Today: how Wyoming got it right, CBMS nightmare rolls on, Colorado's education paradox, and the Pueblo Chieftain on Joe Stengel's laughable obstructionism. Plus: Bush's 'impish fun,' and under one-party hegemony, qui bono? And more on the FBI helping Saudi nationals flee the US after 9/11. NOTE: some news sites require free registration in order to read their stories.
COLORADO NEWS BUDGET AND TABOR GOP Governors Fight Tax Limits (3/27/05) Midway through his second term, Owens is working to persuade Coloradans to suspend the limits he championed and let the state government spend $3 billion more in tax money than TABOR would allow. Figuring out the budget plan When we last left our lawmakers, they were zipping a plan to balance the state budget to the November ballot. Gov. Bill Owens and about two-thirds of legislators were on board. Wyoming enjoying budget surplus (3/26/05) Budget crunch? Program cuts? Not in Wyoming, where record surpluses prompted an unprecedented spending spree by lawmakers the past two sessions. Shortfall expected by city yet again Denver's budget shortfall could be $35 million or more next year, marking the fourth consecutive year the city will have to scramble to fill a significant hole. GOOD GOVERNMENT/ETHICS State's delegates consider next step As the first three months of the 109th Congress nears its end, Colorado's two U.S. senators and seven House members are juggling legislative work with questions about their long-term career plans. Salazar to visit Steamboat Among the topics slated for discussion are Social Security and Salazar's recent legislative efforts to secure federal funds for state transportation needs, according to a statement issued by Salazar's Washington office. McInnis serious about run for governor (3/27/05) Glenwood Springs native and former congressman Scott McInnis is giving serious thought to making a bid to become Colorado's next governor. Utes' influence in politics rising (3/27/05) Today, as the Utes' power and influence continue to expand, the tribes must decide how big a role they want to play in shaping 21st century Colorado. Dems talk party at dinner (3/27/05) About 100 people attended the dinner, which featured state Rep. and Colorado Speaker of the House Andrew Romanoff, Colorado Democratic Party Chairwoman Pat Waak and other guest speakers. HEALTH CARE/PUBLIC SAFETY House to vote on DeGette's stem cell bill Congressional leaders have agreed to schedule a vote on whether to expand stem cell research funding, which could put U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette at the center of an emotional debate later this spring. Audit of benefits system slapped (3/26/05) Lawyers suing the state on behalf of welfare recipients faxed an "open letter" to Gov. Bill Owens Friday questioning his objectivity in hiring a blue-chip accounting firm to review the problem-plagued Colorado Benefits Management System. State lawmakers to decide whether to exclude misdemeanor sex offenders (3/27/05) The Senate changed the bill (House Bill 1035) by excluding those convicted of misdemeanors. Sen. Norma Anderson, R-Lakewood, argued that society would be better served if those offenders can be rehabilitated and seek jobs without fear of being harassed or discriminated against for their crimes. RELATED: Lawmakers bargain on sex-offender bill Sharp rise in child abuse reported Boulder County Social Services posted an unprecedented 37 percent increase in the number of reported sexual assaults on children in 2004. Owens gets cattle record secrecy bill (3/26/05) A measure that would allow state officials to withhold from the public some records about investigations into livestock disease outbreaks is awaiting Gov. Bill Owens' signature, the last step before it becomes law. Attorney asks for dismissal of medical marijuana case (3/27/05) Judge James Boyd heard arguments last week for the dismissal of a medical marijuana case in which defendant Jennifer Ryan's attorney Kris Hammond maintained that the evidence - 131 marijuana plants - were willfully destroyed by members of the Two Rivers Drug Enforcement Team in violation of the Colorado Constitution. CSU, CU activists seek pot o'plenty (3/26/05) Students at two Colorado college campuses rocked by alcohol-related deaths last year are pressing school officials to lighten up on marijuana users. RELATED: Students want pot penalties reduced CIVIL LIBERTIES/CRIME & PENAL REFORM Rosenthal headed to Denver (3/26/05) Richard Rosenthal has agreed to become Denver's first independent police monitor, Mayor John Hickenlooper announced Friday. High court will