Saturday, July 03, 2004

Sacred Space - This month's feedback: "So there you are: you're ready for a break at your PC, you'd really appreciate just ten minutes thinking about something else, and you really don't want to spend another thirty quid at Amazon, so what do you do? You look over your shoulder to make sure the boss isn't watching, and you type in an address: Yes that's right - Jesuit. Now don't panic! You won't get a Cardinal on your doorstep the following morning selling indulgences, or receive threatening phone messages from the Archbishop of Canterbury. IT'S OK. THIS IS ECUMENICAL. In fact, Sacred Space's feedback page is proof of how beautifully ecumenical it is: people email in from all over the world and from every christian persuasion, testifying as to how much the site has helped them. So what do you get? You get an attractively packaged, easy-to-follow, clearly explained session of guided prayer that has been put together according to the recommendations of an interesting chap from sixteenth-century Spain called Ignatius, who, far from being a member of the Spanish Inquisition, was actually one of its victims. The Jesuits are his official fan club. This website has been put together by his Irish aficionados in Dublin, who have translated it into umpteen (that's a precise estimate) languages, and provide links to other similar websites. I won't say any more about it other than to recommend you check it out...
Chester, England"
BreakPoint | Watershed Moment: "If God is thrown out of our history, we lose our basis for believing that individuals have rights and dignity. In an empty universe, we have no meaning, no value. Without God there are no unalienable rights, and no certain proof that liberty is better than tyranny or that life better than death. Everything is a matter of opinion and power."
Religion Journal: "Moore... has been influenced by one of the newly developing trends among the far left in the United States, that of professing to be a world citizen...people who belong to this group vehemently 'despise their own country and their own traditions.'"

GK Chesterton said the reason that Christians are commanded to love their neighbor and to love their enemy is because they are so often the same person. It's easy to have a fuzzy feeling of love for someone on the other side of the world.
Rocky Mountain News: Opinion: "Moore has pathetically tried to spin (distortions) as objective truth. Did we mention his suggestion that the U.S. is run by a cabal of business leaders who turn a blind eye to terrorism?
Not that this seems to bother many of the film's eager viewers, however, who are pushing ticket sales into territory usually reserved for star-laden blockbusters. And with a three-day weekend coming up, the movie is poised to post even more impressive attendance figures.
Fahrenheit 9/11 certainly does for the aggrieved political left what The Clinton Chronicles did for the livid right a decade ago. Seemingly well-researched, Chronicles told a disturbing tale of bribery, money-laundering, drug-running and even murder during Bill and Hillary Clinton's tenure in Arkansas. The difference, however, is that Chronicles was largely ignored by both mainstream film distributors and the reviewing media. Why? Because it was rightly perceived as vulgar propaganda intended to smear an incumbent president as he approached another election.
This re-election year is obviously different, but far from being a 'dissenting' hero, Moore is but one more contestant in the race to the polemical bottom, coming at a time when truth is often the first victim of the supermarket media values now embraced by a depressing number of mainstream journalists. Fahrenheit 9/11 places Moore squarely on the growing list of charlatans and hucksters engaged in a steady business pawning off their fabrications on an unfortunately credulous public."

Rocky Mountain News: Opinion: "It would be bad enough if Amendment 34 simply repealed a law that has existed for little more than a year and hasn't even been given a full chance to prove its worth (although anecdotal evidence suggests it's working just fine). Unfortunately, the amendment goes further: Its sweeping language against laws that 'limit or impair a property owner's right to recover damages' opens the door to lawsuits against any seller of property - an extraordinary departure from the enshrined principle of caveat emptor in the sales of older homes. And the amendment puts this expansive invitation to litigation in the state Constitution, where it can't be tweaked by lawmakers if it proves to open Pandora's box."

