Archive for July, 2013

Good talk radio topic: GOP leader says Colorado Republicans are separated by a wide “chasm”

Monday, July 22nd, 2013

KNUS’ Steve Kelley put some good questions to GOP Rep. Kathleen Conti Friday:

Steve Kelley: What’s the state of affairs of the Republican Party of Colorado?

Kathleen Conti: Well, the Republican Party is—you know, we have just a strong chasm. You know, there’s those on the far right. And there’s those on the not-so-far right. And it seems to me sometimes that our chasm is a little bit wider than those on the Democratic side….

Kelley: Is the Republican Party [as Peter Boyles says] an ugly baby right now in Colorado?

Conti: I certainly hope not….

Conti raises a good question, and Kelley should get into it with her on a future show. Which party in Colorado has a wider chasm?

Conti is the Republicans’ Minority Caucus Chair in the State House, so she knows what she’s talking about. Her party consists of a sharply divided “far right” and “not-so-far right.”  Those in the center and left-leaning are so scant as to be irrelevant.

Democrats, as Conti points out, are different, aren’t they? They’re mostly in the center with a straggler on the not-so-far-left.

The Dems are centrists on immigration (ASSET, driver’s licenses), abortion (pro-choice), renewable energy (efficiency and moderate mandates), gun safety (common-sense background checks), gay rights (civil unions, marriage), sex ed (yes), voter registration (convenience with secure voting), taxation (when necessary), etc., etc., etc. (Here’s a nice visual representation of some of these.)

The Colorado GOP comes down just as Conti said, on the far-right and not-so-far-right, with a wide and vocal chasm running down the middle.

A hatchet might be a better word for what separates the two right wings of the GOP but, like I said, Conti is in leadership, so she knows her caucus. So let it be “chasm.”

In any event, you can’t make much of a list of  issues where the Democrats are on the far left and not-so-far-left. and Republicans are in the middle.

As someone who wants the Dems to move left, I wish you could. But face it, you can’t. It’s a centrist/right party.

And “hatchet” doesn’t come to mind when you think of most of the Democrats’ disagreements.

Kelley (who’s now on KNUS 710 AM from 1 to 4 p.m.) should ask Conti to tell us her thinking on the “chasm” (and the hatchet) in more detail, including an explanation of where she stands on the chasm scale.

Telemundo Denver anchor gets surprise invitation to interview Obama

Friday, July 19th, 2013

Correction on 7-19-2013: Obama told a Telemundo Dallas reporter that he didn’t want to speculate on whether he’d use his executive powers to stop deportations of undocumented immigrants, if Congress doesn’t pass an immigration reform bill. Obama did not say this to Telemundo Denver reporter Maria Rozman, as reported previously here.


In a one-on-one interview with Telemundo Denver anchor Maria Rozman about immigration reform, President Barack Obama re-affirmed his commitment to creating a “path to citizenship” for 11 million undocumented immigrants. Obama told Rozman:

“It does not make sense to me, if we’re going to make this once-in-a-generation effort to finally fix the system, to leave the status of 11 million people so unresolved. And certainly for us to have two classes of people in this country, full citizens and people who are assigned to a lower status, I think that’s not who we are as Americans. That’s never been in our tradition.

Rozman was one of four Hispanic journalists from around the country invited to the White House Tuesday for one-on-one interviews with Obama.

Rozman told me she got the invitation “out of the blue”  via a call on her cell phone on Friday evening.

“I said ‘yes’ immediately,” she told me, “without knowing for sure that it wasn’t a prank. I was looking at the time, because I had to be on-air for my newscast. I said, ‘yes, sure thing, can you send me an email.’”

Rozman was on a plane Monday and spent all day Tuesday in the White House for the five-minute interview, briefings, and tours.

Rozman said that the White House didn’t screen her questions for Obama on the immigration issue.

A bipartisan immigration-reform bill cleared the Senate but House Republicans have said it’s dead on arrival.

Rozman told me that she was on the White House lawn when an armed and shirtless intruder prompted a massive security response.

