Archive for December, 2015

Denver Post editorial board still wants to hear from you

Monday, December 14th, 2015

At newspapers like The Denver Post, editorials technically represent the views of the “editorial board,” but in practice the full editorial board only weighs in on crucial editorial, like endorsements, while a subset of the board decides most run-of-the-mill editorial positions.

With the recent departure of editorial writer Alicia Caldwell and the re-assignment of others, the staff of The Post’s opinion page has dwindled to editorial page editor Vincent Carroll, editorial writer Jeremy Meyer, and opinion editor Cohen Peart. (Those three sit on the Post’s editorial board, along with chairman William Dean Singleton and president and publisher Mac Tully.)

With fewer opinion writers on staff to hit the ever-present deadlines, I wondered if editorial writers have time to meet with the public at all–outside of the muckety mucks who stop by.

So I asked Peart how he and other staff decide who gets to meet with editorial writers these days–and if there were broad guidelines that I could share with the three readers of my blog.

“The editorial board still meets with folks who request visits, though we’re able to accommodate fewer of them nowadays. As with the rest of the paper, the focus has become more local,” replied Peart via email. “Local groups and officials still have ample access to The Post’s editorial board, but we find ourselves having to say ‘no’ to a lot more national interests.”

So don’t let no stinkin staff cuts stop you from trying to reach The Post’s editorial writers.

Latest GOP Senate candidate is “another arrogant politician,” writes a Republican lawmaker

Friday, December 11th, 2015

Rep. Jon Keyser, the latest Republican considering a run for U.S. Senate, is drawing fire from fellow Republicans, as they jockey to replace top GOP candidates who’ve dropped out of consideration for the Senate race.

In a Facebook post yesterday, Rep. Justin Everett wrote that Keyser is backed by the “usual spinmeisters who tend to lose elections here in Colorado.”

Everett said of Keyser: “He won’t listen, arrogance is a word that comes to mind. We don’t need another arrogant politician in Washington…

Also on Facebook, Everett has been an outspoken supporter of U.S. Senate candidate Tim Neville, whom Everett claims cannot be beaten in Colorado’s GOP primary.

Everett has written that Neville will use the “Ken Buck Model of 2010 when [Buck] beat Jane Norton.”

The jostling is sure to intensify due to, if nothing else, the size of the field.

Already in the race for the GOP nomination to take on Democrat Michael Bennet are: Neville, El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn, former Aurora city counilman Ryan Frazier, former Parker mayor Greg Lopez, El Paso County conservative Charles Ehler, and Jefferson Country Commissioner Donald Rosier.

Three Republicans, including businessman Robert Blaha, Rep. Peggy Littleton, and talk-radio host Dan Caplis are considering the race. (Caplis says he’s “very serious” about a run.) Blaha has promised to get into the race and expects attacks from the “permanent political class.

State Sen. Ray Scott is rumored to be considering the race.

Arapahoe County DA Charles Brauchler, Rep. Mike Coffman, and State Sen. EllenRoberts all considered running for the GOP nomination, but have withdrawn, at least for now. So did Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith and State Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg.

Talk-radio host Mike Rosen to (mostly) retire

Friday, December 11th, 2015

The Denver Post’s Joanne Ostrow reported yesterday that Mike Rosen, who’s hosted a talk-radio show in Denver for almost 30 years, will sign off from his own show Dec. 24.

You’ll recognize Rosen’s voice, as quoted by Ostrow, explaining why he’s :

“Doing my brand of radio, with 24/7 research and show prep, takes a work week of more than 60 hours. After 35 years on-air, I’ve decided to give myself a little more well-earned leisure time as I pass my 71st birthday,” Rosen said in a release.

Rosen will be succeeded in the timeslot by KHOW’s Mandy Connell(who took over Peter Boyles’ long-held slot in 2013).

“A full-fledged retirement wouldn’t suit a Type-A guy like me. So, I’m delighted to still have a presence with KOA as a part-time on-air contributor. While this may disappoint my long-time loyal listeners, to whom I’m eternally grateful, I hope they will find a little of Mike Rosen at least better than none at all. I’m passing the baton to Mandy Connell in the midday time slot, who’s done a great job on KHOW in the morning. You’ll like her.”

On radio, state lawmaker says Planned Parenthood execs have “same demonic spirit of murder” as gunman

Thursday, December 10th, 2015

Update (Dec. 11): In response to my question of whether he thinks there’s any difference between the Planned Parenthood domestic terrorist and Planned Parenthood executives, Klingenschmitt said via email, “I’ve been consistent in my statements calling for an end to ALL of the violence, not just half of the violence as the pro-abortionists do.  They remain inconsistent in their calls to end some violence, while they engage in violent behavior against children behind closed doors.”


