BY PETER W. WAGNERPUBLISHER OF THE N’WEST IOWA REVIEW, OKOBOJI MAGAZINE, THE SPORTS LEADER A newspaper p...
Couldn’t put Humpty Dumpty together again BY ROBERT WALLACE MEYERAURORA, CO A tip of our hat to Mother Goose,...
BY ROBERT WALLACE MEYER I do not know, but what I do know is that one may not buy even a small supply of surgi...
SUBMITTED BY SAVE RALPHIE CAMPAIGN With the flood of reports over the past year of conflict and disunity on Un...
Coronavirus is in the news as the scourge of the planet. Is the media hyping the virus and potential pandemic...
Ramblin’ around the corral with Bob Sweeney The trail led this past week to Cabo, Mexico fo...
Several decades ago, I visited a good friend who was on his death bed in a local hospice. He asked if I...
BY KATHY TURLEYCENTENNIAL CITY COUNCIL MEMBER Transportation infrastructure is an essential ingredient to the...
Ramblin’ around the corral with Bob Sweeney It was last Friday morning that I was busy using my Apple 11...
BY PETER W. WAGNERPUBLISHER OF THE N’WEST IOWA REVIEW, OKOBOJI MAGAZINE, THE SPORTS LEADER
A newspaper publisher outside Iowa sent me a five-word email last week that read “Nero fiddles as Rome burns!”
“What does that mean?,” I asked.
“You missed an opportunity,” he replied. “You should have written about the caucus fiasco in your column.”
He was right, of course, since the Democrats’ slow reporting of results was unquestionably the biggest news in Iowa and one of the most often reported stories across America.
The problem is I am not that intelligent when it comes to the political process, especially as it applies to the Democratic party.
But I am smart enough to understand the potential negative impact the recent caucus problem can have on Iowa’s political impact and financial future.
The recent Iowa Democratic 2020 caucus meltdown has raised discussion, once again, if Iowa should be the first in the nation to choose who should be the Democratic and Republican presidential nominees.
That change would be a tremendous embarrassment as well as financial loss to our state. Everyone seems to be laughing at Iowa. A full week later, for example, the ABC television comedy The Conners, broadcast live as the New Hampshire primary votes were being counted, featured a joke that the DNC didn’t want the results to come in too fast since “it might influence the final results in Iowa.”
Any financial loss would be enormous. It’s been estimated that Des Moines alone received over $11 million in exceptional revenue from the many campaign teams, candidates and their surrogates and the international press the week before caucus night. The spending on television advertising across the state and dollars spent renting halls across Iowa would add up to millions more.
While most experts say it is too soon to say if the debacle will result in the end of the “first in the nation” caucus in Iowa, most expect it to lead to changes in the 2020 election cycle.
Everyone over the age of 10 knows that Iowa has to defend its right to be first in the nation to choose the potential candidate, but the caucus issue makes it worst. “It has always been an uphill road for Iowa,” says Dennis Goldford, a political science professor at Drake University, “but now that road is a little steeper.”
The current caucus nightmare, an almost two-day delay in the reporting of the 2020 results, came about partly because of new reporting requirements mandated by the Democratic National Committee. The change took place after allies of Senator Bernie Sanders pushed the national party to demand more transparency following his narrow loss to Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Iowa caucuses.
That delay, mostly caused by a glitchy voting app designed by a 2016 former Clinton campaigner, adds new fuel to the argument that Iowa’s early status is more trouble than it’s worth.
«It really does not look great for Iowa,» one commentator said. «The whole world was watching and now the reporting problem has eroded the confidence of voters,» she added.
The smartphone app that caused the significant delay suffered from technical and design flaws as well as appearing to have been rushed into use.
Tech developers, able to look at a version of the app, said it had two flaws: First, reported data wasn’t properly communicated to state headquarters. Second, the app was difficult to use because it required users to first download a separate app often used to test new apps. That proved to be an issue for many caucus chairs.
