- Erika Stutzman: Changes to our online letters policy
- Susan Marine: House Bill 1140 to help prevent suicide
- Tim Hogan: Free birth control and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
- Andi Jason and David Simon: Support House Bill 1140 for hospitals to provide information about suicide
- David R. Guilinger: Contraception controversy
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- phuong phap hoc tieng anh hieu qua nhat on Howie Wolf: Health care shouldn’t be a profit-making industry
- 10 Minute Trainer Review on John O’Neill: Republicans and climate change denial
- payday loans on Leonard Frieling: Legalize drugs
- kayapaydayloans3 on Ben Spicer: ‘Does the goverment sill serve the purposes the framers intended?’
- instant payday loans on William Blent: Marriage: Separate church and state
Monthly Archives: June 2010
There have been a lot of letters to the editor on the new Arizona immigration law: it’s a knee jerk reaction, support of the boycott that Boulder is imposing on travel to Arizona, etc. But no one is talking about the bigger part of the problem: violence in Arizona (which led to the law) stems from the drug trade that is supported by people who buy illegal drugs.
Here are some facts: According to the U.S. State Department, 90% of the cocaine consumed in the U.S. passes through Mexico on its way to the U.S., and Mexican marijuana is the most widely available marijuana in the U.S. market.
Let’s look at the most simplistic view of this: Americans want drugs, drug cartels (particularly from Mexico) send drugs. Illegal drug trade leads to violence throughout Mexico that eventually comes to the US, in particular Phoenix. Arizona lawmakers enact a racist law. Boulder residents, for the most part, are against the law.
But are Boulder residents still smoking the pot that comes from the Mexican drug cartels?
It comes down to economics: do your purchases reflect your politics? U.S. demand for and purchase of marijuana and other illegal drugs is what led to the law being enacted in Arizona.
I’ve heard so many times the argument that pot isn’t as bad as alcohol, no one dies from smoking a bowl. But, if the pot you bought came from Mexico, you have contributed to thousands of deaths and kidnappings. Buying illegal drugs has consequences: it has led to violent drug cartels forming and the death of over 24,000 Mexicans since 2006.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the same last year: “[America's] insatiable demand for illegal drugs fuels the drug trade.” The drug trade led to the Arizona violence. The violence led to the law. Are you contributing to the drug trade and against the law in Arizona? If so, think about the connection.
Lafayette Continue reading
I am beginning to see Gary Faulkner everywhere. The other evening I watched him on David Letterman describing foolishly his intent to reach Pakistan by boat from San Diego Harbor; How he could not be stopped by the Harbor Patrol and when Mr. Letterman asked him the intended route for his journey from the harbor, Faulkner said, “well you just go until you hit land there and go from there!”
This man is not a hero. He is a foolish man who will find himself in a world of hurt should he ever get near Osama Bin Laden. Bin Laden is possibly the most hated man in the world to be true, but he is not someone to be taken lightly. Our own government who cannot find him does not even take him lightly. A man such as Faulkner who uses terms like, “Pakki” to describe the Pakistani people, and describes that he is “cool” with them; who grows his hair long and beard long to “fit in” as if the people of Pakistan wouldn’t notice, is not taking his quest very seriously. What Faulkner loves is this attention he is getting, but what he doesn’t understand is that the foolish behavior he is pursuing may get him killed. I can see nothing but the worst case scenario in all of this. I hope he enjoys his time in the spotlight, and I hope he seriously reconsiders taking part in another trip like the ones previous. I want Bin Laden captured as much as anyone, but if freelancers want to go out and put themselves in harms way, then please bring the troops home.
Boulder Continue reading
It should come as no surprise that oil extraction in Colorado and around the world continues to be a dirty business with limited accountability. The industry has been fraught with the perils of extraction since the inception of drilling, and new safety measures have not kept up with the scale of drilling operations.
