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Columns

  • Did freedom or government come first?

    I recently overheard a conversation that went something like this: “Where does the right to free speech come from?” “The right to free speech,” came the reply, “was given to us by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.”
    Is that accurate? Would our founders have agreed with that formulation? Take a closer look at the language of the First amendment itself: “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech.”

  • Spend now, or spend more later

    When I first started working, some of the best advice I ever got was, “Don’t let the urgent get in the way of the important.” Over the years, that idiom has helped me to step back and think about long-term priorities, immediate needs and how they should be balanced and prioritized.

  • Desperately seeking legitimacy

    If marijuana makes you giggle, it’s easy to have a good laugh at the plethora of dispensaries on seemingly every street corner in certain Denver neighborhoods. Talking with two patients who have benefited greatly from marijuana edibles made me straighten up and take notice.

  • Help in the fight against MS

    It’s often said, “ ‘Tis a pleasure to live in Colorado.” And it is. We have some of the best quality of life of anywhere in the world. But one odd blemish that researchers have yet to fully understand is why we have a higher incidence of multiple sclerosis than most anywhere else.

  • Thoughts on a post-party world

    If you think the political atmosphere has become more complicated lately, you’re right. A recent poll by the Pew Research Center found that fewer Americans are willing to call themselves Republicans or Democrats than ever before, leaving our once-binary system in a state of multilateral flux.

  • GOP can’t bear another sideshow

    I’ve never been much of a believer in governmental conspiracy theories. First of all, I’ve not met many people creative enough to think of them. Second, there are few, if any, people who could actually carry one out. Finally, if it could be crafted and carried out, how in the world would you keep it a secret?

  • Beware the spy in your pocket

    Several months ago, I asked in this column, “At what point will we finally have enough surveillance cameras? It’s hard to go anywhere without being watched by at least one, and often several, closed-circuit eyes in the sky.”
    Well, as it turns out, there’s no longer any need to worry about external technology spying on us. Thanks to the intrepid work of two British techies named Alasdair Allan and Pete Warden, we now know that we’re spying on ourselves.

  • Implications of state budget cuts very real

    Before the legislative session even started, we all knew that developing and passing Colorado’s budget for fiscal 2011-12 would be a terrible ordeal. After years of cutting the budget, there would have to be additional cuts of around $1 billion. In addition, term limits had created a Joint Budget Committee with little previous experience (only three years on the committee among its six members), and split control of the legislature meant the committee would be equally divided between Republicans and Democrats.

  • Challenging math for Jeffco schools

    By Paula Noonan
    Thirty Jefferson County public schools recently received the John Irwin School of Excellence Award or the Governor’s Distinguished Improvement Award for academic achievement and acaddemic growth in 2010. The Colorado Board of Education and governor give the awards to the 8 percent of schools that score highest in each category.
    Other numbers for Jeffco are not so great. The state legislature has finally put together the school finance bill that provides funding for all school districts in Colorado. Funding is on the down side of an arc.

  • Benefit exchange a healthy idea

    Editor’s note: This column was written before Rep. Stephens suggested an amendment to SB200 that Colorado’s health exchange law not take effect unless Colorado requests a waiver from the federal health care act. The suggested amendment is opposed by both Gov. Hickenlooper and Sen. Boyd and makes passage of the bill unlikely.

    It’s good that virtue is its own reward, as that may be all Betty Boyd and Amy Stephens get from sponsoring legislation to establish health benefit exchanges in Colorado.