About nancycronk

Nancy Cronk is a longtime community activist and women's leader living in Arapahoe County. Six months before the historic "red sweep" election of 2014, she was recruited to run as a "placeholder" in HD37, and managed to bring in 40K from 500 small donors, and 42% of the vote -- just one point lower than the previous candidate who ran in a presidential year.

Unpacking “Abortion”: What White Men Don’t Get

Or, “Why Mark Udall and Amendment 67 Both Lost in 2014”

I was sitting in my living room a number of months ago, when a Udall commercial came on television and our wonderful Colorado senior U.S. Senator confidently and clearly articulated the word, “abortion”. “He’s going to lose”, I told my husband, “Mark’s going to lose”.

White men don’t get it — especially the kind of 30 year old, private school-educated, pea-coat-wearing frat boys who run market research firms and conduct polls and fly back and forth between DC and Denver — the kind who show up in every federal election, advising Senate and Congressional candidate campaigns on behalf of the DCCC or the DSCC. Out of touch and clueless about middle-aged or retired suburban women, or people of color of all ages in CO, they brought down Joe Miklosi’s congressional campaign in 2012, and they just brought down one of the best U.S. Senators we’ve ever had, Mark Udall. Udall’s team should have questioned their advice and trusted local grassroots, boots-on-the-ground opinions instead. They can’t say they weren’t warned.

Although the “frat boys” (as I like to call them) are confident in the answers they receive in their polls and surveys, they ask all the wrong questions. Any federal level candidates in CO who continue to run campaigns without having every important CO demographic represented on their strategy teams will lose in the future (are you listening, Senator Bennet?). If they want to understand suburban, middle class mothers or college-aged people of color, or seniors on fixed incomes, they better have them on their steering committees in similar proportions.

The abortion issue is a perfect example. Research shows the vast majority of women want abortion to be legal and safe (this is not a Democratic secret, folks). For some people (including young men), the battle cry “My body, my choice” resonates with an underlying libertarian “don’t tell me what to do” chord. For many women I have spoken with about this issue, either as a women’s leader, or as a former crisis center counselor, or as an activist/organizer who has knocked on thousands of CO doors over many years, abortion is not a black and white, intellectual issue – it is a personal, very private decision which is frequently not discussed in polite company. For some women, it is a painfully emotional subject associated with layers of spiritual, family and financial baggage. For many women, terminating a pregnancy is a tug-of-war with their heart, and certainly not a subject they are comfortable having bantered about ad nauseum on their living room televisions by a bunch of men who have no proverbial clue what it is like to be a woman. For many women, the entire conversation is off-limits, and the frankness of the political ads makes them feel very, very uncomfortable.

Not only are many women uncomfortable hearing abortion debated while they’re helping their eight year old with homework or collapsing into a chair after a long day at work, their motives to have had an abortion are not always what men assume them to be. For a lot of women, abortion is not about “my life” or “my body” or “my choice”. For many women I’ve talked to, choosing to end a pregnancy is motivated by selfless concern and love for the potential life they are considering bringing into the world. Women are motivated to have abortions for the same reasons they are motivated about organics, GMOs, fracking, education, climate change, gun restrictions and punishing pedophiles –- because they love children and want every child to be wanted, so they can have healthy, happy lives. For many women, termination is a decision made early in a pregnancy long before there is significant fetal growth or sensation, to protect a child from a life without adequate resources (parenting, food, clothing, health care, etc.) or because of quality of life issues related to fetal anomalies and genetic disorders. For many women, abortion is an emotionally painful but completely selfless decision, made with the best interests of another potential human being in mind – not something every frat boy understands easily.

If there is one thing women will fiercely protect more than their own bodies, or their own choices, or their own civil rights, its children — even other people’s children. Mike Coffman’s brilliant marketing team (let’s face it – he doesn’t get re-elected every two years because he is a good congressman) understood this well in 2012 when they watched Joe Miklosi take a stand for Choice, and then they socked him with an ad that associated Joe with pedophiles because he voted no on the straw-man “Jessica’s law”. I’ll never forget the women I spoke with at the doors while canvassing for Joe who said, “I can’t decide if I want to vote for the guy who hates women, or the one who hates children”. In the end, they voted against the man they were tricked into thinking “hated children” by Coffman’s brilliant, yet evil henchmen.

Amendment 67 failed because women want to keep politicians out of their doctor’s offices. Senator Udall lost his race because women want to keep politician’s talking about abortion out of their living rooms. If Senator Bennet wants to win re-election in 2016, he needs to listen to CO middle-class moms directly and include them on his steering committees — and skip any advice from frat boys about messaging — unless it is about messaging to other frat boys.

“Honk for Cronk” for State Representative

My campaign for HD37 is going extremely well!. While we may not be in the Colorado Pols Top Ten Races, we are not far behind (possibly 12th?), and have a serious chance at pulling out a surprise win in the southern suburbs. Here’s why:

1. It’s an open seat with a history of close races. In 2006, Angela Engel (D) received 49% of the vote. Other races since have remained in the high 40s, even with several non-aggressive D candidates.

2. I was drafted to run by a vacancy committee when Marlo Alston dropped out of the race in April. At the time, I was also running for re-election to the local Fire Board.

3. I won re-election to the Cunningham Fire Protection District on May 6th, netting the top vote count out of seven candidates. I did it by talking to R’s, D’s, U’s and I’s alike. My philosophy of respecting our workers while safeguarding our citizen’s tax money is appreciated (shout-out to CPFF Local 3027!). We started campaigning for HD37 the very next day.

4. In six weeks, from May 7th, until the June 25th filing, I raised $9000. We’re still rockin’ it.

5. My opponent — and I have nothing bad to say about him (we are running a clean, positive campaign) — lost a Centennial City Council race to Democrat CJ Whelan, another member of the CFPD Fire Board.

6. I’ve lived in the S.E.Aurora/ E. Centennial area for 24 years and have raised a family there. I have good name recognition in my district from years of volunteering for non-profits and in the public schools.

7. My full-time campaign manager and I talk to everyone we can — and we listen. You don’t get more grassroots than that.

8. Representative John Buckner, a friend to unions, to teachers and to working families (as am I), won his election two years ago in the formerly GOP district just north of mine, and won it by a 13 point spread! We only need 5 points. He did it doing the same thing we are doing.

9. The Centennial area is changing demographically. While knocking on doors, I’m seeing many people who are fed up with the extreme partisanship, obstructionist politics, and radical agendas of the far right. Door after door, people are telling us they want common sense, compassion, and community. They want grown-up politics, positive messaging, and good ideas. They point to negative fliers cluttering their porches (Gardner v. Udall, mostly), then hold up our positive literature and tell me it is “refreshing”.

In the last two days, I’ve had three registered Republicans tell me they were going to vote for at least one Democrat this time around. One said, “I don’t hate my gay neighbors, and I am tired of people telling me I should.” Another one said, “The gun debate has gotten out of control. I have guns but I think background checks are fine.” The third told me, “The Affordable Care Act was good for my business.”

10. We’re getting great press.
Elect Nancy Cronk for State Representative
District 37 Democrat Makes Late Entry
Cronk Seeks To Turn HD37 Blue

Come walk with us and see for yourself! It just might make you believe in community-based representation again! If you can’t walk, or you don’t have time to join us, please contribute here: http://www.NancyCronk.com.

CO Legislative Winners — And Losers — For Women and Children.

Every year, a coalition of non-profits in CO that work for the rights of women and children under the umbrella of the “Colorado Women’s Lobby”, rank our CO State legislators on their votes. Not surprisingly, many of the 17 Senators and 36 Representatives who received a 100% rating have the same letter after their name.

Congratulations to the 2014 legislators who scored 100 percent on the Women’s Lobby scorecard for their work to help women and children: Senators Irene Aguilar, Morgan Carroll, Lucia Guzman, Rollie Heath, Mary Hodge, Cheri Jahn, Mike Johnston, Matt Jones, John Kefalas, Andy Kerr, Linda Newell, Jeanne Nicholson, Gail Schwartz, Lois Tochtrop, Nancy Todd, Jessie Ulibarri, and Rachel Zenzinger (Pat Steadman came in close at 91).