Who will fight Amendment 34 which is being pushed by the trial lawyers?
Rocky Mountain News: Opinion: "We are not leaving future generations worse off. Rather, today's bounty is leaving them with more capital and larger stocks of natural resources.
The basis of a better environment turns out to be the same 'secret' behind all other success stories, human ingenuity. As humankind grows more creative in using the natural world to improve life, the natural world responds with bounty. Julian Simon believed that the ultimate resource is human ingenuity. 'With every mouth comes two hands and a mind,' he said.
Or, as the great political economist Aaron Wildavsky put it, scarcity has yet to win a race with creativity."
Rocky Mountain News: Education: "Colorado currently has one of the lowest rates in the nation of high school graduates going on to obtain a college degree."
The New York Times > Washington > Campaign 2004 > Strategy: Party Appeal to Churches for Help Raises Doubts: "'I find,'' he said, 'that a lot of church people, including a lot of evangelicals, are increasingly nervous about the credibility of the Bush administration on issues that a year or two ago people were ready to trust them on, like foreign policy.
'Rather than just assuming that evangelical churches are ready to hand over their membership lists, they would do much better to spend some time trying to convince us that they really do have the interests of biblical Christians at heart.'" :: The Official Re-election Site for President George W. Bush New Bush advertisement counters Kerry's claim to be an expert on terrorism because of a book he wrote.
The New York Times > Theater > News & Features > A Comedian Is Serious About Winning New York: "Mr. Moran, however, is not famous in the United States. 'I'm Joe Schmo here,' he said on a recent afternoon from his temporary apartment in Chelsea. 'Actually, I'm not even Joe Schmo here. I'm Joe Schmo's little brother.'"

Running for elected political office seems a lot like the problem the problem that the comic faces-- building an audience. That's what I'm trying to do with this blog, the 0ne-page newsletter John Wren's Journal & Downtown Denver Datebook (email me if you'd like me to send you a copy each week), and talking to as many people who live in the district as possible. How am I doing? Should I try and get my first laugh quicker?
The New York Times > Washington > Campaign 2004 > Trend Still a Friend, the Bush Camp Says: "The work force participation rate dropped to 62.3 percent in Friday's report from 64.7 percent in the spring of 2000. Despite big monthly jumps in employment this spring, the participation rate has barely moved.
Some of that loss may be explained by demographic shifts and an increase in self-employment that does not show up in the official numbers. But the data still suggests that the American job creation machine may not be as vigorous as it once seemed.
Administration officials say that almost all economic indicators point to strong economic growth for the rest of the year. That, they add, proves that Mr. Bush's program of tax cuts and 'putting more money in people's pockets'' was the correct prescription for a recovery.
Administration officials also point out that the monthly jobs data is notoriously jumpy, based on estimates from two often-conflicting surveys. In an economy with 147 million workers, the margin of error in measuring fluctuations of 100,000 or 200,000 jobs is enormous and the numbers themselves are extremely volatile."

Friday, July 02, 2004

AP News - from Tampa Bay Online Kerry's going to e-mail in his choice for VP.
The Society for Philosophical Inquiry: "spreading a version of Socratic inquiry that enables each of us, within a group setting, to become more autonomous thinkers and doers and more expert questioners and listeners."

Socrates Cafe was locked out of Panera Bread tonight, which unexpectedly closed early because of the holidays. Should be open for us next week, sorry to anyone who couldn't find us a Pasquini's.

Topic tonight: Socratic Citizenship. What does it mean to be a citizen? How do we judge our political leaders? Do we have a different standard for elected officials and those who are seeking office for the first time? Books: Socratic Citizenship.

Thursday, July 01, 2004 | News: "DENVER (AP) - The four candidates seeking Colorado's open Senate seat clashed along party lines over tax cuts Thursday in the first debate to match all of them at once ahead of next month's primaries. " Check out the video by clicking above on KUSA and then on Video.

The NFIB (National Federation of Independent Businesses) who hosted the debate distributed a flier with the headline "Coors Says NFIB Endorsed Bill Is Not 'Appropriate'" It quotes Coors at the Arapahoe County Men's Club on Wednesday, June 23, where he called NFIB supported legislation "the Pork Bill."

Many attending tonight were unhappy with Coors lack of experience in and understanding of the small business community. In the debate Coors admitted he's never had a job outside of the positions he's held with giant Coors Corporation. Bob Schaffer has had a wide range of work and business experience, in addition to his outstanding record as a legislator-- the NFIB has endorsed him every time he has run and has rated his voting 100%.

The four candidates for U.S. tonight at the University of Denver Newman Center.

The National Federation of Independent Businesses hosted the debate. Tim Jackson, Colorado head of NFIB talks with his assistant Melissa about the well organized ticketing operations.

Rep. Ramey Johnson attended with her daughter and campaign manager.

Roland Chicas welcomed those attending and talked about his campaign.

Schaffer supporters ralley outside the Newman Center where the debate was held.
Colorado Symphony Orchestra: "Celebration of America* ~ FREE
Saturday, July 3 at 7:30 p.m. at Red Rocks Amphitheatre
Also featuring the Colorado Symphony Chorus.
No Rain Date." Full moon Saturday, this should be a fantastic concert! - LOCAL NEWS: "violent deaths are to be expected on streets where unprovoked assaults have become a sport."