One thing is certain, says Des Moines Register political reporter David Yepsen: “This fiasco means the end of the (Iowa) caucuses as a significant American political event. The rest of the country was already losing patience with Iowa anyway and this cooks Iowa’s goose. Frankly, it should!”
There are those who question if the reporting issue was an accident or intended. Many political leaders think Iowa is too “white” and “rural” to lead the way. They feel the honor would be more appropriate elsewhere.
And then there is the worry the creator of the app, well known to Hillary Clinton, included a bug to upset the field so she can be the party favorite at a brokered convention.
Rumors aside, the nationally televised debacle was bad for Iowa and a set-back for America’s voters.
BY ROBERT WALLACE MEYERAURORA, CO
A tip of our hat to Mother Goose, as she is spot on with this one. Think of our Department of Justice, including the FBI, Federal Courts, and subordinate venues to include “sanctuary cities,” as poor Humpty Dumpty. He once sat high on a wall, had a big fall, and seemingly nothing can be done to repair him.
And a lofty perch it was, indeed. Our system is rooted in the Magna Carta of 1215, and filtered through centuries of common law to become a place where fairness is valued and a just hearing may be had. Disputes are settled, crimes prosecuted, judgements made, and an appeals process can focus a new set of eyes upon the facts as needed.
However, excessive use of governmental force at Waco and Ruby Ridge caused serious cracks in our dear Humpty. And, sentencing guidelines were revised as we sought to strike a balance between protecting society and fairness to the accused. Capital punishment is all but abolished out of a delicate respect for the sanctity of life, even with the most callous of murderers. But, for some reason this respect does not extend to some of the most innocent among us. I think dear Humpty is quietly weeping over this fact.
Recent rulings reveal horrible misuse of legal powers. (Yes, Humpty, your elected and appointed officials may spy upon you for little reason….or no reason at all.) They may come in the wee hours with assault rifles and vehicles to roust you from your bed, terrorize your family and even shoot your dog if they like. You may even receive sentences that are many times greater than others who have committed far worse crimes. Are we returning to the Dark Ages so far as our laws are concerned? Perhaps. And we were once the envy of the world.
Is there somewhere a White Knight, or several of them, available to patch up our dear Humpty Dumpty and restore him to his lofty perch above the fray? We sincerely hope so, and soon, for once it is lost, our prized system may be gone forever.
BY ROBERT WALLACE MEYER
I do not know, but what I do know is that one may not buy even a small supply of surgical masks in local retail outlets. They are simply not available, and the reason may surprise you.
Chinese folks living among us have bought them all and have shipped most to friends and relatives in China. So, we have bare shelves and the Chinese get protective masks. Something is really wrong with this picture!
Nothing against the Chinese, but what of our own children, the elderly, and others? They also need protection from a deadly disease that may be transmitted from one person to another for two weeks before any symptoms become visible. Early figures show a fifteen per-cent mortality rate and many other patients suffering significant heart damage. This virus is serious.
Clerks and managers at my local King Soopers and Home Depot had no answers to the obvious: Why not ration the available masks so that most customers could have a small supply? Remember gasoline shortages, when we could only purchase ten gallons at a time? Folks could get to work and run errands, but no long trips. Hurricanes and other natural disasters have fostered necessary rationing from time to time. So, why not do it now? Words simply fail me at this point.
Foreign aid is the job of our President and our Congress, not the manager of Home Depot. Are they stupid, or just too lazy to help protect us? With available measures, we may escape what appears to be a major pandemic in the making. My own dear mother never got over the loss of her two infant brothers in the flu epidemic of 1918. Others suffered greater losses. Let us not repeat this sad history for the want of a few simple precautions.
City and State officials have passed a ton of laws and ordinances, some of which make no sense at all. Why not balance that with the rationing of these masks, easy enough to do and it may end up saving some lives. Please call yours today.