On the House side, superstars for women and children are: Representatives Kc Becker, John Buckner, Lois Court, Crisanta Duran, Tony Exum Sr., Mark Ferrandino, Rhonda Fields, Mike Foote, Leroy M. Garcia, Joann Ginal, Millie Hamner, Dickie Lee Hullinghorst, Daniel Kagan, Tracy Kraft-Tharp, Jeanne Nicholson, Steve Lebsock, S. Lee, Jenise May, Beth McCann, M McLachlan, Jovan Melton, D. Mitsch Bush, Dominick Moreno, Dan Pabon, Cherylin Peniston, Brittany Pettersen, Diana Primavera, Paul Rosenthal, Su Ryden, Joseph Salazar, Sue Schafer, Jonathan Singer, Max Tyler, Edward Vigil, Angela Williams, and Dave Young.

My state Representative, Spencer Swalm, scored a whopping 18, tying with Senator Vicki Marble and Rep. Steve Humphrey for the lowest score this year. Term limited Swalm’s District 37 was redrawn in 2012, merging half of districts 37 and 39. It now includes most of the City of Centennial, with some portions of unincorporated Arapahoe County with Aurora mailing addresses (where I live). In 2006, Democratic candidate Angel Engel nearly beat Swalm with 49% of the vote, and subsequent candidates with very low name ID and little time to campaign, brought the DPI down to its current 46%. The two candidates running to fill Swalm’s open seat on the Republican side are Michael Fields, a very young man who identifies on the extreme far right and is not afraid to say so, and Jack Tate, a businessman from Centennial who lost to Democrat CJ Whelan for City Council last year.

On the Democratic side (and yes, Republicans, I do say “Democratic” not “Democrat”) there is a brand new candidate who was chosen by a vacancy committee after caucus (the only Dem running until that point dropped out at caucus due to personal reasons), and who started campaigning for the State House only after winning re-election to the local Fire Dept. Board on May 6th. I’m hoping CO Pols’ readers might recognize the name and invest in a promising new candidate. Here’s to adding another “100% Winner” on the Colorado Women’s Lobby’s roster in 2015 — this time from District 37!
Nancy Cronk for Colorado

Why Aurorans Want and Need Andrew Romanoff in CD6

(Warning: long)

Many of the most densely populated portions of Congressional District 6 lie within the city of Aurora. My family and I moved near Mike Coffman's neighborhood in Aurora, CO 23 years ago from the midwestern college town where my husband received his PhD. When we moved into our first home, a rental, I was stunned by the six foot wooden fences, the prevailing libertarian attitudes of the high planes, and the lack of support for worker's rights. It was a foreign landscape for a young wife from a working class neighborhood just outside of Detroit. We had moved from an international student community (similar to DU in some respects), where I organized weekly family shared meals with my neighbors from Japan, Israel, Korea, Russia, Jordan, Mexico, Thailand, Finland and many other places, as well as a babysitting co-op for new moms. My toddler son had already been exposed to hundreds of different languages in that college (bubble) community, and though we could not afford to travel (we could barely afford to eat), every conversation was a lesson in geography and culture.

When we arrived in southeast Aurora, the first neighbor I saw simply said, "Keep your kid away from the fence. My dog hates kids and will eat him."

I called my mother sobbing. "Mom, have you seen the movie 'Dances With Wolves?", I asked.

To which she replied, "Yes. Why?"

"That's where I moohoohooved!", I wailed into the phone.

In the months to come, I was greeted with political notes on my doorstep inviting me to protest the local high school health care clinic (they gave students resource information for contraception), and I was told by a neighbor that Democrats insert tiny computer chips into infant babies' scalps at the hospital to control their every move. I was asked over and over, "Are you coastal?", which to the non-Republican translated means, "You're not liberal, are you?" 

Even the synagogue we attended in Denver had some right-wing members living in the 'burbs who tried to persuade us to join their ranks — a very unusual experience considering it was as true then, as it is now, that more than 2 out of 3 Jews nationwide are Democrats. I felt like I landed on Mars. Many of the hard-working, politically-moderate neighbors we came to know were simply not interested in politics, and truth be told, as a young mother, I had no time for it either. Over the years, our Congressman Dan Schaefer handed the baton to nationally-known immigrant-hater, Congressman Tom Tancredo, who loved his job so much he wouldn't leave it for five terms!

Fast forward 23 years, two more children, and two house moves later, and we live about three miles south of that first rental home. We grew to understand the ways of the west — from planning one's weekly calendar around Broncos games, to taking time off work to see the National Western Stock Show Parade. We came to love the SE Aurora/ E. Centennial area so much, we have made it our forever home. The six foot high wooden fences took some getting used to, but I found people are really very similar all over the world.. Our first neighborhood was receptive to my babysitting co-op idea, as well as organized play dates, and shared meals for new moms. The Cherry Creek schools our sons grew up in and where I volunteered often were, and are, outstanding. The Parks and Recreation programs in Aurora are among the best in the country. More than that, my family and I ventured out to the rest of Aurora, where we found the diversity we loved — and so dearly missed. 

Aurora is now Colorado's most richly diverse city, with more than 80 ethnic restaurants and markets, and more than 90 languages spoken in its public schools (much to Tom Tancredo's frustration, I'm sure). In a single afternoon at the Central library, one can hear dozens of languages spoken, from Russian, to Ethiopian, Chinese, Korean, African, Somalian, Nigerian, Spanish, French, etc. In the summer months, the Aurora Arts Festival and Cultural Events make it one of the most exciting places to be in metro Denver. If you listen to the stories of Aurorans, you will learn they came to America for good schools, for an opportunity to make life better for one's family, and to become an American citizen in order to pursue the American Dream. They want what Coloradans have wanted for hundreds of years — a peaceful place to raise their children, a chance to work hard and make a fair wage, and a sense of community alongside other Coloradans from all over the nation, and all over the globe.

The dreams of the newly-arrived immigrants in Aurora are identical to the dreams of my ancestors who arrived to this country in previous centuries. The only difference is, many of the newer immigrants dress in orange and blue jerseys, wear cowboy hats, and love to watch American Idol-type programs on television. The old Aurora, Mike Coffman's Aurora, contributes its western charm and historic cowboy heritage with the New Aurora, to create a uniquely Colorado experience. 

In 2008, as Colorado's Secretary of State, Mike Coffman attempted to shut-down the dreams of immigrant families and people of color in Aurora when he purged countless new voter registrations, most of which were collected by liberal out-of-state groups assisting in the Obama campaign effort. Coffman knew the groups like Mi Familia Vota, Common Cause, SEIU, MoveOn.org, etc., were targeting people of color and new citizens in Aurora to register them to vote, and he wanted their voices stopped so badly, his office gave inconsistent instructions on how to fill out the forms (I know this because I led a team of voter registrars in Aurora that summer, and they personally gave me incorrect information a number of times). Coffman had the audacity to continue to purge those registrations even after he was ordered not to do so by a federal judge.

Andrew Romanoff understands the New Aurora. Andrew's grandparents were Russian-Jewish immigrants who worked hard to make sure their children and grandchildren could go to college. Andrew seldom boasts about his most-inspiring qualifications for the United States Congress — working with communities the world over to accomplish truly impressive goals through democratic means. Andrew Romanoff has shown visionary leadership not just influence (as Coffman had done) — he brought together Democrats and Republicans to repair Colorado's schools, wrote laws to protect women from domestic violence, focused on services for mental health care, and expanded affordable housing. Andrew fought to protect children and the elderly from neglect and abuse, and taught high school students in rural Central America. He worked with the Southern Poverty Law Center for civil rights, and fought for low-income women's equal pay and education. At IDE (International Development Enterprises), Andrew led efforts to teach people to start businesses and become successful farmers — giving people a hand-up rather than a hand-out. Andrew's efforts have been recognized all over the world as ideas that will work anywhere, including in Aurora, CO.