What is surprising is the lack of protection we have from these disasters and their effect of our water. The Clean Water Act has been horribly undermined by Supreme Court decisions over the last ten years, ending three decades of protections for thousands of streams and millions of acres of wetlands. The Supreme Court decisions have thrown into question Clean Water Act protections for nearly 65,000 miles of Colorado’s streams – or more than 2/3rds of all our streams – as well as the wetlands which safeguard the quality of our rivers and streams.
These spills will undoubtedly continue, and it’s time to rid oil and gas companies of the exemptions they have enjoyed from what remains of the Clean Water Act. I urge my own Congressman, Representative Polis, to help pass the America’s Commitment to Clean Water Act and protect all U.S. waterways now and for generations to come.
Boulder Continue reading
Throughout the US, in states were medical marijuana is legal; there are cooperatives amongst patients and caregivers which are not attractive to law enforcement or noticeable to the public-at-large.
Colorado’s amendment 20 was written at a time when cannabis clubs existed in California, Canada, and Europe. They were envisioned for Colorado, and had been discussed since the mid 90s when the Hemp Act was taken to the ballot.
Coloradoans who farm and ranch are quite familiar with agricultural cooperatives. They are non-profits designed to support agricultural business, which tends to be families, in communities. While there are very large co-ops across the US, it is the members who benefit from the services. Co-ops may be designed in a number of ways, but to simplify for this example: Cannabis patients and caregivers could create a local co-op in which membership is by investment of capital, equity, or real estate for a specific known value of percentage. Marijuana is locally grown by the members and consumed only by the members. Knowledge transfer and skills are developed within the co-op, which benefits as a whole. Quality is a self contained issue.
Co-ops exist in Colorado now and have for a while. Since they don’t sell or buy marijuana, they are not attractive to law enforcement. But if noticed, they’d be perfectly legal. No drugs are sold, everyone in possession is a certified patient.
Unfortunately, municipalities may have difficulty in taxing a co-op. Most home rule towns exempt farms from certain use and energy taxes, and making a change in dealing with co-ops to seek marijuana taxes will create a negative fervor with farmers and ranchers.
If you’re a serious patient or caregiver, take a serious step towards your own health and overall well being. Start an MMJ co-op.
George Wills’ commentary on June 29 struck a chord with me. While Wills’ columns usually are contrary to my beliefs and often seem stuck in the 20th century, his comments about General McChrystal and the American undertaking in Afghanistan being a fool’s errand are painfully true.
The so-called ‘war’ in Afghanistan is unwinnable. Many have tried and lost. The government is corrupt, the land is inhospitable, the people are tribal and nearly 80% of the population is illiterate. They have been fighting with each other for centuries.
President Reagan is often touted by the Republicans as bringing down the Soviet Union. The truth is that it was Afghanistan, not Reagan. Their 10 year war in Afghanistan (sound familiar?) bankrupted the Soviet Union and they were forced to go home with their tail between their legs as had so many before them.
Osama bin Laden said in 2005 that all he had to do was send a couple of his leaders to an area and the U.S. would respond with all it’s expensive might in power and men. Then he would send a couple more to another area and the U.S. would respond like a dog chasing a ball. It cost him pennies he said, and it cost the U.S. billions. He has vowed to bankrupt the U.S., and we are well on the way.
Stop wasting the lives of our young people and the treasury of our nation and get out of Afghanistan sooner rather than later.
Louisville Continue reading
I just looked at the education bills that were submitted by both houses of Congress this year; looking for one that was designed to improve our education process throughout this nation. None were found! My admittedly rough count was a little over 100 and none of them touched on any national education objective.
None of them touched on improving our science and math programs in primary and secondary grades; and we sadly trail the rest of the world. None of them touched on improving the number of students who enter the classroom “ready to learn”, which is the objective of Head Start. None of them touched on how to improve the learning we are currently not achieving for our students from low social-economic environments.