Building the new jail (the city has purchased the Rocky Mountain News building to use for this purpose) right in the middle of downtown Denver, across from the new convention center, may set the right tone for visitors, given our increasing crime rate. A friend of mine told me yesterday about arriving in Chijuajua, Mexico. The train station is right across the street from the territorial prison. "It made me wonder what I'd gotten myself into." Will vistors to Denver have the same thoughts as they look out the giant convention center windows at our new jail have the same effect on Denver visitors? Once they escape their convention, will they want to stick around or come back with their families? What will happen to our already poor Denver tourist trade?
Colorado Senate Candidate Debate: "NFIB will host a debate with the top four candidates for the open U.S. Senate seat representing Colorado. Candidates
invited to the debate were required to have at least a 5 percent ranking in credible, published public opinion polls.

Who: Candidates Pete Coors, Mike Miles, Ken Salazar, and Bob Schaffer
When: Thursday, July 1, at 6:30 p.m.
Where: The Gates Concert Hall inside the Robert and Judi Newman Center
for the Performing Arts at the University of Denver

*For more information, contact the NFIB/CO office: (303) 860-1778,"
Rocky Mountain News: Columnists: "'There are five guys in suits in Washington telling us whom we should select,' Miles added. 'That's not the way it should be. It should be regular people making a choice.'
What a nice sentiment. And you thought it was just the Republicans who believe that money is everything in politics. It turns out that the the so-called Party of the People makes the same cynical calculations. "

The New York Times > Movies > Friends and Foes of 'Fahrenheit' Lobby Everyone: "Liberals were not alone in celebrating favorite films on Monday. In Sacramento the conservative group Move America Forward, whose Web site criticizes 'Fahrenheit 9/11,' organized an advance screening of the Disney documentary 'America's Heart and Soul,' due in theaters on July 2. That film, directed by Louis Schwartzberg, celebrates ordinary Americans and, Disney says, their extraordinary stories. 'Disney brought the movie, rented the theater and even paid for the popcorn,' Howard Kaloogian, the chairman of Move America Forward, said. 'It's a very patriotic film,' he continued. 'It's in the finest tradition of inspiring Disney movies.'
Mr. Kaloogian said that 'about 100' people attended.
Dennis Rice, the head of publicity for Walt Disney Studios, said that Disney had no connection to Move America Forward. 'We've screened this movie close to 100 times,' he said. 'Where were the media calls when we showed it to the Sierra Club or the AARP?'
Mary Lee Pennington of Sacramento said she heard about the Disney film on a conservative talk show on a Sacramento station and took her granddaughter, Paige Siri, to the screening. She said that the Disney film 'makes you feel how lucky we are to live in a country that has the opportunity for freedom.'"
~ Opens Friday, July 2
AMERICA'S HEART AND SOUL - Chez Artiste Theatre

Filmmaker Louis Schwartzberg packed up his camera and hit the road on a
mission to meet ordinary Americans with extraordinary stories, and to
capture the unparalleled beauty of the land and the incomparable spirit
of the people. Schwartzberg celebrates the nation through the voices of
its people, capturing their values, dreams and passions in a journey
that reveals the stories-unusual, captivating, inspiring and
emotional-that make us into something more than just a collection of
individuals. Soundtrack includes a new original song by John Mellencamp.
This film is Rated PG, 88 minutes, and plays daily at 12:00, 2:00, 4:30,
7:30, 9:20.

Landmark Theatres Exclusive! Director Louis Schwartzberg travels the
country with a 35mm camera on his shoulder:

I saw a preview of this movie, very uplifting, a great way to brighten the 4th of July weekend! Helps us feel good about being Americans!

Wednesday, June 30, 2004 - Local Politics: "Coors - running for the Republican nomination against former Congressman Bob Schaffer - bought $400,000 worth of TV ads in the Denver, Colorado Springs and Grand Junction markets.
'It's what we've got to do to get the message out there to make sure all the voters know what I stand for,' said Coors, who is making his first run for elected office.
To pay for the ads, Coors is relying on donations, not his own personal fortune."

If Pete Coors wanted to start playing baseball, would he expect to make the Rockies starting line-up? Of course, with his name on the stadium, maybe he could pull it off. And that's pretty much what he's doing in this campaign; he is trying to buy what Bob Schaffer has earned.

One of the rules of fundraising is that rich people like to give money to other rich people. Coors may be getting contributions, but it is by calling in chits that could be used in many other more worthwhile causes.