All Aurorans share another, sadder common experience. Aurorans came together from every neighborhood of its 143 square miles to comfort each other after the Century Theater Shooting. Many volunteers spent last summer visiting the make-shift Aurora memorial site comforting strangers, cleaning up broken glass, providing water bottles, and pruning flowers left in memory of the victims — myself included. We made thousands of tiny black and blue memorial ribbons and passed them out to the grieving and the curious. Among the leaders who became most involved in the healing was Representative Rhonda Fields, who became the voice for many survivors wishing to make all of Colorado's City streets safer. Rhonda faced obscene name-calling, death threats, personal attacks and political savagery for insisting on common-sense gun restrictions. Who stood with Aurora's beloved Representative Rhonda Fields and the majority of Aurorans? It wasn't Congressman Mike Coffman. He was nowhere to be found in protecting Colorado's cities and towns from overly-lax weapon regulations. The person who stood up for Rhonda and all of Aurora was Andrew Romanoff.

There is only one candidate in the race for Congressional District 6 understands the blending of New Aurora with Old Aurora to become Strong Aurora. There is only one person who understand the modern challenges Aurorans face as their city increasingly becomes one of the New West's most interesting destinations. That person is Andrew Romanoff.

Please help us this summer in registering new voters in diverse North Aurora. Aurorans of every color, of every language, of every nation of origin, deserve to have their voices restored — voices stolen from them at one time by former Secretary of State Mike Coffman. When Aurorans vote, they will remember what happened in 2008 and they will vote for Andrew Romanoff.

Coffman’s First Perlmutter-Style “Government-in-Your-Reduced-Hours-Public-Library”

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Stealing a page from Congressman Ed Perlmutter's constituent services playbook, Congressman Mike Coffman faced Aurorans one-on-one in the public library a few blocks from his home this morning. About seventy-five constituents stood in line to speak with him, and each was given about five minutes alone, or with a small group. Outside, an organizer from Colorado Fair Share signed up voters on a petition for universal pre-school. While his constituents waited, we discussed questions we wanted to ask him, like the ones listed at bottom, speaking loudly enough that his Secret Service detail paced around us. At one point, I scrapped my questions and nervously told him what was really on my mind. After awhile, Congressman Coffman appeared angry and stood up, and his aides (henchman?) escorted me out of the room. It would have been much more fun to dress up in green and wave to voters with Congresswoman Diana DeGette, but someone had to do it.

Some of the questions we had for Congressman Coffman this morning:

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Arvada City Council Votes To Become “All-White Mens Club”; Citizens Shout Cronyism

A scathing indictment against the City of Arvada was published today by Arvada Citizens David Chandler and Russell Weisfeld, accusing the City Council of violating state statute and its own city ordinances in selecting a replacement Councilor to fill the vacancy left by State Representative Rachel Zenzinger. The blog article claims the Council violated Colorado Revised Statutes 24-406-2 (IV) and the Arvada City Charter Section 4.6 "Vacancies". It goes on to challenge the city to prove their compliance with Section 24-406-2 regarding advance notice of Council meeting agendas, and prompt recording of meeting minutes. The central argument made by Chandler and Weisfeld is that it was not proper for the Council to elect a new City Councilor by private ballot. 

As someone who lives on the other side of the metro area, I normally do not follow City Council meetings where I do not live. I am not an attorney, and will leave analysis of what happened legally to those who are more qualified than I. What strikes me about Chandler and Weisfeld's accusation, however, is the blatant sexism of a large, otherwise modern, suburb of metropolitan Denver. The gentleman who was appointed to fill the vacancy left by Zenzinger was as "establishment" a choice as one can get — he is the current Chair of the Arvada Chamber of Commerce. The addition of Marks to the City Council makes it an all-white, middle-aged, men's club. I venture to bet the religious and political diversity is not much better. According to City-data.com, Arvada's citizenry is 51.2 percent female. If the Arvada City Council truly represented its citizens, four of the seven Council members would be women

My grassroots group, Progressive Women of Colorado, is sick and tired of rampant cronyism in local Colorado politics. We are tired of women being treated as if we are invisible. We are tired of old men's clubs like the Arvada City Council passing their sexist baton from one golf buddy to the next. And we are not going to take it anymore. Women readers, and readers of Colorado Pols who care about justice, please call, write, blog, post, and email about this story. Embarrass the Arvada City Council for its election practices from the dark ages, and expose them for their blatant misogyny. Then, head on over to the Progressive Women of Colorado Panel Discussion on "Women in Politics" this Tuesday, from 5:30pm – 7:30pm at the Unity Church at 3021 S. University in Denver to learn how to put a stop to this. 

It's time for the women of Arvada — and the women of Colorado to fight back. 

 

Remembering Ken Gordon: What His Death Means To Colorado

Legislators and state officials kept piling into Denver’s largest synagogue – Governor John Hickenlooper, Congresswoman Diana DeGette, former CO Senator John Morse, Senator Irene Aguilar, and many more.  Before long, the enormous sanctuary which seats more than one thousand guests was full, with some well-wishers standing in the back. Two weeks after his death, and the day before the CO State legislature reconvened for the 2014 regular session, Colorado politics stood still to honor one of its’ heroes, former state representative and senator, attorney, college professor, campaign expert and ideological giant, Ken Gordon.

Speakers included Rabbi Emeritus Dr. Steven Foster, a 35 year friend of Gordon’s and spouse of Senator Joyce Foster, Senior Rabbi Joseph Black, Cantor Regina Heit, CO Governor John Hickenlooper, Speaker of the House and Candidate for Congress Andrew Romanoff, Campaign Manager Ken Smith, and University of Michigan college buddies Marc Van Der Hout and Joe Goldenson.  Governor Hickenlooper spoke about Gordon’s reputation as a campaign advisor whom he called many times while he ran for Mayor of Denver, as well as for Governor.  Governor Hickenlooper stated what many others felt, “Even when we disagreed, Ken could disagree elegantly.”

Speaker after speaker extolled Ken’s virtues as being intelligent, well-read, humble, stubborn, humorous and loyal. They told of his work to pass constitutional changes to fund higher education, health care and transportation, and a publicity stunt involving walking 300 miles across the state to get it done. Ken was passionate about the environment and frequently spent time outdoors in CO – a hobby that resulted in funny stories about how he and his friends were half-frozen and unprepared in the CO wilderness.

A particularly humorous moment was when, after a number of long speeches and an hour into the memorial service, Governor Hickenlooper attempted to sneak out of the service without drawing attention to himself. Rabbi Foster pointed out the hunched over, exiting Governor, and with a “shooing” motion told him, “Go, go, go. You have a state to run.” (Only the 40-year Rabbi of Denver’s largest synagogue could say that with such humor and affection and get away with it!)

Longtime close friend Andrew Romanoff told a number of funny stories about Ken – including one from the early days of their friendship when a rumpled Gordon arrived to a Jewish holiday celebration in Romanoff’s home and started rummaging through the refrigerator. “Don’t worry, Mom, that's just our State Representative”, he remembered telling her.

Ken Smith, Gordon’s campaign manager, was often referred to by Gordon as his “best student” – the one who wrote a paper about campaign finance reform which would ignite a passion in Ken that would define the rest of his years in public service.  Upon reading a paper written by Smith, Ken researched publically financed campaigns and was inspired to found the organization, CleanSlateNow.org. Clean Slate Now works with a number of candidates all over the country to strategize successful elections based on representing individual constituents, rather than corporate interests.

I couldn’t help but wonder in amazement how far Ken’s passion for populist, democratic politics had reached, and how many people it had touched, as scores of Colorado politicos wiped their eyes, nodded their heads, and laughed at loving jabs about Ken’s love for books, impatience with social graces, and stubborn attachment to his ideals. Why was Ken Gordon so important to all of these people?

I did not know Ken as well, or as long as many of the other attendees, but I knew him. He and I argued a number of times during the Senate Primary race of 2010, where Ken made it very clear to me I was helping the wrong side (Senator Bennet). Despite his frustration, Ken remained polite, friendly, and kind to me, hoping someday I would see the “Anti-PAC light”. Like many other Democrats, my disagreement with Ken was over the role of unions in the political process. As a UAW brat, I saw them as an integral part of campaign finance, and Anti-PAC legislation could interfere with their influence in Democratic campaigns. Since then, Ken became a supporter of my organization, Progressive Women of Colorado, and I looked to him as a leader on the “Romanoff for Congress” campaign.

