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Opinion

  • Even now, as the memories of the Democratic National Convention are starting to fade, the crowds and cameras have left, and the speeches turned into expired sound bites — I’ve come to understand that history is served best when it is not regurgitated back as a spectator sport.

  • As chief of the Colorado State Patrol and a motorcycle rider for the past 14 years, I know there is nothing like the freedom and exhilaration of riding a motorcycle in our beautiful state. But with that freedom come responsibility and certainly some danger. Every year for the past nine years, the number of motorcyclists killed on our nation’s highways has increased. And sadly, motorcycle fatalities in Colorado are on the rise — from 45 fatalities in 1995, doubling to 90 deaths in 2007. The majority of last year’s deaths occurred between May and October.

  • Hannah Hayes

  • Be careful what you wish for! For as long as I can remember, Coloradans of all political persuasions have lamented the fact that we weren’t players in presidential politics. We weren’t players in the nominating process because of our timing and relatively few delegates. We weren’t players in general elections because we were such a lock for the Republican nominee. A Democrat hasn’t had the majority of presidential votes in Colorado since I started voting.

  • With primary season ending and the general election ramping up, we’re once again being inundated with political advertisements on television and radio. These ads have a predictable style and rhythm, depending on their source and whether they are for or against a candidate.

    The most common type is the positive ad from the candidate — well-lit, focused and upbeat. Mountains are often visible in the background. There may be some general discussion about issues, but it’s usually vague.

  • The New York Times recently ran an interesting front-page article about Diane McLeod, a Philadelphia woman who is struggling to dig herself out from under a mountain of consumer debt. Her plight is hardly unique. According to the Times, the average household carries credit card debt of $8,565, which is 15 percent higher than in 2000.

    Other statistics are equally sobering. The Times reports that “household debt, including mortgages and credit cards, represents 19 percent of household assets, according to the Fed, compared with 13 percent in 1980.”

  • Hannah Hayes

    I work in a presumably green industry. A few months ago there was a giant 45,000-person national trade show all set up for recycling. It’s far too easy to still recall the image of the huge mountains of trash in and around the carefully labeled bins. Recently I started getting “natural” electronic signatures that claim the way to go green is to think twice about printing out an e-mail. Really? Could it be that easy?

  • The Russians are coming

    Editor:

    I wonder if anyone “in charge” in Jeffco has realized that we’ve been invaded by Russians?

    I’m not speaking of people, of course, but of trees — Russian olive trees, to be exact.

    You can get a pretty good look at them driving down Coal Mine, in the valley basin between Pierce and Wadsworth. They’re the trees with leaves that look dusty-green, or gray-green, lighter than the leaves of other trees. They are frequently thorny, and sport little yellow flowers in the spring.

  • Hannah Hayes

    When it comes to reducing greenhouse gas carbon emissions, a personal contribution can be daunting, especially when it involves lifestyle changes as deeply rooted as what we eat. Food is integral to who we are, but it turns out that those who make a relatively small dietary shift benefit our planet’s ecology.

  • I needed caffeine. I woke up feeling like my brain was in an unclean fish tank and a hundred miles away. A shower didn’t help rejuvenate my senses, and I stumbled around trying to find a shirt not wrinkled like a dead elephant’s carcass. There were none. This wasn’t all that unusual. Iron in hand, I cleared a space on my countertop and melted a hole in a $40 shirt. I looked at the bottom of the iron and then to the clock above the stove — I was running late for a meeting.

  • I remember Michael McConnell, my constitutional law professor at the University of Chicago, opening a textbook with a picture of the members of the Supreme Court on the inside cover. “What’s wrong with this?” he asked.

    At first blush, it makes sense that a book on the Constitution would have a picture of the highest judges in the land. But to McConnell, the photo represented a fundamental misunderstanding about the constitution: namely, only courts have the ability to read and interpret our greatest law.

  • Hannah Hayes

    As spin doctors continue to weigh in on Michelle Obama’s comment, it must be obvious that even she would wish to restructure her proud-to-be-an-American sentence for more clear communication. In context, it seems that Michelle Obama was referring to the level of participation this year’s candidates have been able to bring to the primary process. It didn’t quite match the turnout in 1972, but came close. Can Michelle Obama be right that “hope is finally making a comeback”?

  • Last Tuesday I dutifully reported to the Jefferson County Taj Mahal to serve as a juror. As it turned out, after a video and some introductory remarks, I was among the group of people who wouldn’t be needed that day. So I, juror No. 1259, left the building having fulfilled my duty for the time being.

    As Milton said, they also serve who only stand and wait.

  • Hannah Hayes

  • Black shoe polish, a lighter, nylons, spit or faucet water, a freezer, cotton balls, wax. I was running late, so I just grabbed two clean socks and wrapped them around a worn can of Kiwi and a half-empty lighter. I placed them all in my jacket pocket. I could feel the soft lump pressing against my side as I drove to my parents’ house.

    He would soon be graduating and going off to college. I was 14 years old when my parents brought him home from the hospital as a baby. He is now the same age I was when I first entered basic training.

  • The 2008 legislative session is in the books, so it’s time to take a look at a few key policy areas and grade our work.

    On education, the legislature gets a B+. 2008 was a banner year for education reformers, led by a coalition of Republicans and inner-city Democrats. This combination of reform-minded legislators proved to be the catalyst for several key bills putting the interests of kids ahead of special interests.

  • I don’t know what time it is — but it’s late. My bloodshot eyes stare angry holes into the darkness. I want to sleep, but I can’t. Every 15 minutes a loud diesel truck pulls up in front of my apartment complex, and then quickly drives away. This happens again and again. The rumble of the heavy diesel engine smacks away at my skull like a holy ruler on blaspheming knuckles. It’s relentless.

  • Hannah Hayes

    The English imperial system of measurement remains in use among three countries — Liberia, Myanmar and the United States. It would be to our benefit if we jumped over to the clearly superior and simpler-to-use metric system.

    Since the 1960s, the International System of Units, which is based on the metric system, has been the internationally recognized standard for commercial and scientific purposes.

  • In less than three weeks, the 2008 legislative session will officially draw to a close. On all but a few key issues, its not too early to look back on the legislatures work and analyze what has been done good and bad.

  • Hannah Hayes

    In Colorado there has been a fierce and sustained effort by the military to expand Fort Carson. Massive expansion through one of the military’s boldest land grabs would wipe out dinosaur prints, primitive cliff drawings, countless wildlife, local ranches and several small towns. The southeastern corner of our state must not be allowed to fall victim to the Army’s insatiable need to train in ever-wider landscapes.