“Police were everywhere,” Rozman said. “I was just hoping it wasn’t one of those movies.”

See the interview here.

When Republicans downplay the importance of women’s issues, reporters should provide historical perspective

Thursday, July 18th, 2013

On Friday, the Durango Herald ran an article on newly-minted CO Republican Senate candidates, state legislators Owen Hill and Randy Baumgardner.

The Herald reported that Hill has taken strong anti-choice stands in the past. (Opponents say he supported de-funding Planned Parenthood in Colorado.) And Baumgardner “pitched an Arizona-style immigration law for Colorado two years ago when he was in the House.”

The Herald’s Paige Jones reported that Owen Loftus, a spokesman for the Colorado Republican Party, “downplayed the candidates’ proposals on abortion and immigration – both of which quickly failed – and said voters make their decision based on a range of issues.”

“People in Colorado don’t vote on just two issues. They vote on the whole package,” he said.

Maybe they don’t vote on just two issues, but Jones should have asked Loftus how he could possibly downplay the importance of women’s issues, like abortion, and immigration after Loftus’ deflating experience as spokesman for Ken Buck’s failed Senatorial campaign in 2010.

Buck was poised to win his race, you recall, and before the 2010 election, Republicans like Loftus were saying the same thing about itsy-bitsy women’s issues: they don’t matter. And look what happened to Buck.

At the time, as Buck was attacked as an anti-abortion extremist, Buck campaign consultant Walt Klein told The Denver Post:

“If they think they can make Michael Bennet a more appealing incumbent by going on and on about abortion, then fire away. But all the polling data show economy, jobs and unemployment is pushing all the other issues to the bottom of the chart.”

Responding to a news story about a college student who was angry at Buck for telling reporters that the student would be accused of having “buyer’s remorse” if her rape case went to trial, Loftus told The Denver Post: When it comes to women and men, they’re worried about jobs. … That’s what everyone cares about. Voters understand this is a machine set up to smear Ken Buck, and they aren’t buying it.”

As everyone now knows, Loftus was wrong then, he’s wrong again, and reporters should press him on why he continues to say the same lines even though he’s had a two-bit role in the history that proves him wrong. Loftus did not immediately return an email seeking comment.

Three days after 2010 election, Buck himself told The Denver Post:

“My effort was to focus on spending and unemployment, and they wanted to talk about anything but,” Buck said. “It was part of their effort to focus more on their version of Ken Buck rather than the issues that I thought most voters were concerned about. I don’t know that there’s any way to avoid it; I wasn’t going to derail my message to have an election decided on abortion, or any social issue, for that matter.”

The Post’s Michael Booth did readers a favor by following up Buck’s quote with this:

The irony is, of course, that the election may have been decided on precisely those issues, with even Republican analysts saying the Democratic strategy hurt Buck among independent women in Arapahoe and Jefferson counties. The final margin with Bennet was fewer than 20,000 votes, out of 1.5 million cast.

Boyles should find out why Gessler agrees that Hick delayed Dunlap execution because of what would be said at NYC fundraisers

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

Appearing on KNUS’ Peter Boyles show yesterday, Scott Gessler lit into top Colorado Democrats, saying he thinks Senate President John Morse said “stuff like, people who own guns are a mental sickness.”

Gessler also agreed with Boyles, when he said Gov. Hick delayed the killing of murderer Nathan Dunlap because Hick couldn’t have gone to NYC “cocktail parties and fundraisers” because people would have said, “‘That’s the governor that executed the black man.’”

“That’s right,” Gessler responded to Boyles baseless characterization of Hick’s Dunlap decision.

Listen to Scott Gessler on KNUS 710 AM Peter Boyles 7-16-12

I’m sure Boyles, given his former place of honor in Denver journalism circles, would like to know Morse did not say gun owners are a mental sickness.

When the  Independence Institute’s Jon Caldara misquoted Morse on the “mental illness” line, I pointed out that there’s no way you can construe Morse’s  reference to a Martin Luther King speech as an attack on gun owners. ColoradoPols made the same point.

So, Pete, you owe it to decency to correct Gessler on air.

