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Opinion

  • I’m pretty sure I was the very last runner to cross the finish line at the Fourth of July Freedom Run four years back. How do I know? Well, it was a 5K race, and the clock showed one hour as I rolled in. Not a good sign.

    Oh, sure, I had excuses — one was a 3-year-old named Johnny and the other was an 18-month-old known as “Crash.” Let’s face it, though: Even under the best of circumstances, I’m not exactly setting any speed records.

  • 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.

  • Officially, the first pet my family owned was a giant ill-tempered iguana named Igor. I have little memory of this except the stories of Igor finally escaping our home and harassing the neighborhood’s dogs and cats like a miniature Godzilla. They found it dead one morning after a nasty frost, his rein of terror finally ended.

  • Hannah Hayes

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • “On my honor, I will try: To serve God and my country; To help people at all times; and to live by the Girl Scout Law.”

    Since Juliet Gordon Low started the Girl Scouts in Savannah, Ga., in 1912, girls across the globe have participated in Girl Scouts. They learn life skills, leadership and an appreciation of how important it is to be of service to others.

  • Term-limited House Speaker Andrew Romanoff is attempting to address conflicts in our state constitution during his last two weeks of active legislative service. If he is successful, it will cap discussions he began five years ago.

    Romanoff became the House minority leader in 2003 when Sen. Doug Linkhart resigned after being elected to the Denver City Council. Jennifer Veiga left her post as House Democratic leader and replaced Linkhart. As dominoes continued to fall, Romanoff assumed Veiga’s leadership position.

  • I find myself in desert country. Not too deep, but right smack dab in the middle of where I want to be. Miles and miles of asphalt passed under me to get here, washing cities to mountains, dirt to snow and back again. The thick, full Rockies went flat, disappeared for a time, then popped back up, red, sparse and skeletal. I’m in Moab, Utah. I stand in a land that once boasted an entire civilization that was rumored to have vanished almost overnight.

  • 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.

  • In my last column, I wrote about a soon-to-be introduced bipartisan bill called the Colorado Achievement Plan for Kids (or CAP4K). Since that time, legislation has been formally introduced in the state Senate and was assigned a bill number, SB 212.

    SB 212 is supported by Gov. Bill Ritter and enjoys bipartisan sponsorship in the Senate (Sen. Josh Penry, R-Grand Junction, and Sen. Chris Romer, D-Denver) and the House (Rep. Christine Scanlan, D-Summit County, and myself).

  • Hannah Hayes

    There’s a longstanding trend to expand voting rights as demonstrated by these amendments — the 15th bans race-based voting qualifications, the 19th extends suffrage to women, and the 26th enfranchises 18-year-olds. Choosing our leaders is fundamental. An election decided by the Supreme Court is contrary to U.S. standards. The image of a team of hired protesters banging on Florida’s election room door to stop a hand count still bristles.

  • Spring is finally here!

    We may still have a snowstorm or two, but today it is spring. When you live in the mountains of Colorado with their variable weather conditions, you learn to take the good days when they come, and today it is spring. Going out to fill the birdfeeders, I found yellow-green daffodil shoots poking up 3 inches out of the newly bare ground and pushkinia in bloom along the side of our stone wall.

    Spring is here — no doubt about it — and I am grateful.

  • As I wrote several weeks ago, I’ve been working with Gov. Bill Ritter and a bipartisan group of legislators to craft a rigorous education reform bill to prepare Colorado’s educational system for the challenges of a new global economy. That bill, called the Colorado Achievement Plan for Kids (or CAP4K), was formally introduced last week.