SUBMITTED BY SAVE RALPHIE CAMPAIGN
With the flood of reports over the past year of conflict and disunity on University of Colorado campuses, one candidate for the CU governing Board of Regents is stressing the need for unity, and sees its world-famous mascot as a way to bring disparate groups together. Aaron Harber, a candidate for Regent in the 2nd Congressional District, announced a “Save Ralphie!” petition campaign in support of the legendary mascot.
As Ralphie V was being retired after the 2019 football season, PETA and others argued they don’t believe it is appropriate to have the CU mascot race across Folsom Field before home games. (bit.ly/RalphieTV).
Harber steadfastly disagrees. “Ralphie is essential to the spirit and community of CU. There are a number of much bigger, pressing issues facing all four of our campuses and the Regents, but none of them resonates with all 650,000 CU students, faculty, staff, researchers, alumni, and others around the world more than whether to continue letting Ralphie run at CU football games,” he explained. Few universities can claim a mascot with such mystique and brand awareness as CU can. Only Mike the Tiger at LSU and Bevo the Texas Longhorn even come close, in Harber’s opinion.
Harber feels it is so important for school unity and pride to continue the Ralphie tradition that he has launched a separate website dedicated to the uniquely Western bovine. He is encouraging CU fans from around the country and beyond to go to SaveRalphie.com and sign the petition supporting Ralphie. Harber says he will present the names to the University as a sign of support for Ralphie VI.
Harber’s efforts are being supported by former athletes and alumni from across Colorado and the nation including CU great and golf legend Hale Irwin who said, “Ralphie is the lynchpin to a great CU tradition that bringseveryone in the CU family together.”
Former CU football All-American and NFL linebacker Matt Russell stated, “Ralphie is undoubtedly the best and most visible college mascot in the country. She represents and embodies everything the University’s athletic programs promote: Strength, Speed, and Toughness.”
CU Athletic Hall of Fame Inductee and USA Track and Field Olympian Alan Culpepper opined, “It would be a colossal misrepresentation to think the Ralphie program was anything less than a tangible reminder of shared values, commitment to highest level of character, and a common belief that collectively we can do more if we rally together than any of us can do alone.”
Harber unequivocally stated, “As a member of the CU Board of Regents, I will not allow the proud tradition of Ralphie to be erased from Folsom Field as part of my support for the Athletic Department and everyone in the CU family.” Harber’s detailed statement on Athletics at the University of Colorado also can be found on the Save Ralphie Website.
Complete statements from former CU athletes
“Ralphie is undoubtedly the best and most visible college mascot in the country. She represents and embodies everything the University’s athletic programs promote: Strength, Speed, and Toughness, along with the imagery of the Wild West. Thousands of student athletes have run proudly with Ralphie. Fans arrive early just to watch her take her lap. She is a revered and esteemed member of the University and its athletic programs. I hope every Buff fan around the world supports Ralphie by signing our petition.” — Matt Russell, former CU football All-American and Butkus Award winner, and former NFL Detroit Lions linebacker (currently the Director of Player Personnel for the Denver Broncos).
“Ralphie is the lynchpin to a great CU tradition that brings everyone in the CU family together. No other college can produce the excitement of seeing Ralphie run the length of the field — energizing the crowd, the team, and everyone watching the game across the entire country. I hope everyone supports Aaron’s effort to save Ralphie by signing the petition. Go Buffs!” — Hale Irwin, winner of 20 PGA Tour events followed by 45 Champions Tour victories. His string of 86 consecutive tournaments without missing a cut is the fourth best in the PGA Tour history, behind Byron Nelson, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods. First golfer to win over $3 million in one season. At the University of Colorado, he was a two-time All-Big Eight defensive back and played quarterback, as well as being an academic All-American. As a Buff golfer, he was the NCAA champion.