Ken was our conscience. He never gave up on those he mentored, advised or kindly scolded. Ken’s was the little voice in all of our heads that said to Democrats, “Don’t be seduced by corporate influence and big money in politics. Don’t allow fancy parties, impressive titles and large donors to undermine your values. Don’t get sucked in to cynicism, to apathy and to corruption. Trust your gut, work for the people you do not know, and remember most the people too weak to help you, rather than those who can.” I’m glad I started listening to Ken Gordon and started to believe what he had been telling me – and so many others – for years. It is possible to fund a successful national campaign through individual contributions. Andrew Romanoff is doing just that right now. 

As a progressive who considered Ken Gordon both the thorn in my side at times, and one of my most respected heroes, I am deeply saddened by his death – not only the devastating loss to his entire family, but also to the state of Colorado, to the United States, and to the world.  His leadership had become increasingly more important, rather than less so, and his death came at one of the most inopportune times, politically speaking. The race for Congress in Colorado’s CD-6 between Andrew Romanoff and career corporatist Mike Coffman has much more riding on it than one man’s legacy – proving that individual contributions can fund a winning political campaign has enormous potential repercussions for the future of this country, and for the world. Ken’s inspiration in this race literally impacts the very future of our democracy.

What remains of Ken’s dream to secure democracy is up to us. In recent conversations with Ken, all he spoke of was winning the Romanoff v. Coffman race, as the ultimate testing ground for his life’s work. I ask those who are reading this – no, I implore you — please make winning the race in CD6 for the people your highest election priority, in Ken’s memory. Allow Ken to earn that legacy as the genius political scientist he so richly deserved. Allow Ken’s inspiration to live on, by securing the future of democracy for the United States, and around the world.

Ken's family has asked that contributions be made in Ken's memory to www.CleanSlateNow.org

 

Whose Job is Sheriff Grayson Robinson After?

Popular Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson announced his retirement today, giving six weeks notice, and naming his successor, UnderSheriff David Walcher. The County Board of Commissioner's will replace the Sheriff, but if the vote goes the way most of them do, it will be a rubber-stamp. Robinson's timing and text raise many questions. The letter did not say, "I'm going to Florida to play shuffleboard" or "looking forward to spending more time with my grandchildren". Instead, it read, "Leaving office prior to the end of my third term has always been an important element of my very deliberate and well-considered succession plan". 
http://www.arapahoegov.com/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/1126

Robinson is hugely popular in Arapahoe County among community leaders in both parties. Readers may recall he arrested his predecessor, fellow Republican and former Sheriff Patrick Sullivan on drug charges, beefing up his image as a "non-partisan law-and-order swashbuckler". http://denver.cbslocal.com/2011/11/29/former-arapahoe-county-sheriff-arrested-on-drug-charge/

Robinson's been positioning himself as a moderate and getting media attention as an "independent thinker" for some time. Case in point: http://www.denverpost.com/ci_22427943  And here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/16/sheriff-bills-romney-campaign_n_1283242.html​  Clearly, he is getting good campaign advice if he is running for something.

To those who know him, Robinson appears apolitical. He is very professional and serious as he carries out his duties as the highest ranking Official in Arapahoe County. His work with FEMA and Homeland Security, his height, and his serious demeanor can make him very intimidating, but he has a sense of humor, too (I once joked with him that firefighters exist so police officers have someone to look up to. He teased right back).

Will Sheriff Grayson Robinson cash in his substantial political capital and run for higher office? Only time will tell, but he's one to watch.

 

Udall Promises “Bold and Productive Action” To Fight Sexual Assaults In The Military

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Responding to growing reports of sexual abuse and harassment within the United States military, U.S. Senator Mark Udall announced today he will take a leading role by working on both sides of the aisle to address sexual violence in the armed services. He outlined his plan to find solutions, hold perpetrators accountable, and protect victims from retaliation.

His plans include co-sponsoring "a number of bills" on the issue, and pushing for a provision to the National Defense Authorization Act. One of the bills he intends to support is the Murray-Ayotte Sexual Assault bill, a bipartisan piece of legislation from Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), which will establish a special military counsel to provide legal advice and assistance requested by any military sexual assault victim. The law will require cases to be automatically referred to a general or admiral to ensure greater oversight. The bill will allow cases to be shifted outside of the chain of command if an appropriate investigation does not occur in a timely fashion.

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Softec Responds to Violent, Racist Threats to Rep. Rhonda Fields

Softec Solutions, Inc. just put out this statement regarding the violent and racist threats their Chief Operating Officer allegedly made against Representative Rhonda Fields:


SofTec Solutions, Inc. has been informed of allegations against our employee, Mr. Frank Sain. We are shocked to learn of these allegations and are taking this matter very seriously. If true, these actions are highly inappropriate and will not be tolerated. Pending SofTec’s investigation into this matter, Mr. Sain has been suspended immediately from further duties at SofTec. SofTec Solutions is a minority-owned, small business and we employ a large diverse workforce. We will absolutely not tolerate any racial, sexual, gender-based slurs or threats of violence by employees.


Franklin Sain, who reportedly said regarding Representative Fields, ""Hopefully somebody Giffords both of your asses", was arrested Friday for "suspicion of harassment and an attempt to influence a public servant" after threatening emails that were sent to Representative Fields were tracked back to his computer. He was later released on a $30,000 bond, according to Westword. Sain was appointed as Chief Operating Officer at Softec in 2011, according to this press release.

Sain's involvement was detailed in a story by Westword this morning. According to the arrest affidavit, numerous emails were sent using the words, "c*nt" and "n*gger" and one said, "I'm coming for you N*gger B*tch".

Sain is due in court March 8, 2013.

Friday Jams Fest

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)

Rest in peace, Camilla Williams. You were not only talented, but beautiful and smart.

Rest in Peace, Arlen Specter.

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)

According to the AP, Arlen Specter’s son reports his father has passed away this morning from Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, at the age of 82. The outspoken Pennsylvania Senator was known as a centrist Republican at a time when his party was swinging to the hard right, and in 2009, became a Democrat. He then lost the Democratic primary in 2010, ending a 30 year career in public service. Specter had previously survived a brain tumor and a cardiac arrest following surgery.

From the AP’s obituary:

HARRISBURG, Pa. – Former U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter, the outspoken Pennsylvania centrist whose switch from Republican to Democrat ended a 30-year career in which he played a pivotal role in several Supreme Court nominations, died Sunday. He was 82…

   Specter rose to prominence in the 1960s as an aggressive Philadelphia prosecutor and as an assistant counsel to the Warren Commission, developing the single-bullet theory that posited just one bullet struck both President Kennedy and Texas Gov. John Connally – an assumption critical to the argument that presidential assassin Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. The theory remains controversial and was the focus of Oliver Stone’s 1991 movie “JFK.”

   In 1987, Specter helped thwart the Supreme Court nomination of former federal appeals Judge Robert H. Bork – earning him conservative enemies who still bitterly refer to such rejections as being “borked.”

   But four years later, Specter was criticized by liberals for his tough questioning of Anita Hill at Clarence Thomas’ Supreme Court nomination hearings and for accusing her of committing “flat-out perjury.” The nationally televised interrogation incensed women’s groups and nearly cost him his seat in 1992.

Mike Coffman Takes The Lowest Road Imaginable

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)

Tea Party / Birther Congressman Mike Coffman just released a new ad which crossed the farthest line known in politics — falsely associating Joe Miklosi’s name with child molesters.

The ad is so outrageous, the Fraternal Order of Police sent an unsolicited letter of outrage condemning the Congressman’s vile and disgusting commercial.  

Colorado Fraternal Order of Police Denounces Mike Coffman’s Slanderous and False attacks against Joe Miklosi:

To the Citizens of Colorado’s 6th Congressional District,

On June 25th the Fraternal Order of Police announced its endorsement of 6th Congressional District candidate Joe Miklosi for the United States Congress. The Fraternal Order of Police is the world’s largest organization of sworn

law enforcement officers, with more than 330,000 members nationwide. Across our state the Colorado Fraternal Order of Police represents over 5,000 sworn law enforcement officers. We are the voice of those who dedicate their lives protecting and serving Colorado communities. The Fraternal Order of Police is very proud to reiterate its endorsement of 6th Congressional District candidate Joe Miklosi for the United States Congress.

