Range: The desert is full of time and space and distance and silence

March 22, 2014 — 

In the spareness of a desert hike, you become a Beckett character, faced with big space and big time” — Laurie Stone.

I write for a living, or what amounts to it, and because I’m a dreamer and a fool and one of the luckiest people I know, I also edit a literary magazine dedicated to the Interior West of the United States. Because of the latter, I read an awful lot of what’s written about the region and its landscapes: its chronic winds and temporary washes, tight-lipped lizards and rusted tin cans, as well as its sun, shade, and luck of the draw.

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