“Irrespective of the exceptional treatment and care that the Ralphie program provides, Ralphie represents much more than a live animal being paraded around for spectator enjoyment. It would be a colossal misrepresentation to think the Ralphie program was anything less than a tangible reminder of shared values, commitment to highest level of character and a common belief that collectively we can do more if we rally together than any of us can do alone.” — Alan Culpepper, CU Athletic Hall of Fame Inductee and a 2000 & 2004 United States Track and Field USA Olympian.
Everyone should know Ralphie is treated with love and respect by her handlers and receives the best possible care. As a former player and long-term Boulder supporter of Buff football, I know the energy that having Ralphie run out before a kickoff creates in the stadium. Ralphie is a true representative of all of CU! Support Ralphie and CU by adding your name to the petition.” — Phil Irwin, former CU Football Team Captain
“There is no greater feeling of exhilaration than leading the CU football team onto Folsom Field behind a charging buffalo in front of cheering fans. Those same fans making sure they already are in their seats in time to see Ralphie. How many students, current and past, formed their desire to attend the University of Colorado the first time they crowded around Ralphie’s pen to get a glimpse of a real buffalo? As a Ralphie Runner and former Coordinator of the Ralphie Runner Program, I know firsthand that every Ralphie was treated with extraordinary care, dignity, and respect. Ralphie is a college tradition second to none. We must make sure she remains as important a symbol of CU Boulder as the Flatirons are of Boulder.” – Kenneth Kramer, CU Alumnus, former “Ralphie Runner,” and Athletic Department Ralphie Runner Program Coordinator.
DISCLAIMER: All statements represent only the endorsements of the individuals cited above in favor of the “Save Ralphie!” campaign. The statements are personal in nature and do not represent the opinions or positions of any of the organizations the endorsers previously represented or currently represent. Any images used by this initiative are under license from the University of Colorado and do not represent its endorsement.
Coronavirus is in the news as the scourge of the planet. Is the media hyping the virus and potential pandemic for clicks and views? Or is the news far worse, suppressed by the Chinese communist regime? Let’s look at both sides.
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses causing illness ranging from the common cold to more severe respiratory diseases including MERS and SARS, according to the World Health Organization. These viruses can be transmitted between animals and people.
Common symptoms include fever, cough, and breathing difficulty. In more severe cases, pneumonia, respiratory distress, and death may occur.
At the time of this writing, February 3, there are about 17,000 confirmed cases, 11 of which are in the US, and 362 “related deaths”. Related is a relative term as someone dying from cancer or a heart attack, who happens to have a cold due to coronavirus in their final days, may or may not be called a “related death”.
For comparison, the CDC reports that this season, the flu has caused 19 million illnesses, 180,000 hospitalizations, and 10,000 deaths.
The common flu appears, at this time, to be a far greater killer than the current coronavirus outbreak. But the flu is boring and much less exciting than a virus outbreak worthy of a movie like Outbreak or The Andromeda Strain.
Is the media hyping this story? Can the media be believed?
Remember the media told us President Trump colluded with the Russians to steal the election from Hillary Clinton, with zero evidence, eventually disproven by Robert Mueller’s report. The media, Democrats, and much of the government deep state establishment told us Trump was a Russian agent.
They also characterized his phone call with the Ukrainian president far differently than the actual transcript and impeached him over it. The government has been telling us for thirty years that global warming will destroy the planet in ten years, oblivious to their previous erroneous predictions.
So why should I be ready to believe the media and the government? Maybe this is more hype than reality.
But on the other hand, could the coronavirus outbreak in China be far worse than we are hearing? Remember we are dealing with a communist government, without a free press and with their own tightly controlled social media.
If you watched the Netflix miniseries Chernobyl, you will understand how the Soviet Union used propaganda to downplay and suppress the real news of their nuclear reactor disaster, controlling what they told the world until reality became too obvious for even the Soviet central committee to control.
How many have really died in China? Why doesn’t China allow the CDC into the country to investigate and assist? Why is it considered racist to take precautions against the virus?
