Archive for June, 2013

Bubble-enclosed KNUS radio studio floating away from Earth

Thursday, June 13th, 2013

After the Republican election disaster of 2012, there was a lot of talk about how GOP leaders had constructed a giant bubble around themselves, protecting them from facts that could have saved them from the November collapse.

The bubble remains unbroken in many quarters on talk radio, as you’d have known if you tuned to KNUS’ “Backbone Radio,” Sunday, featuring a conversation between former state Senate President John Andrews and host Matt Dunn.

Things got interesting when the two began discussing who’s sufficiently conservative to speak at Andrews’ upcoming Western Conservative Summit, sponsored by the Centennial Institute and Colorado Christian University.

Mike Huckabee, Scott Walker, Alan West, and Jonas Goldberg got big thumbs up. (They will be there.)

But NJ governor Chris Christie got the big thumbs down, and Andrews said Marco Rubio could get booed, if he were a speaker:

Andrews:  I, honestly, haven’t really worked hard to get [Christie] this year.  I don’t regard him as a conservative.  This is a conservative summit.  We took a good run at getting Senator Marco Rubio–

Dunn:  Yeah, I was going to ask.

Andrews:  a gifted young conservative –

Dunn:  How would Rubio be received. We’re down to about 20 seconds, but how would he be received at the Summit right now?

Andrews:  I think with a lot of skepticism.  There might be some boos from the audience because of what he’s trying to do on amnesty, to be honest with you.  A very gifted guy, but he has taken – he has set his foot wrong on this one.

Dunn:  It’s interesting to me that it seems that Ted Cruz is the ascendant.  And Marco Rubio is the opposite right now.  Who would have thought?

I like to picture these two guys sitting in a bubble-enclosed radio studio floating away from the city of Denver and planet Earth.

Why are they shielding themselves from their own allies, like Christie, who isn’t an exact replica of them?

Is it time for Andrews let some fresh air into his definition of “conservative?”

Those are the kind of questions that Dunn should address on his show, but his radio studio is probably too far into outer space by now for him to read this blog post and accept my reasonable advice.

Host should’ve questioned Wadhams when he said 1) GOP needs non-alienating candidates and 2) Gessler would be “strong” choice

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

Former state GOP Chairman Dick Wadhams believes Colorado Republicans should find state-wide candidates modeled after Wayne Allard, Bill Armstrong, Bill Owens, and Hank Brown.

“They were candidates that appealed to a broad section of Coloradans,” Wadhams told internet-radio host Art Carlson Saturday. “They didn’t go out of their way to alienate any Colorado voter. And as a result, they won in a state that’s very competitive, like Colorado. And that’s what we need in 2014.”

Nothing unusual there, but the funny part was, Wadhams went on to praise a possible GOP candidate who’s obviously among the most alienating public figures in Colorado.

“I think it’s difficult to start a campaign when you’re dealing with those ethical assaults [resulting form the ethics investigation Gessler faces],” Wadhams told Calrson. “But if Scott can get past them, if he can get beyond those charges against him, he’ll emerge as a strong candidate.”

What about the need to find a person who won’t “alienate any Colorado voter?” I can think of at least a few voters that Gessler might have alienated, maybe Hispanics, minorities, and the entire voting population of Colorado, for example, but unfortunately Carlson let the topic slide by.

Listen to the Wadhams interview here: Dick Wadhams discusses Scott Gessler on Arts Place 6-8-2013

Wadhams called Gessler “a great friend,” who’s “done some great work as Secretary of State.”

“It’s now been 11 years since Republicans won a race United States Senate or for Governor,” Wadhams told the internet audience. “…The common thread among the people who’ve won statewide for governor and senator as Republicans is that they were very disciplined candidates.”

“If the intention is to win an election, I think Republicans have to take this seriously and really make a decision on who can win,” said Wadhams. “And that’s not because they become overnight liberals or something. Wayne Allard and Bill Owens were two of the most conservative legislators when they ran for state-wide office and yet they could articulate their conservative agenda in a very open and welcoming way for all Coloradans to consider. We don’t need Republicans who will alienate large blocs of voters.”

If I were host Carlson, I would have asked Wadhams if substantive changes, even itsy bitsy ones, are required by GOP candidates to avoid the alienation trap.