Joe’s opponent is running distasteful and grossly misleading commercials suggesting that Joe has jeopardized the safety of Colorado children. That assertion is totally false. We find it unfortunate Joe’s opponent would use such deceptive advertising. Joe is a thoughtful and responsible legislator with a solid record of support for the public’s safety. We have worked with Joe during his tenure serving the citizens of Colorado in the General Assembly on matters of importance to the safety of the public. We have no doubt that Joe is concerned about keeping our communities safe. He un-questionably understands the issues surrounding public safety. He is a proven staunch supporter of law enforcement and the safety of the public, and we are proud to support him.

Electing the right person to serve in the US Congress is a serious responsibility, one that is tremendously important to the citizens of Colorado. Joe Miklosi’s history of commitment to public service, secure communities, and fairness has earned him this valuable endorsement. The Colorado Fraternal Order of Police believes Joe Miklosi is undoubtedly the best candidate for this office to resolve the serious issues facing our great nation.

Sincerely,

Michael J Violette

Executive Director

Colorado State Lodge

Fraternal Order of Police

From Wikipedia:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/…


Jessica’s Law is the informal name given to a 2005 Florida law, as well as laws in several other states, designed to protect potential victims and reduce a sexual offender’s ability to re-offend. A version of Jessica’s Law, known as the Jessica Lunsford Act, was introduced at the federal level in 2005 but was never enacted into law by Congress.

As a Children’s Rights Activist who has donated thousands of hours to several organizations for efforts that help children, I am one of many people who believe Jessica’s Laws are usually well-intentioned but create more problems than they solve. Joe Miklosi needs to respond to Coffman’s outrageous ad, and he needs to do it now.  

Secret Video of Very Candid Mitt Romney Surfaces

(Um, holy crap? – promoted by Colorado Pols)

A tracker attended a fundraiser for Mitt Romney earlier this year and filmed Romney speaking very candidly to friends and supporters about what he really thinks about the President of the United States, as well as those who voted for him. Mother Jones broke the story, dividing up the video into five parts. Some of the most potentially damaging quotes are below:

“There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what… These are people who pay no income tax.”

Later he went on:

“[M]y job is is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”

Despite the necessity of Romney to improve his numbers within the Latino community, he said some disaparaging things about them when speaking with his friends (which is all the more interesting, given that Romney’s own father, George Romney, was reportedly born in Mexico to Mormon refugees escaping anti-polygamy laws).

Romney said of his father,

“Had he been born of Mexican parents, I’d have a better shot of winning this.”

Then, when speaking of key demographic groups, he added:  

“..we are having a much harder time with Hispanic voters, and if the Hispanic voting bloc becomes as committed to the Democrats as the African American voting block has in the past, why, we’re in trouble as a party and, I think, as a nation.”

While speaking about messaging strategy, Romney repeatedly indicated he is going after people who voted for Obama in ’08, and does so by calling them, “these people” and “those people” rather than voters (kind of like, “you people”?).

“And the best success I have at speaking with those people (italics used for emphasis) is saying, you know, the president has been a disappointment…. What’re they gonna do? These are the kinds of things that I can say to that audience that they nod their head and say, “Yeah, I think you’re right.” What he’s going to do, by the way, is try and vilify me as someone who’s been successful, or who’s, you know, closed businesses or laid people off, and is an evil bad guy. And that may work.”

Romney then brags about his campaign team:

“I have a very good team of extraordinarily experienced, highly successful consultants, a couple of people in particular who have done races around the world. I didn’t realize it. These guys in the US — the Karl Rove equivalents — they do races all over the world…they do these races and they see which ads work, and which processes work best, and we have ideas about what we do over the course of the campaign. I’d tell them to you, but I’d have to shoot you.”

When asked why Romney doesn’t discuss policy much, he responds that policy doesn’t win elections.

“…in a setting like this, a highly intellectual subject-discussion on a whole series of important topics typically doesn’t win elections. And there are, there are, there are-for instance, this president won because of “hope and change.”

Perhaps Romney’s most curious moment was when he attempted to predict the outcome of the race. Based on the assumption he would win, he said the following would occur:

“We’ll see capital come back and we’ll see– without actually doing anything– we’ll actually get a boost in the economy. If the president gets re-elected, I don’t know what will happen. I can- I can never predict what the markets will do. Sometimes it does the exact opposite of what I would have expected.”

Mother Jones offers more “Mitt Romney at the fundraiser” to come soon. Grab some popcorn.

Joe Miklosi’s New TV Ad

Congressional Candidate Joe Miklosi released a hard-hitting ad today on You Tube, indicating it will begin playing tomorrow on television. Miklosi hit all of the major bullet points he needed to make:

1. He’s a regular guy like us, sitting with neighbors in friends in a regular coffee shop, not a Washington incumbent.

2. Congress has never been less popular, and here’s why you should send Joe Miklosi to fix it.

3. Incumbent Mike Coffman is a Tea Party member.

4. Mike Coffman holds dangerous, extremists views about a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions.

5. The GOP is concentrating on taking away people’s rights instead of offering economic solutions.

6. We need to stop outsourcing jobs and bring them back to the U.S.

7. Coffman wants to end Medicare.

8. Joe Miklosi = Colorado common sense.

I like the ad. Democrats need to hammer the Tea Party association on Coffman as much as possible to expose Coffman’s true colors (Coffman’s ad teams have done an effective job in his past elections to falsely paint him as a moderate). The ad is hard-hitting, yet 100% true.

Thoughts?

Do you think the ad is effective?

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Hickenlooper’s Victim Fund Fallout

While much of Colorado has focused on Scott Gessler’s voter suppression, Mike Coffman’s hiding from constituents, and frequent local visits from the President of the United States, as well as the POTUS-wannabe, many Aurorans have been recovering from one of the worst mass shootings in Colorado history. In Aurora, everyone knew someone who knew someone who was in the theater multiplex the night of the shootings, and everyone has a story of some kind.

In the days after the shooting which killed 12 and wounded an additional 58 people, a fund was set up to assist victims. Recently, surviving family members gathered together to make a public statement about distribution of funds collected by the victim’s fund. They expressed frustration and outrage that money collected by the Governor’s fund was not distributed entirely to the victims who were shot, or to their survivors. Family members stated they were under the impression the victim’s fund was to be used to directly compensate them for their suffering. Accusations, innuendo, and finger-pointing followed. Many private donors have questioned if the Governor’s fund was managed appropriately.

Within hours of the shooting, a physical memorial site sprung up across the street from the theater. Since then, up to a thousand people visit the site each day (my friends and I have organized volunteers to make ribbons that were put in jars for guests to take as they paid their respects. We haven’t been able to keep the container filled most days.) People have come from all over the nation, leaving thousands of bouquets of flowers, hundreds of candles, scores of stuffed animals and countless other tokens of their sympathy.

Countless volunteers have stood out in the hot sun for the past six weeks greeting visitors, offering bottled water, removing broken glass, offering on-the-spot counseling and/or prayer, and sometimes throwing out and hauling away trash using their own vehicles. They have also responded to inquiries about donating — instructing potential donors to contribute directly on-line to the Governor’s “Aurora Victim’s Relief Fund”. Six weeks later, hundreds of people still visit the site each day.

Within a couple of days of the tragedy, Governor Hickenlooper’s office was quick to identify a single charity to make memorial giving easy: www.GivingFirst.org, which was set up to work through the Community First Foundation. The main page of the website linked to another page that indicated from the beginning, that the donated money would be distributed among a host of legitimate, recognized community non-profits that would assist in the recovery and healing process.

The pre-approved non-profit organizations include:

Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network

Asia Pacific Development Center of Colorado

Aurora Mental Health Center

Bonfils Blood Center Foundation

Children’s Hospital Colorado Foundation

Colorado Organization for Victim Assistance

Community Reach Center

Denver Center for Crime Victims

Greatest Generations Foundation

Jefferson Center for Mental Health

Judi’s House

Luthern Family Services Rocky Mountains

Maria Droste Counseling Center

Mental Health America of Colorado

Metro Crisis Services, Inc.