Boyles should also give Gessler air time to clarify why he believes Hick gave Dunlap a reprieve because he was worried about what would be said at New York cocktail parties and fundraisers.

I can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t be interested in hearing more detail on that one.

Boyles said he’d be having Gessler on his show repeatedly, so he’ll have plenty of chances to get into it with Gessler on this.

Here’s the relevant portion of Gessler’s appearance on KNUS’ Peter Boyles’ show July 16. Listen to Scott Gessler on KNUS 710 AM Peter Boyles 7-16-12

Boyles: They are the recall targets simply for their grab on the Second Amendment. Make some of that clear, please, if you would, Scott.

Gessler (@ 5 min 15 sec in linked audio above):  Sure. So John Morse is the president of the State Senate. And I think he said stuff like, people who own guns are a mental sickness.

Boyles: Yep. Yep.

Gessler: Something along those lines. Really rough stuff. And then Angela Giron, she hails from a pretty democratic district in Pueblo. But it’s pretty conservative. And I think people there still value their Second Amendment rights in that life. And so people decided to recall her as well. And so they are very contentious. I think they are the first recalls of Colorado legislators in Colorado’s history. We’ve had lots of recalls for other offices….

Boyles (@ 9 min 45 sec in linked audio above): I don’t believe he could have shown up in New York City—it’s almost like a Tom Wolfe Mau-Mauing the flak catchers. He couldn’t have walked into their cocktail parties and fundraisers and somebody say, ‘That’s the governor that executed the black man.’ He couldn’t have done it.

Gessler:  That’s right.

KOA radio uses McInnis as fire expert

Tuesday, July 16th, 2013

Scott McInnis recently tiptoed into the shark-invested world of Denver journalism, where plagiarists are rooted out and hung up to dry.

In an exclusive interview, McInnis told KOA radio’s Colorado Morning News that our state did the right thing by not purchasing an espensive tanker fleet to fight forest fires. He said Colorado should be concerned about the expense and that various options should be evaluated.

Siding with former-McInnis-enemy The Denver Post as well as Rep. Doug Lamborn on the matter, and butting heads with current gubernatorial candidate Greg Brophy, McInnis had this conversation with KOA co-host Steffan Tubbs @ 3:57 :

TUBBS: You’re clearly still on top of issues that go on here in Colorado… to some people it’s unfathomable that a state with so much vegetation, wooded areas, national forests, –like Colorado, that we don’t have an air fleet based here, in this state. Is that a mistake? And has it been a mistake in the past? And would you say you support – no matter where the money comes from, get the money and put a fleet of aircraft here that can quickly respond to the wildfire?

MCINNIS: No, I don’t think it’s a mistake. I mean, it’s easy to talk about putting an air fleet together, and you know, when you have a big fire and people want to a fire station on every corner. I mean, the reality of it is is that It’s very, very expensive and you’ve got a lot of political questions that need to be asked. For example, if we’ve got a fire going in Colorado Springs and we’ve got a fire going in Glenwood Springs, where do you send the fleet? And how many airplanes do you have? And what if our neighbor right next door, Wyoming – if we’ve got a plane up there in Wyoming, would a governor dare send a plane to Wyoming to assist our neighbors, even though we didn’t have a fire in Colorado, and all of a sudden a fire breaks out in Colorado and our aircraft are somewhere off –. I mean,there’s a lot of implications in this. And it’s not just a budget item, it is a huge budget item. Aircraft – I mean, you have to be working those aircraft all the time, and that’s why so many – the Federal government, that’s why a lot of those aircraft are so dated and so on, is because it’s very expensive to keep that up to speed. So, I know right now at the height of this fire and this horrible disaster we’ve suffered, the temptation is to buy more fire trucks, buy more air fleets, make all kinds of commitments. But we need to let it calm down, give it a few weeks, and then really ask the questions, “Okay, we have the airplanes. Now how do we decide who gets them? And how do we decide how many we get? And how do we decide what we do with the people – you know, those planes, they probably fly – I don’t know, what? — fifteen days a year, maybe thirty days a year. What do we do with the other eleven months of the year? I mean there’s a lot of questions.