Now add this to the mix. The coronavirus outbreak started in Wuhan, China, home of China’s most advanced virus research laboratory, the type of laboratory creating bioweapons. Coincidence? Is that ground zero for the current outbreak? Accidental or deliberate?
Then there’s the story of a group of Chinese virologists expelled from the Canadian National Microbiology Laboratory last July after several “exceptionally virulent viruses” were improperly sent from this lab to China. Another coincidence?
The bottom line is that we don’t know. But I recommend taking media and government reports about coronavirus with a large grain of salt given their track record with veracity in the past. Read and listen skeptically without swallowing what you hear on television or read in the newspaper. Including from me as I too don’t know the truth around the coronavirus outbreak.
And most importantly, use common sense precautions for avoiding the cold and flu. Regardless the type of cold virus, being sick is no fun.
The trail led this past week to Cabo, Mexico for the annual time-share trek to the Pueblo Bonito Rose’ resort. The once small fishing village of Cabo has blossomed into a major Baja resort area with many resorts built along the Pacific coastline. Fishing is still huge, but tourism is booming.
The exchange rate is 18.60 pesos to one American dollar so that has put quite a strain on the tourist industry and especially the natives in Cabo resorts and restaurants who work for pesos. Prices have adjusted to the new economy and the coastline is bustling with activities around to neighboring San Jose. The timeshare folks are still in packs at the airport offering golf, meals, fishing trips for all who wish to own a week’s time share in sunny Mexico. We bit over 20 years ago and have ventured south for two decades the first week in February.
So, we’ve been there and done that for this year and we’re back on the job this week. Daughter Susan has been running the show and along with Tom, Freda, Scottie, BT, Linda, Valerie, Patrick, Sara, and Shirley.
Historically when we leave town it always snows, and that happened again this year with the snow-storm midweek. That raises challenges for production, but we power through and stay on schedule. The Villager is actually printed in Berthoud in a Denver Post printing facility that they absorbed when they purchased the Longmont, Loveland newspapers. The German press does a spectacular job with the veteran Post printing crew. Our thanks for working through the snowstorms and deadline challenges.
Well, the Chiefs defeated the 49ers with the stellar comeback of Mahomes in the fourth quarter of the game. A ten-point lead vanished along with the dreams of Cherry Creek graduate coach Kyle Shanahan winning his first Super Bowl victory. He’s young and he’s got a fine team. I thought that teamwork might overcome talent, but Mahomes, like John Elway, led the team to victory.
It was a good week for President Trump, and we followed the events on Mexican television including the Iowa caucus and the State of the Union speech by the president. I thought that he presented one of his very best speeches. Nary a glitch in his delivery and he covered a lot of bases. He and Nancy should make up so we can get some work done on our roads and bridges. We’ve had enough bickering and we need to continue with the nation’s work.
Several decades ago, I visited a good friend who was on his death bed in a local hospice. He asked if I was still working hard at the newspaper and I replied “Yes.” His response was how he wished that he could get up from his bed and go back to work. He had been in the restaurant business for decades. He passed away a few days after my last visit with him.
Steve Jobs in his last few days penned a remarkable essay on his life and pending death, and it reminded me of my debarked friend who placed a very high emphasis on hard work and his family.
Here’s what Steve Job said in the face of his premature death:
STEVE JOBS’S LASTING ESSAY:
“I’ve reached the pinnacle of success in the business world. In some others’ eyes my life is the epitome of success. However, aside from work, I have little joy. In the end, my wealth. is only a fact of life that I am accustomed too. At this moment lying on my bed and recalling my life, I realize that all the recognition and wealth that I took so much pride in have paled and become meaningless in the face of my death.”