Safe2Tell

YMCA of Metropolitan Denver

In addition to the Governor’s fund, some individuals have raised money for specific families who were directly affected through private memorial funds, usually communicated via private memorial services. Several of the victims were single parents raising children, for example.

As an Aurora-area resident who spent many volunteer days going to memorial services, making ribbons, directing donations and consoling those who grieve, I am saddened by the criticism of the Governor about this fund. Although family members are entitled to the expression of their deep pain and anger, and no one can understand fully the depths of their grief, they need to remember there were countless victims of the Aurora shooting. Thousands of victims have been emotionally impacted by the tragedy, and they need assistance, as well. The impact of the massacre rippled out across an entire community, and across the Denver metro area — not just in Aurora.

The night the shooting occurred, there were hundreds of people in the theater multiplex. Many were high school and college students. Although a dozen individuals were murdered, 58 more were injured. Some of the injured are still in area hospitals today.

In addition to more than 70 people who were shot at by the gunmen, hundreds more escaped the shootings, some suffering minor injuries running out of the building (my son’s friend got banged up and broke a toe hopping over seats while while outrunning the gunfire, for example). Still others were in adjacent theaters, also running to save their lives. Thousands of parents and family members who later heard what happened at the multiplex that evening were traumatized by the stories, thinking, “I could have lost my loved one”. Thousands of Aurora residents who live in the apartments and neighborhoods nearby were plagued by the notion, “I frequent that theater but chose not to go there that evening. It could have been me.”

Dozens of first responders — police officers, fire fighters, paramedics, EMTs, and dispatchers witnessed a horror they will never forget. Memories of the first calls to 911, the screams of the movie patrons, the carnage at the scene, and the shortage of ambulances to transport the bleeding and wounded fast enough, will haunt them forever.

Doctors, nurses, medical technicians and support staff who were on duty or called in to assist the injured that night also have stories of how the shooting affected them. Crisis counselors, members of the clergy and Red Cross volunteers worked around the clock in those early days to identify, comfort, console and support family members and friends of the victims. Many are still doing so today.

Teachers and administrators in Aurora schools where student victims attended responded to the after-shocks of the emotional trauma caused by the shooting. Students who were classmates with victims did not have to know someone well to be frightened about going out in public places. Church friends, neighbors, coworkers, customers, and many other people who knew victims personally have also suffered.

Coloradans who were already at risk for depression were at greater risk after the shooting — questioning the safety of their community and wondering if the tragedy indicated a frightening trend. Hundreds of Columbine survivors — many of whom live merely twenty miles from the shooting — were re-traumatized, remembering similar events from just over a decade ago.

Although a dozen people were murdered the night of July 20th, and dozens more sustained serious physical injuries, there were tens of thousands of victims of the Aurora shooting who sustained emotional trauma. Emotional trauma is no less devastating than physical trauma, and often, more so. Post-traumatic stress syndrome can permanently affect the quality and length of a person’s life.

My heart goes out to the families who lost a loved one at the theatre the night of the shooting. No one can put a price on their suffering, and no amount of money in the world can bring back their friend or family member. The depths of their pain and grief cannot be imagined by anyone else, no matter how much we try.

In their grief, they should remember others grieve with them, and the entire community has suffered as well. The entire community has pulled together to try to help. As a community member who has spent many hours at the memorial site, I can attest that the potential donors I spoke with understood the proceeds given to the fund would be going to ease the emotional trauma, as well as the unpaid medical bills– all of the victims, not just those who suffered physical injury or death.

Governor Hickenlooper showed strong leadership to create a memorial fund, and to dedicate the proceeds to healing an entire community. Healing from the Aurora shooting tragedy will take decades, and caring for both the physical and emotional needs of the community at large is money well-spent.

Questions For Women: Why Are There So Few Women In Politics?

The Akin (achin’) gaffes and the many other stories of late in the War Against Women have not only put a microscope on reproductive rights for women, but raised much larger questions. “Why do women put up with misogyny?” and “Why are there so few women in office?”

In Colorado, where women hold more elected offices at the state level than in any other state (and we have some of the strongest women in the country!), our numbers are still not even 40%, in a country where women are 51% of the population. Add to that our gross under-representation on the Supreme Court, and women cannot honestly point fingers at any other country. The political arena in the United States grossly under-represents women.

I am curious what kinds of systemic issues are beneath this problem. For those women who read Daily Kos and are brave enough to answer some questions, I hope you will. Not only will your answers be interesting, they may educate some Cro-Magnons who lurk on liberal blogs (and I say that with much affection, of course).

It will be interesting to see if the women who use their own names answer differently from bloggers who identify as women, yet who blog anonymously. It will also be interesting to see if these same questions posted on women-only blogs yield similar answers to this blog site, which has a considerable mix.

Ladies?  

Political Environment:

Do you find the political arena friendly to, or hostile to, women when it comes to debate?

When you have strong political opinions, do you share them openly and assertively, or are you afraid to do so? Why?

Have you ever been the victim of political bullying? Was the perpetrator male or female (or unknown/anonymous)?

Do you ever hold back your political opinions due to perceived intimidation by men?

Do you see the atmosphere in the political arena improving for women’s equal participation, or getting worse?

Running for Office:

Have you ever thought about running for office? Why or why not?

If so, are you as aggressive as the men you know with similar education in the level of office to which you aspire?

Expressing Your Political Opinions in Writing:

Do you blog? Where? Why?

Are there woman-friendly blogs and do you read them? Do you submit diaries to them? Why or why not?

Support:

Is your significant other supportive of your political interests?

Would your parents have approved of your political interests?

Your children?

Female peers?

Male peers?

Do you have other women as mentors in politics?

Who has encouraged you the most to participate in the political arena, and was it effective?

Empowering Other Women:

Have you ever had a thoughtful discussion with male counterparts in the political arena about this gender issue? Why or why not?

Have you ever mentored another woman in the political arena?

Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions. If you wish to send them to me privately, send them to njcronk @ aol.com. Later, I intend to write about your responses, with all names and identifying information removed (unless permission to quote you by name is granted). Thank you!

Are you...?

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Don’t Shoot The Messenger: CU Study Predicts Romney Win

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)

A new University of Colorado study produced a model that would have correctly predicted every Presidential election since 1980, and it predicts that Willard “Mitt” Romney will be the 45th President of the United States. The study, done by Political Science Professors Michael Berry from CU Denver and Ken Bickers from CU Boulder, uses different indicators than most other models. Instead of looking at one measurement of economic health for each state, it looks at two — per capita income, as well as that state’s unemployment number. According to the model, every battleground state will go to Romney, including Florida, Virginia, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Minnesota, New Hampshire and Colorado, making the grand total Romney 320 to Obama 218.

The model also correctly predicted what happened in 2000, when Al Gore won the popular vote, and George W. Bush won the electoral college.

It is unclear from their press release whether the model included the many recent Republican “War On Women” gaffes, or considers the huge influx of money into the GOP campaigns post-Citizens United. It also does not state if it takes into account Koch brothers’ PACS buying up most of the air time on television.

Thoughts?

My own anecdotal evidence from knocking on doors tells me there seems to be a sizable number of independents and unaffiliateds who seem less enthusiastic about the President than they were four years ago. They claim to be “disappointed” but when asked about specific reasons why, have very little to say (it has crossed my mind more than once that Obama’s PR team may have been more policy wonks than great marketers these past four years).

There also seems to be greater complacency among political activists who supported Obama four years ago. With the number of Republican gaffes and Tea Party members of Congress horror stories, are many Obama supporters so sure of a win for the Dems they have yet to put in any real effort to make it happen?

Help the Governor Help Aurora (not political)

Governor Hickenlooper has asked Coloradans to donate to GivingFirst.org, a fund set up by the Community First Foundation. All proceeds go to help victim’s assistance charities that will serve Aurorans. If you can afford to donate, please give generously. If you can’t, please help solicit donations directly to GivingFirst.org.

Here is how I am helping, and would love for others to join me. I am making simple black ribbons (loops and a pin) and passing them out to everyone I see. When I do, I tell them they can donate to www.GivingFirst.org, the charity Governor Hickenlooper is pushing to help victims of the Aurora shootings, or to the Red Cross (Note: the ribbons ARE NEVER SOLD, just given away). I’ve already made more than 1000 ribbons and passed them out.