rule on Auman (3/26/05) The Colorado Supreme Court will announce its long-awaited decision Monday on whether Lisl Auman should continue serving life in prison for a murder someone else committed. RELATED: High court to rule in cop killer's case JOBS AND ECONOMY Where does your $2 for gas end up? (3/27/05) Certainly the suppliers of crude oil benefit, but the biggest recipient of new money is most likely the refiners that draw crude oil into their refineries and pump out clear gasoline, said Jacob Bournazian, an economist with the Energy Information Administration of the U.S. Department of Energy. EDUCATION High education levels a paradox But Colorado remains a land of paradoxes when it comes to education, U.S. Census figures show. While high-tech jobs, spectacular scenery and a relaxed lifestyle lure well-educated people to the state, Colorado has a relatively large number of adults without a high school diploma. Conference on World Affairs coming week of April 4-8 (3/27/05) The 57th Conference on World Affairs will draw people to Boulder from all over the world for lively discussion and mind-stretching debate. Feds award Colorado $4.3 million in college prep funds (3/26/05) The U.S. Department of Education is sending $4.3 million to Colorado colleges and universities to help disadvantaged students prepare for college, U.S. Rep. John Salazar's office announced Friday afternoon. CMC wins funding for needy students U.S. Rep. John Salazar, D-Manassa, has announced that CMC will receive $267,478 for its Student Support Services Program, which its three residential campuses - at Spring Valley above Glenwood Springs, Leadville and Steamboat Springs - offer. Churchill: I won't cooperate (3/26/05) He made that declaration at the tail end of a bitter indictment of interim Chancellor Phil DiStefano's allegation Thursday that Churchill might have misrepresented his ethnic status to buttress the credibility of his work. RELATED: Panel thrust into spotlight RELATED: Vacancies pepper review panel RELATED: Bias seen in next Churchill inquiry (3/27/05) Denver school arrests on rise The number of students arrested at Denver high schools jumped 16 percent in the past three years. GUNS/MILITARY NORAD at turning point in mission Canada wants to opt out of NORADâ€™s Star Wars mission, which could foreshadow changes in the way the United States fights the war against terrorism. AFA memo stirs ire (3/26/05) The acting secretary of the Air Force has recommended not disciplining military officials who a recent report said were responsible for the sexual assault scandal at the Air Force Academy. RELATED: Exoneration of AFA leaders defended (3/27/05) RELATED: Allard condemns memo (3/27/05) RELATED: Senator blasts secretary's scandal memo (3/27/05) TRANSPORTATION Flynn: T-REX light rail won't run to Five Points When the T-REX light-rail line opens in December 2006, don't look for a train going up through Five Points. ENVIRONMENT Legislator toughens oil and gas proposal (3/26/05) Rep. Kathleen Curry, D-Gunnison, is expanding the scope of her bill on oil and gas regulation just as legislators prepare to vote on it. Department of Natural Resources enjoys fruits of successful week at Legislature (3/26/05) Four of the department's top legislative priorities, including highly controversial increases in hunting and fishing fees, restrictions on recreational water rights, as well as creating a process for negotiating inter-basin water compacts, advanced a step closer to the governor's office. Flat Tops logging proposal passes The U.S. Forest Service has decided to go ahead with a Flat Tops logging plan that generated little concern among environmentalists. The work will take place near the popular Meadow Creek Lake area about 15 miles north of New Castle. Uranium back in vogue (3/27/05) The rough and rocky terrain of southwest Colorado is once again luring miners with its promise of yellow wealth â€” not gold but uranium. Forecasts suggest active fire season (3/26/05) But Colorado has been receiving moisture, and the next few weeks look as if they will be wet, too, she said. Meeting on EnCana's Meeker Pipeline set for Thursday (3/27/05) The pipeline would start at EnCana's existing Logan Wash facility near DeBeque and follow existing utility corridors for 93 miles to Uintah County, Utah. It would vary from 12 to 36 inches in diameter. Wolf Creek developers push ahead (3/26/05) Developers of a controversial resort village atop Wolf Creek Pass confirmed Friday that they plan to begin work at the site this summer. Service OKs Snowmass expansion (3/27/05) Some environmentalist