Or is this all about messaging, like Wadhams implies? What about some specific policy proposals related to abortion? Hispanics? The environment? Poverty? Healthcare? Education? Taxes?

Those issues never came up. Carlson should have dug deep and asked about them.


Radio host and TV station don’t mention that sheriffs were actually standing with gun criminal

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013

On Greeley’s KFKA radio June 7, gun activist Laura Carno asked:

Does [Senate President John Morse] stand by the Colorado Senate Democrats’ tweet that sheriffs, including the Democrats, are standing with criminals for challenging these gun control measures in court?

Host Amy Oliver, who doubles as a staffer for the Independence Institute and is promoted by KFKA as “conservative,  intelligent, and sexy,” jumped in (@22:30):

We’ve talked about that.  They tweeted out, “Sheriffs stand for criminals and against law-abiding citizens.”

Oliver neglected to mention that, in reality, CO Senate Democrats tweeted that pro-gun sheriffs stood “with criminals” because a man who shot a gun at his wife was actually standing (physically with both feet planted) on stage with the Sheriffs, when they announced their lawsuit aiming to overturn new laws banning on magazines holding more than 15 rounds and requiring background checks for most gun purchases and transfers.

As reported by ColoradoPols May 17, Clint Webster was standing with the sheriffs at a May 17 news conference at the Independence Institute.

Webster has a criminal record stemming from threatening his wife and shooting at her and another person.

The Post reported in 2010 that Webster, who was running for State House, “threatened to kill his ex-wife and fired two shots from a Colt semi automatic pistol at her and another person as they drove away from his house.”

Webster “pleaded guilty in 1992 to second-degree assault, a felony, two counts of felony menacing and a misdemeanor assault charge,” according to The Post.

Colorado Springs TV station KRDO made the same mistake in May 29 putting the standing-with-criminals comment in context on its website but completely omitting a reference to Webster and his gun crime in its broadcast story.

This is a serious error, because without the reference to Webster, you’d think Democrats were accusing sheriffs of standing with criminals just because the sheriffs oppose gun-safety laws. This was clearly not the intent of Democrats.

Just so you know, here’s the statement issued by Senate Democrats in response to questions about why sheriffs would stand with criminals.

“The statement was pointing out the irony of the sheriffs protesting legislation that prevents criminals from getting guns while standing with a man who shot at his wife and another unnamed person who was with his wife.

In the photo below, there is Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith (wearing glasses) at the press conference. Next to him is Clint Webster, who was convicted of felony assault and menacing for shooting twice at his wife. So the Sheriffs are quite literally standing with a criminal, and not just any criminal, a domestic violence offender who fired two shots from a Colt semi-automatic handgun at his wife.”

Hard to miss the point, isn’t it?

Talk radio’s window into why the GOP base resists immigration reform

Friday, June 7th, 2013

If you want to hear what the base voters of the Republican Party are thinking, tune to…talk radio!

This is especially true when the radio hosts themselves are former Republican officials and office holders, as is the case with former CU regent Tom Lucero and former Larimer County GOP executive Devon Lentz, who hold forth as co-hosts in the mornings on KFKA radio in Greeley.

Lucero and Lentz were worked up Wednesday morning about immigration, as they’ve been in the past, and their conversation gives us a local window into the reasons the immigration-reform bill seems to have hit a brick fence in the GOP-controlled House of Representatives.

Lucero can’t understand why Sen. Marco Rubio, the Florida Republican who’s been pushing federal immigration reform, would promote a bill that offers a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.

“I think if Rubio were serious about it,” said Lucero on air Wed., “he would have come out with just two bills that dealt with employment, and border security. But he got sucked in, in Washington D.C., and now you’re talking about a pathway to citizenship; you’re talking about people with the opportunity to vote within ‘x’ number of years.”

“We’re rewarding people that are here illegally!” responded Lentz.

“Exactly!” said Lucero

“The rules are in place for a reason!” Lentz added. “Enforce ‘em, and let’s move forward from there!  Not change them!  Because somebody has violated rules for ten years, doesn’t make it acceptable. Let’s make an exception to the rule for them?”