“Listen, the shooter was filled with the demonic spirit of murder,” said State Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt, a Republican, told Colorado Springs radio station KLZ 560-AM four days after the shooting (at 6:20 below). “And yet, the Planned Parenthood executives who call for not just the murder but the profiting from selling aborted baby parts, as we’ve seen from their own lips on the videos of the Center for Medical Progress over the summer, they have that same demonic spirit of murder.”

“Absolutely. Abolutely,” responded KLZ host Steve Curtis, who’s a former chair of the Colorado Republican Party.

Klingenschmitt did not immediately return an email seeking to know if he sees any difference between Planned Parenthood executives and the domestic terrorist.

Other anti-choice leaders have responded to the tragedy by objecting to the abortions at Planned Parenthood as well as the murders committed by the terrorist, but Klingenschmitt went further Dec. 1 by equating Planned Parenthood officials to the terrorist.

For example, Personhood USA spokeswoman Jennifer Mason stated after the tragedy that her organization opposes all violence, including the shooting, but she criticized the media for “failing to report that innocent babies are killed in that very building every day that they are in business.”

Klingenschmitt was one of three Republicans, along with State Sen. Laura Woods (R-Westminster) and U.S. Senate candidate Tim Neville, whom pro-choice activists accused last week of inciting clinic violence through their use of “extreme” rhetoric. Klingenschmitt’s Dec. 2 comments mirror one of his quotes cited by activists as an example of the kind of language that

“Never have I called for violence. In fact, we abhor the actions of the violent shooter,” Klingenschmitt also said during the radio interview. (at 4:25 below).

Newspapers jumped too quickly in supporting a proposal to reform redistricting process

Tuesday, December 8th, 2015

Editorial boards at The Denver Post and Durango Herald, which are known to be deliberative bodies when it comes to policy, jumped out of the gate way too soon in backing a new process for determining election districts, writing supportive editorials even before all the facts are on the table about the vague initiative–and key questions are completely unanswered.

You wonder how these newspapers could possibly have given an initial “thumbs up” to the proposal in light of its immediate red-flag language that would gut minority voting power. The language expressly prohibits the commission from augmenting minority voting – splitting their voting blocs at a time when Hispanic voters are growing.

This major problem in the language is compounded by the creation of a flawed pecking order of factors the commission can consider in drawing new lines. Dead last on the list is “communities of interest,” making them the least important. Communities of interest include minority communities, but also areas that share common bonds like mountain communities, college towns or agricultural towns.

Another of the most glaring omissions in the proposed initiative, which would appear on the November ballot, is the lack of public process so grassroots organizations and average voters could offer input on the creation of new electoral districts. It’s hard to understand why newspapers, which stand for transparency and public input into government decisions, would put their stamp of approval on cutting out the public.

Equally incongruous with a newspaper’s values is the way the proposal potentially removes “independent” commission members  from the decision-making process on new electoral districts. The proposed initiative assigns legislative researchers to produce maps, and if a supermajority of commission members fails to approve the maps drawn by legislative staff, then the commission would be leapfrogged and the first map (ignoring any improved subsequent maps) would go directly to the Colorado Supreme Court—potentially without approval from any of the commission members.

In other words, there’s no guarantee that the 12-member commission, equally split among Democrats, Republicans, and independents, would have any real power.

Neither newspaper addressed the minority-representation problem, the lack of community input, and the limited power of the commission itself—as well as other problems and questions, including one that you’d think would be near and dear to the heart of a newspaper: Who’s bankrolling this effort?

Yet, The Post inexplicably touted the initiative with the naïve comment of “goodbye gerrymandering.” Wow.

At least the Durango Herald had the good sense to acknowledge that much is unknown about the proposed initiative, concluding its editorial with, “Much will depend on the final language of the measure….” And even backers of the amendment are saying nothing has been finalized.

Colorado Republican leader vows to continue investigating Planned Parenthood

Saturday, December 5th, 2015

Last week’s terrorism at a Planned Parenthood center won’t stop Colorado state Sen. Kevin Lundberg from conducting hearings on the women’s health organization and pushing for a state investigation.

In a Facebook post three days after the shooting, Lundberg wrote he took advantage of a budget hearing to ask Larry Wolk, Colorado’s chief medical officer, why he hasn’t launched an investigation into whether the organization violated state laws relating to fetal-tissue research.

The Durango Herald’s Peter Marcus reported on the incident Tuesday:

Despite the tragedy still fresh for the public and victims’ families, Republicans on Tuesday wasted no time, getting right back to the fetal body parts issue. Remarks came during a budget hearing with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

“Will the department be taking some action to deal with this inadequacy?” asked Sen. Kevin Lundberg, R-Berthoud, pointing out that the state health department has taken no action against Planned Parenthood on the fetal body parts issue.

Later, Lundberg wrote on his Facebook page that he has “specific questions” that he intends to ask Wolk during the legislative session, and Wolk ageed to testify.

“I finally had a brief opportunity to question the Colorado Health Department director, Dr. Wolk, concerning his department’s failure to thoroughly investigate possible violations of Colorado law concerning fetal tissue trafficking,” Lundberg wrote on Facebook.