Ribbons accomplish two things: they stimulate healing conversations between strangers, and they give us an excuse to encourage people to give. Giving will help the healing process for everyone. For more information, go to the fb page “Compassion For Aurora”. Here’s a link to an msnbc story on the ribbon  project. http://www.bing.com/videos/wat…

Please donate generously to the victims families at www.GivingFirst.org, or to the American Red Cross at www.RedCross.org.

Belated Jams Fest

Due to the horrific event in Aurora on Friday morning, we seem to have forgotten Friday’s Jam Fest. As a means of healing as a community, we are supposed to go back to our normal routines. Tonight, my family and I went to the movies — an act which I have  done hundreds of times in my life, but never before in defiance. This first one is for all who are hurting.

Since I look forward to Ralphie’s funk posts on Fridays, here’s another one, this time a little more upbeat, to express gratitude for all of those who survived Friday’s shootings, and for all of the many blessings we take for granted.

Aurora Shootings: What Victim’s Families Want to Tell You But Can’t

((I was ready to unload my anger and passions on this site today. Nancy’s diary made me delay that…for at least a few hours.) – promoted by SSG_Dan)

Update:

In response to the information that Westboro Baptist Church may be coming to Denver to protest the funerals and memorials of the victims, this is the plan we are circulating wide and far: A Wall Of Love.

If you attend a funeral where Westboro is present to protest, simply turn your back to them, arm in arm with other members of the Wall of Love. Create a gentle barrier to keep the families surrounded by love. Do not jeer the protesters. Do not give them attention. Do not protest them. Simply surround the families and mourners with love and light. Please pass share among your networks. Thank you!

*************************************************

I have an Aurora mailing address (my neighborhood is unincorporated still) and spent much of yesterday talking to people who were directly affected. One woman’s friend died. Another friend lost a coworker. Another friend was in the theatre next door when the shootings happened, and made it out unharmed, but frightened. Another friend knows a family whose daughter is hanging onto her life by a thread in intensive care. A paramedic friend seemed to be in a fog — the things he saw and the things he had to do will haunt him a lifetime. Another friend shared about a family member who is a nurse, and the stresses the employees are under at the hospital where she works. Everywhere we turn in Aurora, there are stories of heartache and despair. There is still much confusion, and many residents are in a state of shock.

Families and friends of the victims are reaching out to each other, trying to get news, sharing updates and consoling one another using social media. Facebook is full of posts asking, “Are you okay?” and “So glad you weren’t there last night!” Families are simultaneously trying to keep the media away with one hand, while asking for emotional support from people close to them with the other. What would have been private moments in another generation, are being played out in front of a world thirsty for real-time play-by-plays. Unfortunately, what is going on in Aurora  is not a “reality show”. It’s real.

Please remember these families and their friends are hurting. They are in pain, they are in shock, they are confused, and they are exhausted. Some are dealing with the biggest decisions they will ever make. Others are battling with guilt, despair, fear, and grief. While all this is playing out in their lives, they see our facebook posts. They see our tweets. They read our emails, and they hear our radio broadcasts. They too need to use those forms of communication for their own needs.

Our anger is a natural protective reaction to observing a crime. We want to avenge the deaths or the injuries of the innocent by holding perpetrators, and the conditions that create crime, responsible. Our adrenaline is flowing, and releasing it through anger can make us feel better.

Unfortunately, our anger is showing up in places where people are looking for support. Places where these people can’t help but look, and where it hurts them again, and again, and again. The tension our anger creates, hurts the very people we want to protect. Those who suffer today need us to protect them from the anger. They need us to shelter them, help them, comfort them, console them, pray for them, and to be gentle around them. At least for today.

When a victim’s family or circle of friends are reaching out for support, they don’t care if that person is a Republican, or a Democrat, or a member of the NRA, or a proponent of gun control. They don’t care what race they are, or if they were born in this country. They don’t care how they vote, whether or not they own firearms, or if they go to church or synagogue or mosque. What they care about is if that person is ready to hold them when they need a hug, or catch them emotionally if they “collapse”. They want to know that person can be called in the middle of the night, or will mind picking up their kids from school. Or will sit with them while they cry. If the world around them is full of anger, there is no space for their pain.

There will be many months to analyze what happened, to point fingers, to assign blame, to argue, to debate, and to “be right”.  There will be many months to carry a flag, to score political points, and to protest transgressions. There will be ample time to share our anger, if that is what we feel compelled to do. But that day is not today.

I am not saying, “Don’t be angry.” I am saying, let’s be responsible for our anger. Let’s be sensitive to who sees that anger, and how, and when. I’m asking all of us to look deep within our selves and discover alternative ways we can react that will help us all to heal.

Let’s all take a break from acting angry for a day or two. Let’s give people around us a safe space to grieve, to reach out, and to be vulnerable. Instead of using our energy to be angry, let’s use it to comfort those around us. And for those who do not live close to Aurora, there is so much that can be done.

   * Make some handmade cards and send them to one of the area hospitals.

   * Bake some cookies and bring them to your local fire stations and police stations.

   * Organize a car wash and have the proceeds go to a scholarship fund in someone’s memory.

   * Write a check to the Aurora Mental Health    

    * Center to get people the counseling they need for months to come.

    * If you’re in Denver, call your closest  hospital and offer to host a traveling relative. Write a poem of gratitude for all who survived, and share it widely.

   * Go door-to-door and collect contributions to the Red Cross.

   * Start a prayer chain and offer it to victim’s family members.

   * Create a memorial website, giving people an opportunity to share their condolences or their grief.

   * Paint a sign with a comforting message and display it on your front door.

   * Tie black and blue ribbons around your trees (Batman colors).

   * Host a prayer vigil in your own community or at your church, and invite the larger community.

   * Be extra sensitive to teenagers trying to process what happened, and ask if they need someone to talk to.

   * Thank a nurse.

I could go on and on. After Columbine, Colorado witnessed extraordinary displays of kindness and outpourings of love from all over the world. And as the years went by, we paid that gift forward by offering our love and support to other communities in need.  No doubt, this will happen again. This tragedy will once again bring out the best of what makes us human, and our acts of love will make it possible for others to heal.

Until then, let’s all be careful with our on-line communications. Let’s all be the kinds of support we would want available, and easily accessible to us, if our world was falling apart. Let us seek revenge against hate by being pillars of love.

Nancy Cronk

American Red Cross: http://www.coloradoredcross.or…

Aurora Mental Health Center: http://www.aumhc.org/donations…

Congress Spends 72 Million on Sports Like NASCAR

(What say you, Dan? – promoted by ProgressiveCowgirl)

In the most egregious example of wasteful taxpayer spending I have ever seen in my 49 years, Congress rejected an amendment to cut 72 million dollars in spending on sports sponsorships by the military, with 7 million dollars going exclusively to NASCAR. According to Inside Politics, the late-night vote on the floor of the House was heated, with 60 Democrats and 156 Republicans voting to continue funding the program.

The bill was the second effort in two years by Minnesota Representative Betty McCollum, a woman who obviously considers race cars going around a track at least slightly less important than feeding the poor, caring for the elderly, giving life-saving treatment to those who have substance abuse, etc. Even Rep. Jack Kingston, a Georgia Republican from a very NASCAR-friendly area, could not justify spending 72 million on sports when Congress should be tightening its belt. Joining them were Republican Representatives Jeff Flake of Arizona and Jim Jordan, chairman of the House conservative caucus.

Supporters of the bill say the money is used to pay for advertising to recruit people to join the military, despite the fact there is little evidence to support that claim. One wonders how much more effective it would be to invest 72 million additional dollars in care to Veterans, reducing the number of people with PTSD, depression and difficulty finding jobs. Clearly, seeing Veterans return to their communities healthy and whole speaks volumes to potential recruits.  