Why did I pick the subject of education for my search? Because nothing is more important. If we had better education we could actually achieve wonders in the 21st century. If we improved education we could drastically cut down on terrorism. If we improved education we could drastically reduce the number of criminals. If we improved education we could help solve many of today’s problems which will overwhelm us in the near future, as in:
2. Health care
3. Social security
4. Global warming
5. Transfer from fossil fuel dependent energy to renewable energy
Not to mention our current problems in the economy.
I would like to know why, amongst 435 representatives and 100 senators, we are doing nothing towards improving education? Do you think I am just whistling Dixie? Go ahead look at this website:
http://www.govtrack.us/congress/subjects.xpd?type=crs&term=Elementary and secondary education
No wonder polls on Congress come up so short. What are they doing?? We know what they are not doing!
This should be short. Boulder is a bad neighbor to its neighborhoods. A few anti-everything citizens capture the attention of council and result in numerous rules and regulations that make for unfriendly results to our neighborhoods. Otherwise, the City just decides to cut off services they once provided so it can continue to sustain useless policies like moving prairie dogs to locations unwanted by their neighbors. Whatever happened to normal city services that included things like snow plowing, tree pruning, leaf pickup, branch pickup, etc.?
Now we find ourselves mosquito bitten to near death. I am so inflated my wife doesn’t recognize me. Kids refuse to visit our park. Then there are weeds the city refuses to spray, which have spread into our own neighborhood. How about the developing potholes caused by the futile effort of the snow plows last two years, because they began too late to do any good?
I said this would be short. You can fill in for yourselves the rest…dog violators, speeding bicyclists, etc.
Boulder Continue reading
We cannot “win the war” in Afghanistan, because we are not in a war in Afghanistan. I know. I have been in a war (1942-1945).
Boulder Continue reading
The Daily Camera report of the sale of Sutherland’s Lumber Yard
property evokes the hope that the developer will save the on-site
former Colorado and Southern Railroad passenger depot. The interior
could serve as office/work space for a small business while retaining
an exterior depot appearance. This would fit in nicely with the
“Transit Village” theme for the area and preserve a bit of Boulder
Broomfield Continue reading
I’ve lived in South Boulder on and off since the mid seventies and currently reside on the southern edge of the Open Space. I was a founder of Pulse Fitness Center and Boulder Rock Club and am still an avid recreational enthusiast, especially mountain biking. In the mid eighties I would ride the Mesa Trail to Eldorado Springs and back
several times each week until the trails were closed to bikes in 1986. I fought the closure and shortly thereafter realized the wisdom of that decision, not only from an environmental perspective as the trails soon returned to their original condition and width, but also as a safety issue. I witnessed (and was party to) many close encounters with cyclists vs. hikers, pets, and children, but know many accidents occurred as well.
Why do the proponents of re-opening the trails to bikes think the conflicts will be any better today, especially with even larger numbers of mountain bikes in town and the sport exploding in popularity? Has anyone read the transcripts of the endless meetings
and recommendations of Open Space Staff that led to the closures? What is different today? I walk my dogs regularly on these trails and now with more hikers, children and dogs than ever it will only lead to greater and more frequent conflict and injury. As much as I would love to ride my bike out my back door, I can’t support re-opening these trails. It’s simply a bad idea.
Boulder Continue reading
Pres. Obama recently delivered another of his prepared speeches, searching for the most effective way to place blame and punish someone (namely BP) for the devastation from the oil spill, yet on the other hand he claims to “take responsibility”. Admittedly the Government knows nothing about plugging oil wells, but while focusing on blame and punishment, the President ignores actions that he could actually take to help in the cleanup and mitigate at least part of the economic impacts.
Several other countries stand ready and have offered to apply experience, technology and their equipment to the cleanup, but they were turned away because of a 1920’s law that prevents foreign ships without unionized American crews from operating in our coastal waters. Without fanfare or speeches, Pres. Bush promptly suspended that law for a period shortly after Katrina, but Pres. Obama is still “studying” the situation after two months!