Lucero and Lentz (like Rep. Cory Gardner) clearly aren’t happy with the bipartisan Senate proposal to ramp up border security, with specific milestones, as comprehensive immigration reform moves forward.

“Let’s start with border security,” Lucero told his listeners, who you could almost see nodding out there in conservative radioland. “Keep those out that want to come in, and those that are here, they’re here.  So then we deal with it after the border is secure.  First, first – first step has to be border security.”

Is Rubio dividing the GOP, wondered Lucero and Lentz.

Lucero thinks Rubio has put Republicans in an “awkward position.”

Lucero feels the pressure that Rubio puts on him and Tea-Party Republicans: “If Marco Rubio supports it, why can’t you?  Marco Rubio is quote/unquote one of those Tea Party renegade senators in the U.S. Senate and if a conservative like Rubio can support it, why can’t you?”

“I don’t know that [Rubio is] dividing the Party,” Lucero said on the radio, “but he’s not making it easy for Republicans out there that don’t support comprehensive immigration reform–Republicans who support ‘secure the borders, all borders, all ports of entry,’ and who want an employment verification system. Yeah, Marco Rubio is making it difficult on those of us who believe in that. That’s my conclusion.”

Crimes Against Pregnant Women Act deserves more press attention

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013

UPDATE 8:15 p.m. with comment from Personhood USA.


As expected, Gov. Hickenlooper signed a bill Wed. making it a crime to cause the death of a fetus due to a reckless act against a woman (like a drunk driver hitting a pregnant woman).

Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains issued a statement praising the bill’s sponsors, Reps. Mike Foote and Claire Levy, and Sen. Pat Steadman, and stating that the new law “empowers district attorneys and other members of law enforcement to hold criminals accountable for crimes against a pregnant woman which result in the loss of her pregnancy.

“The bill was thoughtfully crafted to protect pregnant women without impeding upon a woman’s right to access reproductive health care,” according to Planned Parenthood. “We thank our state lawmakers for focusing their time and energy on a bill that positively supports women.”

Some Republicans, as well as Personhood USA, opposed the bill, which GOP Sen. Scott Renfroe, referred to as the “Let’s-Go-on-Killing-Babies” bill, because it didn’t give legal rights to zygotes (fertilized eggs) or other forms of human development. The law specifically does not “confer the status of ‘person’ on any human embryo, fetus, or unborn child at any state of development prior to live birth.”

Personhood activists, who aim to ban all abortion and some common forms of birth control, are gathering signatures for a ballot initiative that would give legal rights to all “unborn human beings.” The fact that this phrase is not defined in the text of the ballot question makes abortion-rights activists worry that courts could interpret it to mean that all forms of human development, starting with zygotes, should receive legal protection, thus banning all abortion and some common forms of birth control.

Personhood USA spokesperson Jennifer Mason commented via email on the new Violence Against Pregnant Women law:

Mason: Heather Surovik, whose nearly full-term son was killed when she was struck by a drunk driver near her due date, has opposed the Violence Against Pregnant Women act, calling it “possibly the most deceptive bill ever to be signed into law in Colorado.” Like Heather, Personhood USA recognizes that Planned Parenthood and its supporters carefully worded this bill to repeal criminal abortion laws and protect abortion providers even in cases of gross negligence, all under the guise of decrying violence. This bill specifically denies rights and recognition to babies like Brady Surovik, which is why Personhood USA will continue to support Heather Surovik’s petition drive for true justice for pregnant victims, without the hidden agenda of Colorado’s pro-choice political activists.

Reporters should look for meat behind accusations of a war on rural Colorado, after Hick signs renewable energy bill

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013

This afternoon Hick will sign a bill setting a state standard for the amount of electricity rural electricity associations must produce from renewable sources, like wind and solar, according to Fox 31’s Eli Stokols.

Judging from past coverage, Republican opponents of the bill will try to cast it as an attack on rural Colorado.

When Rep. Jared Wright tried to do this back in April, the Grand Junction Sentinel’s Charles Ashby pointed out that the Rural Electricity Association in his area supported the renewable-standard bill (SB 252).

So reporters should check for meat behind accusations of an Democratic attack on the ranchers and others in rural counties, if those accusations start flying again today.