activists had opposed the plan because they believe it could negatively impact Canada lynx, elk migration and other wildlife populations. OPINION What we owe our soldiers The Army and Army National Guard are struggling to meet their recruiting goals at a time when demands on the nation's military are intense. Hail to true patriots Assuming that the PATRIOT Act has prevented terrorism, it does not follow that every one of its 57,000-words is beyond reproach. But that's the defective syllogism being fed to citizens. At least Joe Stengel laughs at himself Even the governor had a thing or two to say about Stengel and other Republicans who oppose the compromise, saying they all supported more expensive plans last year. He told a Denver reporter that "when the next volume of 'Profiles in Courage' is written, there won't be a chapter about Joe Stengel." High gas prices should drive change Taking a bold stand against high gas prices sounds like a strange tack for a community newspaper in western Colorado to take, even in mineral-rich Garfield County. Voter reform plans have merit (3/27/05) Coloradans voted in record numbers last November despite worries about new voting rules, unreliable machines and other potential election flaws. Scholar or fraud? (3/27/05) Set aside the debate about whether Churchill had a right to express viewpoints widely regarded as appalling; of course he did. The question is whether he violated the standards of intellectual honesty and integrity required of any scholar. Churchill's future as a professor of ethnic studies at CU will hinge on the answers, which will be determined not by screaming voices in the public square but by a reputable panel of his fellow professors. The panel will look into several areas of alleged "research misconduct," and will investigate whether Churchill made false claims about his "Indian identity" to advance his academic career. Others hurt by benefits glitch (3/26/05) Colorado's disadvantaged aren't the only people who've been hurt by the state's troubled new welfare benefits computer system. Public servants - mostly county workers - also have been caught in the crossfire. Emotions inflame toll road bill (3/27/05) Last week marked the deadline for House bills to be heard in the Senate. One bill heard was HB-1030. It had attracted little attention in the House, passing on a vote of 62-3. But as word of the bill spread, a huge uproar of dissent hit the Capitol. NATIONAL NEWS GOOD GOVERNMENT/ETHICS President Bush's New Public Face: Confident and 'Impishly Fun' At an event in Denver last Monday, he mused that sending out quarterly statements for the individual investment accounts he wants to add to Social Security could encourage people to pay more attention to government but then chuckled that investors might conclude from tepid returns that "maybe we ought to change presidents or something." With Bush Safely Re-elected, Rove Turns Intensity to Policy As Mr. Bush pushes doggedly ahead with his battle to add investment accounts to Social Security, he is betting heavily on Mr. Rove's well-chronicled political skills to build public support, hold Republicans together and overcome intense Democratic opposition. A New Deal President Bush and his Texas comrades have succeeded in doing what no one else could in 120 years of civil service. Movement in the Pews Tries to Jolt Ohio (3/27/05) Christian conservative leaders from scores of Ohio's fastest growing churches are mounting a campaign to win control of local government posts and Republican organizations, starting with the 2006 governor's race. GOP acts like Dems of old (3/27/05) Ten years after their historic capture of the House of Representatives, Republican congressional leaders increasingly maintain control with the same hardball tactics they once denounced when Democrats ruled the chamber. JOBS/ECONOMY Buckle Up for the Dollar's Ride (3/27/05) Since the start of March, Bridgewater Associates, a manager of more than $100 billion of institutional and hedge fund money in Westport, Conn., has been issuing warnings in its daily reports. One on March 11, titled "The Breakdown of the Dollar System," said, "As we often say, we've seen this movie many times and we know the ending." Business Sees Gain In GOP Takeover (3/27/05) Fortune 500 companies that invested millions of dollars in electing Republicans are emerging as the earliest beneficiaries of a government controlled by President Bush and the largest GOP House and Senate majority in a half century. Some Creditors Make Illegal Demands on Active-Duty Soldiers Though statistics are