Meanwhile, after Government tax benefits were changed in 1995, pushing oil companies into deep water drilling, Pres. Obama’s efforts toward a six-month suspension of deep water drilling threatens thousands of American jobs, and the constant video drumbeat showing the horrors of oil on wildlife and just a few beaches has resulted in exacerbating the economic impacts on many undamaged Gulf Coast tourist areas.
Furthermore, those high-tech drilling rigs won’t just sit idle, but will instead be moved to other places in the world. Getting them back to work in our waters will likely take years, while we thus increase even more our dependency on foreign oil. Wind energy is significantly more expensive and can never replace oil, unless we expect to power our cars with a windmill on top!
From his speech, Pres. Obama seems more interested in creating a new cap and trade law (dubbed “comprehensive climate bill” for the gullible) that will vastly increase Government control over all energy sources, raise taxes on everyone and wreak havoc on our already failing economy.
Boulder Continue reading
The brief summer of Boulder County’s mountains is marked by a number of familiar sights and sounds.
There’s the whisper of the wind in the pines, the hummingbirds buzzing, clouds of pine pollen, and of course, the proliferation of random gunfire.
Yes, each summer (and for that matter, more or less year round), mountain residents are regaled with enough gunfire noise pollution to make one think nostalgically of the Tora Bora hills. From “plinkers” to gap-tooth psychos to college professors with full auto machine guns, the brief period of open windows and sunning on the deck is consistently disrupted by gun fans who care not one whit for the rights of others to peacefully enjoy their property without wondering where the bullets are flying to. One such connoisseur once told me he thought hearing gunfire was “like breathing oxygenated air.” Gasp.
I was perversely amused to read about the couple tied to a tree by a Ramboesque gent, which prompted a reverse 911 call to Ned area residents (including myself). If there was a reverse 911 for every camo-wearing, gun toting, Walter Mitty wannabee lurking in the woods up here blasting away, the phone system would be maxed out in no time.
Don’t get me wrong: I know I live in a country in love with guns and violence, and harbor no illusions that will ever change. What I do wish is that the shooters would have a little consideration for their nonparticipating fellow citizens, and that government would establish some legal, sound controlled locales for gunsels to blast away without offending others. If an armed society is a polite society, as gun advocates say, it would be refreshing to see some of that politeness manifested in the tranquility of the mountains.
Every few years, I submit this opinion in some form or another, knowing nothing will come of it. Maybe this, too, is a sign of summer in the mountains….
Nederland Continue reading
We have a crucial opportunity to affect Boulder’s energy future, now that the city’s franchise agreement with Xcel is about to expire. If we renew it without a clear agreement as to the ways Xcel will be moving toward renewable energy, we run a high risk that for the next 20 years we will continue to have much of our energy from the coal and gas plants to which Xcel has committed. There are exciting alternatives, as demonstrated by Marin county, which now is supplying its populace with almost entirely clean, renewable energy, and at the same price as the conventional fossil fuels would have been (a price which will grow much less than fossil fuels, despite their heavy taxpayer subsidies, in the future).
The city really wants input from its citizens before June 30, to be given to Council for its major study session on the issue on July 13. Please consider attending the open house at 6 p.m. on June 29 at the East Boulder Senior Center at 5660 Sioux Drive. I went to one this week, which was fascinating and informative, and gives you the chance for direct feedback.
If you can’t make it, please go to the city’s website at http://www.bouldercolorado.gov/energy/future in order to give them feedback before June 30. There you will find a superb summary of the main issues, under the “Frequently Asked Questions” link and a very informative video.
Council would especially like to know if they should insist on a clear commitment from Xcel to the means by which they will help Boulder achieve clean and affordable energy before they allow the question of franchise renewal to go before the voters. (Xcel wants to get the 20-year franchise without specific commitments before forming a plan and has refused the City’s request to extend the present franchise to give us more time.)