Wolk’s told Lundberg at the hearing that he did not see “any connection to Colorado” in heavily-edited undercover videos, some of which featured Colorado Planned Parenthood officials. And he said he’s always available to answer questions from Lundberg.

“This despite his refusal to come or send anyone from his department to the RSCC Fetal Tissue Trafficking Hearing held on November 9,” Lundberg wrote on Facebook.

Colorado pro-choice activists on Tuesday pointed to the rhetoric at the November 9 hearing, which repeatedly spotlighted the discredited videos, as contributing to the November 27 murders in Colorado Springs. If Wolk refused to testify at the legislature, an angry Lunberg said in a radio interview about the Nov. 9 hearing, he’d consider requesting subpeona power to force him to do so.

As I wrote for RH Reality Check Friday, Lundberg wasn’t named by the activists Tuesday, but they cited his fellow Colorado legislators, U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman, state Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt (R-Colorado Springs), and state Sen. Tim Neville (R-Littleton) for using language that incited violence directed at Planned Parenthood.

The health department has declinedColorado Statesman to investigate Planned Parenthood in Colorado.

An unusual argument that inflammatory anti-choice rhetoric leads to violence

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2015

Libertarian Elliot Fladen asked uncompromising anti-choicers yesterday, if you’re using holocaust-like inflammatory rhetoric to talk about Planned Parenthood and abortion, and you really think it’s mass murder, at what point do you have an obligation to break the law to stop it, using nonviolent or violent civil disobedience?

This turns out to be an unusual way of reinforcing the point progressives and Gov. Hickenlooper have made to tone down the rhetoric on this issue. The inflammatory anti-choice language, often inaccurate and undergirded by an alleged life-and-death holocaust-like moral imperative, can have an overwhelming power, Fladen argues, above pitched rhetoric on other topics, to push people to violence.

Fladen’s Facebook posts unleashed a long thread of responses, including a couple from state Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt, who was one of the legislators named by progressives yesterday for his “extreme” language. They pointed to Dr. Chaps, saying, for example, that Planned Parenthood is “filled with the demonic spirit of murder.” Rep. Mike Coffman’s statement that Planned Parenthood’s practices “fly in the face of human dignity” and Tim Neville’s statement that Planned Parenthood is “cutting to pieces and selling unborn baby parts” were other examples.

Fladen: …Given that this abortion=mass murder rhetoric is much more persuasive than the drivel coming out of NARAL, it is easily foreseeable that at least a few people will be persuaded by the rhetoric comparing abortionist to Nazis but unpersuaded by the proposed solution of non-violence as that may appear to be akin to a “Nuremberg Defense”. As such, violence against abortion providers is so predictable that a federal law had to be passed protecting them some years ago.

In these circumstances I will agree that there is a selective argument that political rhetoric leads to violence. But I hope you will agree that it is entirely appropriate to selectively focus on the peculiar nature of abortion related rhetoric used by the extreme pro-life movement. NOTE: I am NOT suggesting that this rhetoric be banned. Just that the people engaged in it own up to what they are doing.

Here are a few of Klingenschmitt’s thoughts on the topic, in response to Fladen’s, but you should check out the whole thread on Fladen’s Facebook page:

Klingenschmitt: The leftist rhetoric that blames pro-lifers (who pray for an end of the violence) for causing the violence is illogical. Here’s my statement today.

Fladen:  if you think abortion is not only wrong, not only mass murder, but also mass murder that is not going to be stopped legally for the foreseeable future, why wouldn’t you have an ethical obligation to use extra-legal force to stop it?

Klingenschmitt: Elliot Fladen, the government has an obligation to stop violence, and has authority to use force in defense of life. As private citizens we do not have such authority. Vigilantes are not heroes, they are murderers, because they are not ordained by God through legitimate government. Soldiers and policemen are not murderers when they use force, because they are ordained by God through the government.

Fladen: that sounds an awful lot like a Nuremberg Defense. If abortionists are Nazis backed up by the government in their murdering, wouldn’t your sitting on the sideline be just like those who sat on the sideline in Germany during the Holocaust and did nothing while Jews died?

Klingenschmitt: When the Nazis ceased to be a legitimate government, (right around 1938, I’m guessing), their soldiers no longer had authority to use force. So Christians like Dietrich Bonhoeffer (who tried to blow up Hitler in 1944) were not vigilantes, and neither were our founding fathers, rather they were agents of God trying to remove illegitimate tyrants.

Fladen: Is a country’s willingness to engage in mass murder of millions of its defenseless children a factor for determining whether the government is legitimate in your mind? If so, how big of a factor? Is it a dispositive factor?

Klingenschmitt: Clearly not yet, in my mind, since I’m still running for office and working to change the system from the inside. But here is my training for political activists working from the outside, and notice “violence” is not listed as a solution: