Saturday, December 29, 2007

(If you just looked at my video to the left, it talks about last Thursday's posting here. A change to make my welcoming video to date-neutral is in process! John)

On this day in: 1845 - Texas is admitted as the 28th U.S. state.
1851 - The first American YMCA opens in Boston, Massachusetts. 1934 - The first college basketball game at New York City's Madison Square Garden is played between the University of Notre Dame and New York University.

The Rocky Mountain News finally mentions our Colorado Caucus in today’s edition, a sidebar to the indepth coverage they have been giving us of the Iowa Caucus. Let’s hope they follow this up with more between now and February 5.


The Rocky finished a 3-part series on the Iowa Caucus today. You can finally find it on the Online Edition front page. I posted this comment:


"This is the way representative government is supposed to work."

I certainly agree.

But we need to improve the process here with our Colorado Caucus.

We say we Saved the Caucus when Amendment 29 was defeated in 2002, but it won't really be saved until it gets adequate media coverage, which has clearly not been the case for the last couple of decades.

Next week after the Iowa Caucus, will you come back and give this same kind of coverage to our wonderful Colorado Caucus? And will you or someone from the Rocky join us at the new Denver Grassroots Rally to tell us more about Iowa and the lessons we could learn from it for February 5? RSVP at http://cocacop.meetup.com/2

At this meeting we'll be giving recognition to the best pre-December 5 (the critically important deadline for affiliating with a party to be eligable to vote February 5) coverage of the Colorado Caucus, and announcing a similar contest for pre-February 5 coverage.

News Tip: the winner of the pre-December 5 coverage contest will be the one newspaper in Colorado that gave the deadline a front page headline. If the story was that important, why was it given so little attention in Denver? I'll give you my opinion at our Jan 4 Denver Grassroots Rally next Friday. Join us and tell us what you think! Just show up, or RSVP at http://cocacop.meetup.com/2




Also in the Rocky today, a great idea from Dave Kopel to localize a new Google service that allows people who are quoted, or misquoted, in a newspaper article to immediately respond. Another way to elaborate on or correct misquotes? Our new Denver Grassroots Rally, which I explain in my comment to Dave’s article. What do you think? Post your comment at: http://www.rockymountainnews.com/news/2007/dec/29/kopel-let-news-figures-comment-further/#comments

Friday, December 28, 2007

(If you just looked at my video to the left, it talks about the day before yesterday’s posting here. I got a late start yesterday, the sun isn’t up yet! Guess I’ll change the welcoming video to date-neutral… after the sun comes up! John)

On this day in: 1869 - William E. Semple of Mount Vernon, Ohio patents chewing gum. 1895 - The Lumière brothers have their first paying audience at the Grand Cafe in Boulevard des Capucines marking the debut of the cinema. 1912 - The first municipally owned streetcars take to the streets in San Francisco. 1973 – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s book The Gulag Archipelago was published in Paris, France. 2000 - U.S. retail giant Montgomery Ward announces it is going out of business after 128 years.

Today in 1973, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's history of the Soviet prison camp system, The Gulag Archipelago, was published in Paris, France. The book is based on Solzhenitsyn's experiences in the camps for eight years, as well as 227 other inmates he interviewed. When the book was released in the Soviet Union, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was arrested and exiled, but he was also finally able to go to Sweden and collect the Nobel Prize in literature he had been awarded in 1970.

On this day in 1895, Auguste and Louis Lumiere demonstrated the first movie projector, the cinematographe, in Paris, France. It projected its images out onto a screen, unlike Thomas Edison's kinetograph, which was a peep show that the viewer looked into, and it weighed only 20 pounds compared to Edison's half-ton invention. The first film they showed was "Workers Leaving the Lumiere Factory." The movie opened with a concierge unlocking the gates, showed people walking through, and ended with the concierge closing the gates again. They made more than 2,000 films like this, without plots or characters, and thought of them just as moving pictures, and despite the thousands of people who lined up at their viewings every night, the Lumieres thought that movies would be a passing fad and Auguste went off to school to become a medical scientist, and Louis went back to working on still photographs.

Immigrants are responsible for more than one-third of the nationwide USA population growth of 2.87 million over the past year. New residents, both international and American, continued to flock to the South and West and away from the Northeast and Midwest.

Colorado gained 95,267 residents between July 1, 2006, and July 1, 2007, making our estimated total population 4,861,515. Texas gained more people than any other state. Its 2006-2007 increase of almost 500,000 was ahead of runner-up California, which added slightly more than 300,000.


Denver is the 4th most literate city in the country -- going past San Francisco and Boston, according to a study released this week by Central Connecticut State University.

But the oft-talked about "Colorado paradox" -- meaning the state's higher-than-average education levels in the workforce reflect that the state has imported them, and K-12 and higher education systems are not keeping pace -- could hurt the city's ranking in the future.