They’d also like to know whether you are interested in Boulder taking control of its energy supply, which would allow us to give new technologies and providers a chance to bring about clean and affordable energy as soon as possible. (Please read “Frequently Asked Questions” for more specifics about how this could be done.)
Cathy Comstock, Ph.D.
Boulder Continue reading
It seems that our debate over cell phone use while driving is at a standstill. Some people feel that a driver’s performance is totally unaffected. Some believe it is gravely affected. The truth, as always, seems to lie somewhere in between the points being argued.
These studies have been done. By putting people in driving simulators, researchers can measure awareness, reflexes, etc., very precisely. The findings, in a nutshell, are that a driver’s competence is compromised by about as much as being legally drunk. That’s not to say that people don’t pull it off every day. Unfortunately, many who think they’re doing just fine are exactly one disaster away from reality.
Complicating things further, it turns out that some drivers – albeit a very small percentage – are truly able to use their cell phones while driving with no serious impairment. What of them?
For me, the answer is obvious. If someone would like the right to talk on their phone while driving, that’s fine. Let them first pass their drivers test – the same one the rest of us must pass – while being forced to maintain a mentally challenging conversation on the phone. Let those drivers be held to the exact same standard as everyone else. That way, drivers who prove their competence – and no one else – will be granted that right. I won’t claim to love the idea; but at least then, the lack of danger has been supported scientifically. As it is, we’re pretty much taking everyone’s self-assessment at face value.
It’s probably worth saying that, as a devoted bike commuter, I also support a ban on cell phone use while bicycling. In fact, throughout my day, I’ll see an assortment of traffic violations by cyclists that makes me cringe. Running stop signs, dashing through red lights, and riding the wrong way down one-way streets are illegal practices. It seems simple: if you claim to be a legitimate vehicle on the road, then you should abide by the same rules and regulations as everyone else. It might seem a lot to ask, but given that and more, bicycles for short-distance travel remain a distantly better choice than cars.
The tension between motorists and cyclists certainly gets a lot of press. However, given that most members of either group are actually pretty responsible and alert, it can seem like the arguing is taking place among a very small (but loud) percentage of the population. One wonders whether it’s possible that, with a little patience and compassion, there’s actually plenty of room for all of us.
Boulder Continue reading
I attended the Bands on the Bricks performance by the Nacho Men last evening. Having lived out of state for several years, I was looking forward to enjoying some of Denver’s summer entertainment. We arrived 90 minutes early to assure good seating and were in the first row of chairs just 20 feet back from the stage in order to accommodate the dancers. Once the performance began, the dance area was quickly filled not just by dancers, but also numerous people standing around having private conversations. The Nacho Men show is visual as well as musical, and the only view I had the entire evening was a sea of legs and other body parts. Very disappointing! Couldn’t a higher stage be erected to eliminate this problem or perhaps some segregation arranged to allow everyone to enjoy the party atmosphere? Surely something could be worked out. C’mon Boulder, you can do better.
In the Wednesday, June 23, article the ‘Boulder Creek open for business’ opening statement was ‘Don’t call the people at the Boulder Convention and Visitors Bureau to ask if Boulder Creek is open for tubing. They don’t know’. Fortunately, there are a few locations around Boulder that offer visitor information services and the Boulder Convention and Visitors Bureau does not staff all of these locations. Not every Information Center has full-time staff members, so all of us are always checking in with businesses, festivals and attractions as to specific questions, especially when it comes to safety.
In Boulder, we promote the ‘Boulder experience’ which is unique and authentic for each person to take home with them. Everyone that works in a visitor information center works individually to find out what the visitor is interested in, and where would be the best place for them to find that experience. However, we want all of our visitors to have a good time, consider safety first and remind everyone to hydrate.