Listen to Scott McInnis on KOA CO Morning News 7.3.13

McInnis also said on KOA that the reason for the “intense fires” is “we don’t harvest wood like we used to harvest it.”

He added,”They should have thought about this [fires] when we were so tough on the lumber companies that went up there.”

“Musings on wood,” was the response of @Copeakpolitics when I tweeted McInnis’ remarks last week.


KOA’s Rosen fails to challenge Stapleton’s statement that Social Security won’t be there for “most of us”

Monday, July 15th, 2013

You might think that Mike Rosen would be super-sensitive to over-confident “money” men with fancy titles, since Rosen lost big money in the Bernie Madoff Ponzie scheme.

But KOA’s Rosen showed no skepticism Thursday when State Treasurer Walker Stapleton told him:

Stapleton: “Most of us have no anticipation of actually getting Social Security.”

Rosen didn’t challenge, much less debate Stapleton, on his prediction that Social Security won’t be there for most people.  Not that you’d expect Rosen to disagree with Stapleton, but still, why not have a rational debate about it?

Social Security is one of the best programs ever devised by our government.. It’s been slightly modified over its 75 years or so of existence, as you’d expect for any long-lasting operation, public or private, and it continues to be a lifeline for seniors.

It’s on solid ground for about 20 more years, even without further tweaks. With minor changes, it will last indefinitely.

For example, simply taxing benefits on wages above $110,000, which are currently not taxed at all, would eliminate about 75% of Social Security’s projected long-term shortfall.

Rosen probably won’t rely on Social Security during his own retirement, despite his Madoff losses. But that doesn’t mean he should let Colorado’s Treasurer scare people of lesser means who are depending on their Social Security check being there for them.


Singleton and Boyles love fest

Friday, July 12th, 2013

If I’m Post Publisher Dean Singleton, it’s hard to bear hug Peter Boyles.

Since Boyles began his downward spiral with the paranoid right, he’s done more than his share to mindlessly trash The Denver Post and journalism as a profession.

It’s not as bad as his attacks on Muslims and illegal immigrants, because, unlike those people,  journalism exists to be attacked. But still.

But this didn’t stop Singleton from slobbering all over Boyles (and vice versa) on Boyles new KNUS show this morning.

Boyles introduced Singleton as “one of my favorite people in the world.”

To which Singleton said how much he missed Boyles on the air and joked that he had “no one to beat me up.” (Is there a union exec out there?)

Boyles told listeners that when he got fired, Singleton “was there and made sure I was ok.”

“Hey, I treasure your friendship,” Singleton responded. “You get me up every morning, and you know, you can’t have a carnival without a carnival barker.”

But I don’t want a carnival on the radio! Do you?

“We love our carnival barker,” Singleton told Boyles.


“You know what?” Boyles said with at least a handful of people listening to KNUS at 6:30 a.m. “I miss seeing you. Are you in town for a while?”

“I’m back,” Singleton replied. “This is the first time I’ve heard you on 710. We’ve had a lot of fun times together, and done a lot of fun things, and I wanted to welcome you back to the air, me and Colorado missed ya.”

Not the Muslims or the undocumented immigrants or, I would venture to say, most of the rational-minded journalists at The Denver Post. They didn’t miss him.

Still, we can agree that almost any local radio show is better than no local show. And even if Boyles is bad in many ways, he’s not all bad.

I’m just hoping Boyles stops himself from going to the deep end, and tearing down vulnerable people and institutions, as frequently as he did at his last job.

Listen to Dean Singleton on KNUS 710 AM’s Peter Boyles Show 7-12-13

Gardner says he wants to use debt ceiling to slash government, but he isn’t asked about impact on U.S. economy

Thursday, July 11th, 2013

You may recall that when House Republicans blocked the extension of the U.S. debt ceiling a couple years ago, the stock market went into cardiac arrest and America’s credit rating was downgraded.

So are you shocked that Rep. Cory Gardner is on the radio talking about doing it again?