Central Connecticut State President Jack Miller studied 69 cities' Internet usage, newspaper readership and library memberships, among other factors. Minneapolis held the top spot.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

I just sent this out as a letter-to-the-editor:

Why I'm a Democrat
by John Wren

On December 5, the deadline for affiliating with a party to be able to vote in the February 5 precinct caucus, I became a Democrat. A friend says I’m BAD, a Born Again Democrat. Some of my friends are asking why.

I started my political life as a Democrat. When I cast my first vote for President in 1968, it was for Hubert Humphrey. My friend was disappointed I didn’t support Eugene McCarthy.

A few years later when I owned a small business, Richard Nixon sent me what seemed to be a personal letter. This was before the wide spread use of word processors, so I wasn’t hard to fool.

Nixon’s letter got me thinking about politics, so when my business failed and I retreated to graduate business school at the University of Denver, I was easy pickings for cute girls at the College Republican’s table at registration.

This was during Watergate, so it was easy to rise to the top of College Republicans. Soon I was State Chair, meeting with Dwight Hamilton, Bob Tonsing, and the Colorado Republican’s Executive Committee each month. I helped Karl Rove give seminars around the country teaching about how to appeal to young voters. I appeared on a Republican National Committee TV special called “Republicans Are People, Too.” At that year’s National Convention here in Colorado, Karl and I met Dick Wadhams (then 18-years old, now Colorado GOP Chair).

Since then, I’ve been a Republican precinct committee person, district captain, and volunteer for various Republican candidates and organizations. In 2002 I was part of Save the Caucus which defeated Amendment 29 which would have killed our wonderful Colorado grassroots political system.

Over the years, everyone who I’ve respected, from Karl Rove to Phil Perington (past Colorado Democrat State Chair who was driving force behind the Save the Caucus effort) have said that it is important to affiliate with one of the major parties, but which one was a matter of personal taste.

Democrats are slightly biased towards justice, Republicans towards freedom, but they are both for freedom and justice. The 2-party system that has served us so well over the years is just a tool for encouraging good debate between the best and the brightest each party can put forth for each office. It’s like sports; I cheer for my team, but I’d be insane to believe my team was God’s choice, too.

David Fogel (past Denver County Dem Chair who helped with Save the Caucus) and Republican leaders I’ve spoken with privately have said that what makes the most sense politically is to join the majority party in your county if you are interested in helping improve local government. Pat Waak and Dennis Gallagher seemed open to the idea of me changing. So that’s what I’m doing. After 30 years, I’m a Democrat again.

Why now? The final blows were: 1) A note I got from a Denver Republican volunteer telling me that if I was prolife, they wouldn’t help me as a precinct committee person, making concrete the underlying current in the Denver GOP; 2) I was sensitive to this issue ever since I’d had no cooperation from a former Republican district captain because of the same issue; and 3) Finally, when Denver GOP leaders were so forceful about their support of pro-death candidate Rudi Giuliani. It became clear it was time for me to leave.

Besides, my beautiful finance Mary is a Democrat! She has shown me the light! We hope to both be volunteers at the Convention here next summer. Who knows, maybe we’ll decide to get married then. But that may be too soon. We’ve only known each other for 42 years; you don’t want to rush into these things!
(If you just looked at my new video to the left (on JohnWren.com), it talks about yesterday’s posting here. I got a late start yesterday, the sun isn’t up yet! Guess I’ll change the welcoming video to date-neutral… after the sun comes up! John)

On this day in: 1904 - James Barrie's play Peter Pan premieres in London. 1932 - The Radio City Music Hall in New York City opens. 1947 - Howdy Doody, a children's television program, makes its debut on the National Broadcasting Company. 1968 - The long-running radio program The Breakfast Club signs off for the last time (ABC radio). 1979 - The Soviet Union seizes control of Afghanistan.

It's the birthday of novelist Wilfrid Sheed, who wrote My Life As a Fan (1993), about his love of baseball, and In Love with Daylight: A Memoir of Recovery (1995). He once said, "The American male doesn't mature until he has exhausted all other possibilities."

Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee is pursuing legislation to make clear that it is not against federal law for an employer to require employees to speak English on the job. Sen. Alexander’s was prompted by a lawsuit filed in April by the EEOC against the Salvation Army for allegedly discriminating against two of the Army's employees in a Framingham, Ma., thrift store for requiring them to speak English on the job. The Salvation Army in Massachusetts clearly posted the rule, and the employees were given a year to learn. There were 200 similar lawsuits filed by the EEOC in 2006.

Entrepreneur Magazine has identified the organizing and facilitation of peer support groups as a growing trend and one of the top hot businesses to start.
See: http://www.entrepreneur.com/startingabusiness/businessideas/article73778-4.html

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

On this day in: 1606 - First Performance of William Shakespeare's King Lear. 1906 - The Story of the Kelly Gang is released, widely considered to be the world's first feature film. 1946 - The Flamingo Hotel opens in Las Vegas. 1979 - Soviet Special forces take over presidential palace in Kabul, Afghanistan.