What we have found helpful and I would like to suggest to anyone assisting visitors in a retail shop, hotel front desk, or in a restaurant and would like current updates of Boulder Creek closures (and reopening) or any other emergency that could affect visitors to subscribe to the Boulder County Sherriff Office new alerts www.bouldercounty.org/lists/
Thank you to all of our tourism partners that assist so many people that come to enjoy our great city. You are all tourism ambassadors!
Mary Ann Mahoney
Boulder Convention and Visitors Bureau Continue reading
The Boulder City Council should take the time to consider carefully our options for a clean energy future before renewing our Xcel franchise. While it is in the interest of Xcel to pressure Boulder into renewing Xcel’s franchise, it is not at all clear that it is in our interest to do so without reviewing our alternatives, even should we ultimately renew the franchise. Unless we consider our options carefully, we will miss an opportunity to take advantage of new technology and business models in updating our energy supply, not only to reduce our impact on the climate and environment, but also possibly to save us money and improve service through competition. To let Xcel force us into a contract to avoid a short term financial issue for the city would be the easy thing to do. But, ask yourself, why would Xcel need to use a tactic that many would perceive as a threat, if we didn’t have other good options? We can work around this short term problem without costing rate payers additional dollars and come up with the best plan to get us to a lower cost, reliable and, yes, cleaner energy supply, but first we must ask:
What’s the hurry?
Boulder Continue reading
A few thoughts on Judith Mohling’s letter (June 22) about nuclear power. Because I worked for years in reactor safety research, operated reactors, served 3 years as a naval officer on a nuclear powered ship, did radioactive waste management studies, etc., I know a little about the subject.
Regarding “catastrophic accidents”, Chernobyl was the one. A (known!) bad design and poorly controlled test in a reactor with no containment building resulted in a meltdown and steam explosion, spreading vast contamination. About 50 were killed on-site, and some 4,000 related cancer deaths may be possible.
But Three Mile Island was no catastrophe, except financially to its owners. I spent a year there on assignment analyzing the accident, and there was significant damage, all inside the containment building. No related deaths have ever been substantiated. TMI-2 is the worst nuclear plant accident in this country. An unbiased perspective would judge that an outstanding 50 year safety record. Feel free to compare it to accidental death rates in any other heavy industry.
Curious: if 50 people die in a single industrial accident, it’s a catastrophe. But the approximately 1,200,000 people who died in traffic accidents in the US since TMI-2 is not a catastrophe, it’s just normal! Something to do with simultaneity and with some causes of death being more acceptable than others, I suppose.
There certainly are significant issues with nuclear power, but this naive old world still wants more of it. We have 104 nuclear plants, and they’re getting old. Other countries have another 335, most of them much newer. We have one under construction, other countries have 56. We plan 9 more, other countries plan 142 more. Another 23 have been proposed in the US, and 322 more elsewhere in the world.
It will be interesting to see how that all goes.
Louisville Continue reading
So Obama has fired General McChrystal for the negative comments that some of his staff made to a left wing Rolling Stone reporter in nightclub in France after a drinking session (that were subsequently published). Is Obama really so naive to suppose that replacing General McChrystal with General Petraeus or anyone else will result in a military that has any more respect for his pitiful performance as our “Commander in Chief”?
Boulder Continue reading
Regarding “Students See Benefits in Small Majors” (June 23rd):
While I agree with the benefits expressed in the article, I am disappointed that Whitney Bryen failed to point out the most important one of all: the “small” programs, usually liberal arts, require student to be thinkers. Sure it is nice to be potentially more employable by having a unique degree, but the real benefit of these programs is becoming an organized thinker. The ability to analyze, synthesize, follow an argument, form an opinion, filter important vs. minor facts, see the whole in the parts, evaluate perspective, contextualize information, and express oneself intellectually in a variety of mediums can be applied to any career or endeavor. That kind of wisdom is always in demand.
Longmont Continue reading