Maybe you’re not shocked, but, still, if you presided over a talk-radio show, your brain might tell you to ask a follow-up question when Gardner says he wants to leverage the debt-ceiling extension to push his anti-government agenda.

Gardner told KFTM’s John Waters Monday that he sees the upcoming extension of the debt ceiling as an “opportunity to reduce the size and scope of government, and how we can require opportunities to look for savings, look for cuts, and what we’re going to do to grow the economy through common sense tax reform.  I think there’s great opportunities for us to get back on track.” (Listen here.)

Gardner is obviously free to push his anti-government agenda in Congress, as well has his anti-abortion one, but why not ask him why he doesn’t use the budget process for this? That’s where debate about these issues is supposed to take place.

Democrats and Republicans have extended the debt ceiling over 100 times since 1940, with little opposition (until 2011). Reagan did it 18 times; G.W. Bush seven.

Do we really want to risk another credit downgrade, as well as a stock market collapse, to debate budget issues that are properly addressed elsewhere?

It’s a question that Waters should have put to Gardner.

The hypocrisy question lingers regarding Coffman’s pension

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013

Does Rep. Mike Coffman see hypocrisy in drawing an annual $55,547 pension from the state of Colorado after suggesting in the past that Colorado should consider suspending pensions for people (editor’s note: like him) who start a new job [in Congress making $174,000] after retiring from state employment?

In her article today detailing some of this, The Denver Post’s Allison Sherry provided this response from Coffman, which deserves a follow-up:

Coffman said Monday through an e-mail that public pensions “at the state and local level, all across our country, are in desperate need of reform.”

He added that “the best pension reform for members of Congress is simply to abolish it.”

One wonders if Coffman sent the wrong email to Sherry. Perhaps he was answering a question from another reporter on a completely different topic?

Given that The Post headline on Sherry’s story reads, “Pension critic Rep. Mike Coffman already gets PERA money,” she should ask him directly, “What’s up with saying one thing and, when your own bank account is involved, doing another?” If he refuses to answer, we’d like to know.

The National Journal’s Shane Goldmacher got more out of Coffman during an interview last month, reporting that Coffman “stumbles in defending his decision to draw both a paycheck and a state pension.”

Coffman: “I fought for reform when I was in state, and I’m fighting to reform the system now,” he says. “At states, they ought to end the defined-benefit portion programs.… I’m certainly a beneficiary of it, but at the state level that’s unsustainable, too, and that’s going to have to change….”

“The part that I oppose is having a defined-benefit retirement plan for members of Congress—and have argued against a defined-benefit program when I was at the state level,” he tells National Journal.

But isn’t he taking part in a defined-benefit program?

“I am,” he replies. “I am.”

Still, though, the question lingers. Does Coffman see any hypocrisy in his own actions? And the kicker: If so, what does he think he should do about it?

A sickness on Channel 12

Monday, July 8th, 2013

Jon Caldara, who heads up the libertarian Independence Institute, carries a smirk on his face a lot of the time. So you’re not sure what to believe when he talks.

Such was the case, on his Channel 12 show, Devil’s Advocate (at 5:45), last month. when he made this comment about Colorado Sen. President John Morse:

Caldara: “And during this [gun debate], he [Morse] went on a tantrum and started saying, we gun owners have a sickness in our soul, we have a sickness in our soul. It was personal.”

A regular old sickness is enough. But in your soul. That’s bad.

But what Morse actually said at the Legislature was:

Morse: “Robert F. Kennedy said after Martin Luther King’s assassination that violence breeds violence. Repression breeds retaliation. And only a cleansing of our whole society can remove this sickness from our souls.”

Does anyone besides Caldara think Morse was saying that gun owners have a sickness in their souls?

Morse, and Kennedy, were obviously referring to removing the sickness of violence from society.

If there’s any sickness here, you can find it in Caldara. The ailment is called “RecklessFactLessOsis.” It’s common among talk-show hosts, and it spreads ideologically. The best medicine is to read more and talk less.

I’ll update this blog post when Caldara responds to my request for a comment/clarification about his twistiness.

He should make an on-air correction.