scarce, court records and interviews with military and civilian lawyers suggest that Americans heading off to war are sometimes facing distracting and demoralizing demands from financial companies trying to collect on obligations that, by law, they cannot enforce. A Supreme Court Showdown for File Sharing Tomorrow, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in a case in which the recording and film industries seek to hold makers of file-sharing software liable for the illegal copying and distribution of copyrighted material online. IRS May Consider EBay Sales Taxable Income More than 135 million people have registered to use the auction site that calls itself "the world's online marketplace." Buyers bought more than $34 billion worth of merchandise there last year. HEALTH CARE/PUBLIC SAFETY Pharmacists' Rights at Front Of New Debate Some pharmacists across the country are refusing to fill prescriptions for birth control and morning-after pills, saying that dispensing the medications violates their personal moral or religious beliefs. Congress Ready to Again Debate End-of-Life Issues After a string of fruitless legal and legislative efforts, the central question in the Terri Schiavo case - Who makes end-of-life decisions when the patient's wishes are disputed? - is headed back to Capitol Hill, where debate over broader legislation has already begun. RELATED: Schiavo Family Urges Protesters to Stay Calm RELATED: 'Culture of Life' Issues Split GOP RELATED: Bush's Back-and-Forth Reflects Rift in Party (3/27/05) RELATED: DeLay's Own Tragic Crossroads (3/27/05) CIVIL LIBERTIES/CRIME & PENAL REFORM U.S. Is Examining a Plan to Bolster the Rights of Detainees (3/27/05) The proposed changes, many of which are detailed in a 232-page draft manual for the tribunals that has been circulating among Pentagon lawyers, come after widespread criticism from the federal courts, foreign governments and human rights groups. RELATED: Panel Ignored Evidence on Detainee (3/27/05) RELATED: Lawyers cast light inside â€˜Gitmo' (3/27/05) Texas Accuses Bush of Trampling Its Autonomy in Death Penalty Case The dispute will be aired today at oral arguments in the Supreme Court in a case that may test just how far the justices are prepared to push their recent interest in using international law as a source of authority for interpreting the U.S. Constitution and U.S. statutes. With Watch List, Pilot's Career Is Stalled For now the questions outnumber the answers, leaving Mr. Merida in what his lawyer calls a Kafkaesque limbo, unable to find out what exactly he is suspected of and unable to clear himself. EDUCATION Black, Asian women with degrees earn more A white woman with a bachelor's degree typically earned nearly $37,800 in 2003, compared with nearly $43,700 for a college-educated Asian woman and $41,100 for a college-educated black woman, according to data being released Monday by the Census Bureau. Hispanic women took home slightly less at $37,600 a year. FOREIGN POLICY Bush: U.S. to Sell F-16s to Pakistan (3/27/05) President Bush rewarded a key ally in the war on terrorism Friday by authorizing the sale of F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan, a move that reversed 15 years of policy begun under his father and that India warned would destabilize the volatile region. RELATED: Illegal Nuclear Deals Alleged (3/26/05) Jakarta Tenure Offers Glimpse of Wolfowitz At the height of President Suharto's autocratic rule, then-U.S. Ambassador Paul D. Wolfowitz publicly offered advice in 1989 that could have landed domestic critics in prison, pointedly telling the dictator that his record of rapid economic growth was not enough. Jittery Lebanese re-arm amid spree of bombings The bright new Lebanon heralded by the much-vaunted Cedar Revolution is starting to feel ominously like the bad old Lebanon of the bitter past. Counterterrorism Policies In Conflict, Report Says At issue is Bush's relationship to the new director of national intelligence (DNI), who is to be the president's chief adviser on intelligence, and the director of the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), the organization established to integrate and analyze all counterterrorism intelligence and do strategic planning for counterterrorism operations. RELATED: U.S. Spy Efforts Face a New Round of Criticism Past Arguments Don't Square With Current Iran Policy (3/27/05) Vice President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and outgoing Deputy Secretary Paul Wolfowitz all have argued that Iran's nuclear program must be a cover for bomb-making, a position that