From: The New York Enterprise Report
It Doesn’t Have to be Lonely at the Top--Your board of advisors is waiting to meet you at a local peer group meeting.
By: Mark A. Newman

As a business owner, it is not unusual for you to feel somewhat isolated. After all, you are the top dog in your own company. However, there are times when it would be helpful to have other top dogs to throw bones to, so to speak. In other words, no matter how much of an expert in your industry you are, it's always helpful to discuss challenges with your contemporaries.

But where do you turn when you are in a class by yourself?

The answer may lie in a professional peer group consisting of fellow business people from a variety of (non-competitive) industries who are facing similar problems and issues as you. Unlike traditional networking groups, many peer groups cater exclusively to top C-level business leaders and owners who are looking to solve problems in a more informal environment than an oak-paneled boardroom.


Ask me about the new business peer advisory group I'm now forming.
John Wren

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas!
It's a White Christmas here in Denver.

On this day in : 274 - Roman Emperor Aurelian dedicates a temple to Sol Invictus on the supposed day of the winter solstice and day of rebirth of the Sun. 336 - Western Christians first celebrated Christmas on December 25. 800 - Coronation of Charlemagne as Holy Roman Emperor, in Rome. 1066 - Coronation of William the Conqueror as king of England, at Westminster Abbey, London. 1776 - George Washington and his army cross the Delaware River to attack the Kingdom of Great Britain's Hessian mercenaries in Trenton, New Jersey. 1818 - The first performance of "Silent Night" takes place in the Church of St. Nikolaus in Oberndorf, Austria. 1979 - The Soviet Union airlifts forces into Afghanistan to begin its costly occupation. 1990 - The Internet is established.

Christmas is an annual holiday that celebrates the birth of Jesus. It refers both to the day celebrating the birth; as well as to the season which that day inaugurates, and which concludes with the Feast of the Epiphany.

The date of the celebration is traditional, and is not considered to be his actual date of birth. Christmas festivities often combine the commemoration of Jesus' birth with various cultural customs, many of which have been influenced by earlier winter festivals. Although nominally a Christian holiday, it is also observed as a cultural holiday by many non-Christians.
From Wikipedia
On this day in: 1818 - "Silent Night" is composed by Franz Xaver Gruber and Josef Mohr. 1953 - NBC's Dragnet becomes the first network-sponsored television program. 1968 - Apollo Program: The crew of Apollo 8 enters into orbit around the Moon, becoming the first humans to do so. They performed 10 lunar orbits and broadcast live TV pictures that became the famous Christmas Eve Broadcast, one of the most watched programs in history.

From today's Rocky Mountain News:

Worried about shrinking ice caps? First, do the math

In "Anti-warming strategy outlined," the Rocky Mountain News wasted 36 column inches on Dec. 19, advertising the global warming nonsense of Charles Kutscher, spokesman of Environment Colorado, and unnamed "Boulder scientists" who, according to Kutscher, claim the Arctic could be "completely ice-free within five to 20 years."

Really? The Greenland ice cap is 3,000 meters (9,000 feet) thick. It's melting at the rate of 20 millimeters (less than an inch) per century, according to the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report. At that rate, it'll melt in a mere 1.5 million years. And Antarctica, much larger than Greenland, is gaining - not losing - ice.

Oh, wait, perhaps Kutscher just meant floating sea ice. But melting of floating ice causes no rise of sea level. In spite of that, Kutscher asserts sea level will soon rise "at the rate of more than a foot per decade." Ahem . . . Mr. Kutscher, sea level has risen 400 feet since the end of the last Ice Age, 20,000 years ago. That's an average of two feet per century, or less than two-and-a-half inches per decade. In the recent 50 centuries, the rate has been half a foot per century - much, much less than Kutscher's claims of "a foot per decade."

Why does the Rocky continue to bombard us with this ignorant nonsense?

Kutscher and the rest of Environment Colorado seem unqualified to do simple arithmetic. I see Kutscher is a past president of the American Solar Energy Society. Now I understand what Kutscher is selling. What is the Rocky selling? Tax increases?

Richard C. Savage holds a doctorate in meteorology. He is a resident of Franktown.


Great moments in Presidential history as poetry:
http://www.snopes.com/politics/bush/piehigher.asp

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

On this day in: 1913 - The Federal Reserve Act is signed into law by President Woodrow Wilson, creating the Federal Reserve. 1947 - The transistor is first demonstrated at Bell Laboratories. 1979 - Soviet war in Afghanistan: Soviet forces occupy Kabul, the Afghan capital.

Mary and I saw Charlie's War last night about how Charlie Wilson the Congressman from Texas ran a covert operation to defeat the Soviet in Afghanistan. Shows the importance of staying the course, or the foolishness of nation-building, depending on which way you look at it. What do you think? Tell us what you think about this or anything else you have on your mind at our next Denver Grassroots Rally. More information and RSVP at http://cocacap.meetup.com/2

To caucus or not to caucus, that is the question in Colorado Springs:
http://www.gazette.com/articles/assembly_31202___article.html/process_rayburn.html

I'm suggesting we talk about today’s Fred Brown column at our next Socrates Café:
http://socratescafe.meetup.com/82