Evidence of meatlessness and manipulation by those claiming “war on rural Colorado” can be found in an article about SB 252 in the news letter of the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union’s May “Legis Letter.” The bill was vehemently opposed by a large electricity association called Tri-State Generation and Transmission. Here’s an excerpt from the May RMFU newsletter:

Tri-State and the rural electric family chose to draw a line in the sand, and now we are stuck with goals that may be a challenge to achieve. By refusing to listen to RMFU and other rural and agricultural groups looking for a reasonable compromise, Tri-State only managed one achievement: driving a new wedge between rural and urban Coloradoans.

In the run up to the vote on SB 252, industry “pundits” were predicting the end of civilization: Unemployment in rural communities will double! Rural utility customers will be bankrupted! Urban Colorado declares war on rural Colorado!

Ag groups were caught in the middle, trying to get both sides to listen rather than shout slogans. On the one hand, we don’t want to see rural communities hurt by utility costs; on the other, the sky was not, in spite of what was being shouted, falling. Urban Colorado is working toward a much higher portfolio standard than rural Colorado. They don’t see why that’s fair, and the answer is more complicated than most people understand. But that’s not warfare; it’s a time to talk over our differences. [BigMedia emphasis]

The newsletter quoted Rocky Mountain Farmers Union President Kent Peppler, who criticized the uncompromising opposition to SB252. RMFU was neutral on the bill, even though its Renewable Energy Chair sits on the Tri-State Board.

Here’s Peppler’s quote in the RMFU newsletter:

“The lesson in this legislative setback,” said RMFU President Kent Peppler, “is that ‘My way or the highway’ only works if you have the votes. The REAs didn’t have the votes, and ignoring their agricultural constituents and potential allies didn’t help that problem. Going down in flames may be noble, but it doesn’t get the job done. Now the real work has to begin. The last thing we should let this do is poison our commitment to renewables. Homegrown power is coming of age for communities, individuals, and facilities. The demand for renewables means new opportunities for rural communities, new jobs for rural communities, and new businesses keeping our rural communities alive.” [BigMedia emphasis]

Goodbye, Peter Boyles

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013

I really wanted to like Peter Boyles.

He could talk in depth on most any topic, so you never knew for sure what might come out of his mouth (at least when he wasn’t talking about birth certificates, Jon Benet, or “illegals”).

He was irreverent, blasting anyone and anything, including his own newsroom, his corporate higher-ups (who apparently fired him), or any elected official of either party. Everyone was a target, and sometimes this was a good thing.

He talked a lot about history, and he even read books!

But in the end, how could you like the guy? He stood for nothing beyond weird nihilism and his Arbitron rating.

Why would such an intelligent person spend so much time fomenting anger and hatred toward undocumented immigrants, who are actually one group of people who might, through Boyles’ audience, feel the effects of his venom.

His repeated attacks on Muslims were equally gross.

And why did he spend so much time trashing journalism? You sort of admire Denver Post publisher Dean Singleton for spending hours on Boyle’s show, even though one of Boyle’s absolute favorite things to do was to bash The Post (and the Rocky before it closed) in the most sweeping and stupid ways.

You got a sense of what Boyles could have been when he defended gays. But soon enough, he’d been talking birth certificates and social security numbers again.

What happened to the man who long ago did such an honorable and intelligent job hosting Channel 12’s Colorado Inside Out?

I never gave up hope that Boyles would start caring again. But it never happened.

Media omission: Radio ad aims to boost Personhood-backed fetal-homicide ballot initiative

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

An anti-abortion organization has launched a radio campaign to publicize a ballot initiative, referred to by supporters as the “Brady Amendment,” that would allow law enforcement officials to prosecute people who commit crimes against “unborn human beings.”

“A main goal of [the radio ad] is to let people know the Brady amendment is out there, so people could sign it and get a petition for themselves,” said Bob Enyart, a spokesperson for Colorado Right to Life. “It’s an awareness thing.”

Colorado Right to Life has a $4,600 budget for the ad, which is airing on Christian station KRKS and conservative talk station KNUS, Enyart said.