The Audacity of Mike Coffman: 5 Lies, One Mailpiece

My husband received a flier in the mail yesterday from Congressman Mike Coffman. My husband is a died-in-the-wool Democrat and would sooner eat a box full of living ladybugs than vote for a Tea Party Congressman (and he’s a vegetarian!). Our home has four registered Dems — me, my husband, and our two college age sons (our high school aged son is too young to vote). Clearly the Coffman campaign is targeting Democratic men in his age group — no one else in the family received the hilarious mail piece which reads:

While you were out, Mike Coffman tried to call you…

“I regularly hold tele-townhall meetings in order to know what’s important to you and to better represent you i Washington.”

It then goes on to say, “Mike Coffman / More Transparency in Washington”. The only other things on the simplistic mailpiece are a photo of the Tea Partier , and an enormous red telephone — the kind Batman used to call the Commissioner — minus the flashing button.

On the back, there is a photo of Mike Coffman talking to four business women in black suits, who all look like they just attended a funeral (nice grab at the women’s vote, Mike). The caption reads that they are talking about Anthem College (Anthem what?). Next to the photo is a fake letter listing his bogus top four issues, including, “Saving Medicare and Social Security, Reforming Congress, Cutting Congressional Spending, and Improving Job Growth and the Economy”.  

No, I did not wet my pants laughing, nor did I choke on my dinner as we read the mail, although I certainly could have done so.

To Mike:

1. No, Mike Coffman, you didn’t try to call me. I have Caller ID. We have 5 people living in our house, each with a different schedule. If you tried to call, we’d know it. If you tried to call every one of your constituents, surely you would have reached some. Why would you then need to do a mass mailing with a computerized address field? Do you think voters in S. Aurora are stupid? Lie #1

2. What is a Tele-town hall? Oh, you mean those things where the Robo-dialer calls us and tells us if we want to hear you speak, we should pick up the phone and be talked at?  That is not a town hall. That is phone spam.

How about a real town hall? You know, the kind with real flesh-and-blood human beings who breathe, walk, talk, and have an opportunity to ask you pointed questions? I know Republicans have a hard time understanding the concept of human (eggs and corporations are not human), but surely someone can help you figure it out.

In all fairness, you do a great job of chasing cameras on right-leaning television and radio programs — propping yourself and your talking points in places completely void of real (human) constituents. Lie #2

3. “Transparency”. If you believe in transparency, why do you run every time your constituents approach you in public? Lie #3

http://www.youtube.com/channel…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v…

4. “Saving Medicare and Social Security”. Sir, you called Social Security a “Ponzi Scheme”. Lie #4

5. “Reforming Congress”. On your website, you mutilate the intent of the DISCLOSE Act, a bill designed to make Congress transparent, into some kind of vague “free speech” issue, and come out against it. Sir, you wouldn’t know transparency if it were a 200 foot mirror that fell on your head. Lie #5.

I could go on, Sir, but I won’t. Mr. Coffman — stop lying to your constituents. Have a real town hall, open it up to the public, and post it on your website weeks in advance. Your constituents deserve better. Your constituents deserve the truth.

Homeland Security Gives Gessler Okay for Citizenship Check

Source: AP

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has given Secretary of State Scott Gessler permission to use SAVE — Systematic Alienation Verification for Entitlements — to check citizenship status on thousands of Colorado voters. The system is currently used by government programs such as Medicaid to determine who is, and who is not, eligible for assistance.

Today’s announcement came one week after State Attorney General John Suthers threatened to sue DHS over use of the system. Two days ago, DHS gave similar permission to the State of Florida’s election officials.

Matt Inzeo, spokesperson for the Colorado Democratic Party, expressed concern about the possibility partisanship may have played a role in Suther’s judgment. According to Andrew Cole, spokesperson for Gessler, voters who are suspected of not being citizens will receive a letter alerting them they have been flagged as a non-citizen, and asking them if an error has been made. The County clerks would then have the responsibility of deleting voters who cannot prove their citizenship.

Discuss

Retroactively

( – promoted by ClubTwitty)

Author’s Note: This diary has been updated every time I thought of a new #retroactively joke.

Ed Gillespie, Mitt Romney’s top campaign adviser, stated Sunday on “State of the Union” that Romney cannot be held responsible for decisions made at Bain Capital between 1999 and 2001, because Romney had retired from Bain to run the Olympics in Utah “retroactively.”

Gillespie may regret saying “retroactively”, since it has become an instant butt of many jokes on twitter, and will soon be on late-night television comedy shows, as well.

This got me to thinking — where would we be if we could all change history retroactively? Imagine all of the blogs that never would have been written if everyone could employ the Republican magic trick of revisionism. Just off the top of my head….

Romney got schooled by his high school’s Gay/Straight Alliance. He feels bad now about bullying the kid with the long hair. #retroactively

The Skipper to Gilligan: Professor says there’s a storm coming. No more tours today. #retroactively

Herman Cain: I only have eyes for my wife. #retroactively

Microsoft: Not sure if Vista is ready to market yet. #retroactively

OctoMom: I’m on the pill #retroactively

Al Gore did invent the interweb. #Retroactively

Donner Party: Let’s just wait and go in the spring. #retroactively

Colorado Springs City Council: Cut everything else in the budget, but don’t touch the fire department #retroactively

Curious George: I should just listen to the man in the yellow hat #retroactively

Christine O’Donnell’s Campaign Manager: Don’t even address the witch stuff. They’re trying to change the frame. #retroactively.

Newt Gingrich’s Campaign manager to Newt: Whatever you do, don’t say “moon colony”. #retroactively.

Kate Gosselin’s publicist: Come on Kate, you and I both know you can’t dance. #retroactively

Miss North Carolina 2007 prepares for the interview portion of the beauty pageant. #retroactively

Ruler of Troy: I don’t trust those Achaeans. Don’t let in the giant gifted horse. #retroactively

Dan Maes decides not to run for Governor #retroactively

Scott McInnis decides to do his own research when his name’s on something, double-checking references #retroactively

Ken Buck answers the question “Why should I vote for you” with “Because I honor and respect women”. #retroactively

John Kerry decides not to go windsurfing ‪#retroactively

DesCartes: I thought, therefore I was #retroactively

Mitt Romney decides not to use the Etch-a-Sketch prop ‪#retroactively

All of Elizabeth Taylor’s ex husbands: Of course I did not forget your birthday! #retroactively

Jesus of Nazareth uninvites on-again/off-again friend Judas to his Passover Seder ‪#retroactively

Titanic crew on alert for large masses of ice ‪#retroactively

John McCain chooses General David Petraeus as ’08 running mate ‪#retroactively

Dick Cheney takes a gun safety course ‪#retroactively

Joe Cocker sings “You were so beautiful” ‪#retroactively

Colin Powell decides to check for evidence of weapons of mass destruction before presenting to the United Nations ‪#retroactively

Howard Dean controls his enthusiasm (and his voice) ‪#retroactively

Janet Jackson makes double checks her wardrobe before the Superbowl performance ‪#retroactively

Matthew McConaughey turns down opportunity to star in “Magic Mike” ‪#retroactively

George W. Bush takes Katrina seriously ‪#retroactively

Arapahoe‬ County Former Sheriff Pat Sullivan “comes out” responsibly and gets drug treatment help ‪#retroactively‬.

John Edwards honors his marriage vows ‪#retroactively

Sarah Palin prepares for Katie Couric’s questions ‪#retroactively‬ ‪

Congressman Mike Coffman ‪censors his true feelings about the POTUS #retroactively‬  

Al Gore decides to challenge 2000 election ‪#retroactively‬.

“I was, I said” Neil Diamond sings his hits ‪#retroactively‬.

Anthony Weiner is being careful to keep his tweet pics private ‪#retroactively‬.

Bill Clinton just offered to have that blue dress dry cleaned ‪#retroactively‬.

Mitt Romney brought his beloved dog into the car with the family ‪#retroactively‬.

Baltimore Colts: Maybe we should hold onto that Elway guy. #retroactively

Harry Houdini to self: I better practice that lifejacket escape trick a few more times before I fill the tank with water #retroactively

Bush tax cuts repealed ‪#retroactively‬

Mitt Romney changes his facebook relationship status with Bain to “It’s complicated” #retroactively

Republicans decide Mitt Romney may not be the best nominee #retroactively

NancyCronk: I’m not going to spend half my day tweeting silly retroactively jokes. #retroactively