“You can employ someone to drive the car for you, make money for you, but you cannot have someone bear your sickness for you. Material things lost can be found or replaced. But there is one thing that can never be found when it’s lost. Whichever stage in life you are in right now, with time, you will face the day when the curtain comes down. “
“Treasure love for your family, love for your spouse, love for your friends. Treat yourself well and cherish others. As we grow older and hopefully wiser, we realize that a $300 or a $30 watch both tells the same time. You will realize that your true inner happiness does not come from material things of this world. Whether you fly first class or economy, if the plane goes down, you go down with it.”
“Therefore, I hope you realize, when you have mates, buddies, and old friends, brothers and sisters, who you chat with, laugh with, talk with, have sing songs with, talk about north-south-east-west of heaven and earth, that is true happiness.! Don’t educate your children to be rich. Educate them to be happy. So, when they grow up, they will know the value of things and not the price. Eat your food as your medicine, otherwise you have to eat medicine as your food.”
“The one who loves you will never leave you for another because, even if there are 100 reasons to give up, he or she will find a reason to hold on. There is a big difference between a human being and being human. Only a few really understand it. You are loved when you are born. You will be loved when you die. In between , you have to manage.”
“The six best doctors in the world are sunlight, rest, exercise, diet, self-confidence and friends. Main them in all stages and enjoy a healthy life.”
BY KATHY TURLEYCENTENNIAL CITY COUNCIL MEMBER
Transportation infrastructure is an essential ingredient to the quality of life in our state. We require safe, accessible roads and bridges to drive our kids to school, commute to work, to move products and food to our stores, and to access the recreational amenities that make Colorado one of the best places to live, work and raise a family.
And yet our transportation infrastructure is literally crumbling around us. According to one recent study, 70% of the roads in Colorado are rated “poor or mediocre and over 500 bridges around the state are rated as structurally deficient.” This deteriorating state of our infrastructure is no longer and abstract concept but has become a real kitchen table issue for our residents in Centennial and around the state. According to a 2018 study conducted by TRIP, a national transportation research nonprofit, “the average Colorado motorist will lose $2,306 per year to car repairs and to time lost in traffic congestion.” That is real money impacting the quality of life for all Coloradoans.
As a member of the Centennial City Council, I have heard the frustrations of my fellow residents first hand and our council has begun taking steps to help alleviate the situation. Our city, along with Lone Tree and Greenwood Village have begun collaborating on a pilot project along South Yosemite Street from Lincoln to Belleview Avenues known as Project Mercury to gather data on prevailing traffic patterns to see where improvements can be made.
Together we are assessing the feasibility of an Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) made up of traffic vehicle sensors, signal controllers and a central management system that can track changing traffic patterns in real time and make modifications when needed. Although the project is still in its early stages, we are seeing very positive results that we believe will go a long way toward substantially reducing congestion in our communities.
While it is contingent upon every local government across the state to do their part to improve our road conditions, we must also be committed to a comprehensive statewide solution to solve our infrastructure challenges – not just here in Metro Denver but throughout Colorado.
But in order resolve the gridlock that is clogging our city streets we must first eliminate it from our political discourse that is at the core of our difficulties.
The State of Colorado could learn from the common sense approach of municipalities like Centennial and countless others that have invested in innovative solutions or identified new funding sources to help support transportation improvements at the local level.
Our state has not raised the gas tax since 1991 and we simply do not have the resources to maintain our current transportation system without a new dedicated source of revenue.
Moreover, Colorado’s population is expected to grow by a million people over the next ten years – adding further congestion and wear and tear to our streets and highways. The time to act is NOW.
As the 2020 state legislative session begins in earnest, I am asking my counterparts at the Colorado General Assembly to help solve this problem once and for all. Reasonable solutions like indexing the fuel tax for inflation, road-use fees for electric vehicles, service fees on transportation network companies and delivery services, and registration fee increases are all viable options that could go a long way toward restoring much needed funding for our state’s infrastructure.
The only option that we cannot afford is to let another year go by where we do not make the difficult but necessary decisions that our constituents demand of us. Coloradans simply cannot afford to wait another year.
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