Here’s the text of the ad:

An abortionist has been convicted of murder. Kermit Gosnell’s house of horrors closed. But Colorado kills many kids from conception through late term. Like Brady Surovik, killed by a drunk driver, these kids are persons. Yet listen to Princeton University’s Peter Singer.

“No, I don’t think it’s problematic to say that a four-month old baby is not actually a person. I think that’s simply true.”

This is widespread, and even taints the White House. It’s up to us to stop this taking of innocent life.

The University of Colorado’s Michael Tooley advocates both abortion and infanticide. Discover Magazine defends the evolution of infanticide. The New York Times published a call to kill newborns. So did the Journal of Medical Ethics.

It’s up to us to stop the horror. Sign the pro-life Brady Amendment. It’s urgent. Call any Colorado Personhood group to get a petition, or just go to That’s

Listen to the radio ad here, as aired on KNUS May 30.

In April, activists started collecting signatures to put the fetal-homicide measure, which is backed by a Personhood USA, on the 2014 ballot in Colorado.

“We’re doing this because we sense this urgency that people, who get a pass from people like you, are calling for infanticide,” Enyart told me. “They call for infanticide is gaining momentum. We’re trying to wake up people who’ve a bit complacent, pro-lifers and Christians.”

Enyart wasn’t able to say if the ad has produced more signatures on petitions, but he said: “I’ve had people tell me how excited they are to hear a great ad on KNUS. And they didn’t know it was my voice on the ad.”

Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains has described the fetal homicide initiative, which is officially titled “Definition of Person and Child,” as another attempt to codify personhood in Colorado.

Asked to comment on the CRTL’s radio ad, Planned Parenthood of he Rocky Mountains spokeswoman Monica McCafferty emailed me:

“Gosnell ran a criminal enterprise, not a health care facility. Unfortunately opponents of safe and legal abortion have seized on this case in the hope that it would fuel their agenda of restricting access to abortion—and ultimately banning it outright. If there’s one thing everyone observing this case can agree on, it’s that all women, regardless of means, deserve access to high-quality health care delivered by licensed healthcare professionals who adhere to the most rigorous professional standards, including providing emergency care. That clearly did not happen at Gosnell’s facility.

“Ultimately, the lesson of the Gosnell case is that we must have and enforce laws that protect access to safe and legal abortion; we must reject misguided laws that will limit women’s options. The Brady Amendment, as with previous ‘personhood’ attempts officially rejected by Colorado voters twice now at the ballot, could potentially outlaw various forms of birth control. We know increasing access to affordable birth control helps decrease the need for abortion. Let’s focus on policies that actually help women.”

The text of the initiative doesn’t define the phrase “unborn human beings.”

Colorado Right to Life’s radio ad appears to be the first ad campaign for a 2014 ballot initiative.

Media omission: CO Republican Party responds to criticism from Black Tea Party leader

Sunday, June 2nd, 2013

I blogged Friday about complaints from an African-American radio host, who’s also a leader of the Black Tea Party, that Colorado Republican Chair Ryan Call isn’t properly supporting grassroots organizing efforts to diversify the state GOP.

The Colorado GOP responded Saturday to that criticism, which was aired by Derrick Wilburn, founder of the Rocky Mountain Black Tea Party, on his KZNT radio show last Saturday.

Colorado GOP Communications Director Owen Loftus told the Daily Caller’s Greg Campbell:

“As chairman of the Colorado Republican Party, Ryan receives many invitations to attend and speak at events and meetings across the state, and he does attend as many as possible,” he wrote in an email. “As Mr. Wilburn stated, Ryan has even met with the Rocky Mountain Black Conservatives.”

“Chairman Priebus was in town to discuss Hispanic outreach,” he continued. “The vast majority of people at the meeting were members of the Hispanic community. We were happy to have Mr. Wilburn there to share his thoughts. Unfortunately, given Chairman Preibus’s tight schedule, no one was able to speak at length, not even elected officials like Rep. Clarice Navarro.”

Ryan Call even met with Rocky Mountain Black Conservatives!

But what else has he done? I don’t think the Colorado GOP has sufficiently responded to the gist of Wilburn’s complaint that the state party isn’t showing enough love to African Americans, young people, Hispanics, etc. What’s happening, beyond talk, to diversify the party? This is a story that needs to be told.