contradicts the position they took as national security officials during the Ford administration. Iraqi Guards Open Fire on Other Guards Protesting Guards opened fire Sunday on a crowd of protesting government employees outside a ministry office here, killing one and wounding three, as the top American commander in the Middle East warned that delays in forming a government in Iraq could contribute to a rise in violence. New Details on F.B.I. Aid for Saudis After 9/11 (3/27/05) The episode has been retold so many times in the last three and a half years that it has become the stuff of political legend: in the frenzied days after Sept. 11, 2001, when some flights were still grounded, dozens of well-connected Saudis, including relatives of Osama bin Laden, managed to leave the United States on specially chartered flights. Rice Describes Plans To Spread Democracy (3/26/05) Rice, in an interview with Washington Post editors and reporters, said she was guided less by a fear that Islamic extremists would replace authoritarian governments than by a "strong certainty that the Middle East was not going to stay stable anyway." Extremism, she said, is rooted in the "absence of other channels for political activity," and so "when you know that the status quo is no longer defensible, then you have to be willing to move in another direction." GLBT ISSUES Log Cabins Go Against the GOP Grain (3/27/05) The Log Cabin Republicans are looking less and less Republican. GUNS/MILITARY An Army Program to Build a High-Tech Force Hits Cost Snags The Army's plan to transform itself into a futuristic high-technology force has become so expensive that some of the military's strongest supporters in Congress are questioning the program's costs and complexity. For Army Recruiters, a Hard Toll From a Hard Sell (3/27/05) The Army's recruiters are being challenged with one of the hardest selling jobs the military has asked of them in American history, and many say the demands are taking a toll. MEDIA Under New Chief, F.C.C. Considers Widening Its Reach The television and radio industries are about to come under renewed attack over sex, violence and profanity in their programming, both in Congress and at the Federal Communications Commission. A Star Reporter Fights Subpoena, and Criticism (3/27/05) Some applaud Judith Miller for protecting her sources, but question what they call her uncritical coverage of Iraq weapons programs. ENVIRONMENT Plan for nuclear waste dump in Nevada close to meltdown (3/27/05) As problems mount with the government's plan to open a national nuclear waste dump in Nevada, lawmakers and industry officials are increasingly pushing for a Plan B. RELATED: Storage of Nuclear Spent Fuel Criticized Plan to wipe out exotic deer sparks debate Introduced for hunting six decades ago, fallow and axis deer are popular with tourists eager to see wildlife at Point Reyes National Seashore. But park rangers see them as an invasive species that threaten native deer and elk, devour excessive amounts of vegetation, hurt agriculture and possibly spread disease. OPINION Is No One Accountable? The Bush administration is desperately trying to keep the full story from emerging. But there is no longer any doubt that prisoners seized by the U.S. in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere have been killed, tortured, sexually humiliated and otherwise grotesquely abused. U.S. Embrace Can Be Fatal to Arabs If anything, the war was a gift to the jihadists. And to the extent that the Middle East has moved toward democracy, it's as much in spite of American pressure as because of it. Don't bankrupt Amtrak It's hard to overstate the irresponsibility of the Bush administration's effort to "zero fund" Amtrak. Geo-Greening by Example (3/27/05) How will future historians explain it? How will they possibly explain why President George W. Bush decided to ignore the energy crisis staring us in the face and chose instead to spend all his electoral capital on a futile effort to undo the New Deal, by partially privatizing Social Security? We are, quite simply, witnessing one of the greatest examples of misplaced priorities in the history of the U.S. presidency. Undeliberative Democracy (3/27/05) As Republicans on the House Rules Committee put it in a 1993 report, "While the majority party always has the right to establish the rules and legislative agenda for the House, it should recognize the need to place responsible limits on those powers which permit all members to fully participate in the truly deliberative process. . . . 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