I've seen Coors in two debates against Schaffer and in one personal appearance. I saw them both make their announcements on the West steps of the Capitol, I've seen them both at the Republican State Convention, and I've seen them both give talks to groups without the other present. I've read their campaign literature, and I've spoken to them both personally several times.

To any reasonable person, the choice is clear. Bob Schaffer has the best chance of winning the general election this fall against whoever the Democrats decide to put up, and he will do the best job of serving all of Colorado once he is elected.

This primary race may have been helpful to the GOP up to this point. But it is time for Pete Coors to join in the effort to elect Bob Schaffer. To do anything else is an exercise in vanity. It is time to tell the beer-barron he wears no political clothes. Pete, it is time for you to drop out of this race and pledge your time, talent, and treasure to getting Bob Schaffer elected.
The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: Beware of Certitude: "Don't jump to hasty derision. As Mark Twain advised, the problem is not just what we don't know, but what we do know that ain't so. "

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

IOL: EU 'must encourage new business': "Minister Ahern said all entrepreneurs did not fit into the same category.

�On the contrary they are extraordinarily diverse, coming from a wide range of backgrounds, with very different educational qualifications and skills, very mixed age and experience profiles, very different attitudes to risk and very different motivations,� he said.

�Faced with such diversity, it seems clear that there can be no single magic formula that will deliver significant progress in improving the entrepreneurial culture in an economy.

�On the contrary it points to the need for a wide range of diverse actions, each tailored to the needs of particular niches or sub-groups.�"
Opinion -The Olympian: "Promoting the idea of a regional primary election or caucus, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson said, 'It's critically important that the entire West be a battleground region, not individual states.'
Colorado Gov. Bill Owens agreed, saying Western states need to get moving now to have a system in place in time for the 2008 presidential selection process.
'It's so clearly in our best interests that hopefully we can overcome the challenges of getting it passed by a number of state Legislatures,' Owen said. "

For the past year as part of his duties as President of the National Newspaper Association, Bob Sweeney has given talks at state press association conventions around the country. Next week he'll be traveling to Memphis for the Tri-State Press Convention, see for the details.
Denver NNA Convention Information: "The National Newspaper Association's Annual Convention & Trade Show is the only national meeting devoted to the challenges, opportunities and shared experiences of community newspaper management. More than 300 owners, publishers, and senior management people, who are dedicated to producing profitable newspapers to better serve their communities, will gather in Denver, CO, September 15-18. " My friend, Colorado's own Bob Sweeney is the President this year of the NNA. I had breakfast this morning with Bob and discussed the possiblity of having a debate between the two candidates for the U.S. Senate as part of the convention. The topic: "Grassroots Politics and the Importance of Community Newspapers." It would be co-sponsored by CoCaCoP, the Colorado Caucus Community of Practice.
Rocky Mountain News: Health & Fitness: "The Step Diet is based on five principles that Hill and colleagues have determined underlie successful efforts to shed pounds and keep them off:
1. Maintain the proper energy balance.
2. Small changes drive success.
3. Start with physical activity.
4. Anticipate success, but not instantly.
5. The maintenance of weight loss is more important than the speed or amount of weight loss.
'The whole book is based on small, incremental changes,' Hill says. 'You can get people to make big changes, but they're not sustainable.' "

Do we really need to read the whole book to agree with these principles? I try to get outside and walk at least 20 minutes every day, 40 minutes is better. No problem doing this with my current campaign for HD5! Problem is more to maintain the proper energy balance! - LOCAL NEWS: "'Those who are interested in continuing to move the voucher issue forward are likely going to try to (craft) another bill that will try to get around constitutional language,' said Ron Brady, president of the Colorado Education Association, which fought the voucher law on behalf of several families, the NAACP, and the League of United Latin American Citizens." How can the CEA (and others) be against vouchers and FOR the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD) that takes public money for the support of private arts organizations?
The New York Times > National > Surge in Homeless Families Sets Off Debate: "Other cities not on HUD's list are also reporting increased family homelessness, including Charlotte, N.C.; Bridgeport, Conn.; and Denver." This is a real problem that cannot be ignored. Yes, we need to do all we can to care for the poor. We also must look at the root causes and not just spout platitudes and build more soup kitchens, the political equivalent of taking an anti-depressant and not making changes in the way of living that is causing the depression. William F. Buckley has always been involved in the search for these root causes:
The New York Times > Washington > National Review Founder to Leave Stage: "In explaining his decision, Mr. Buckley said he had taken some satisfaction in the triumph of conservatism since then, though he expressed some complaints about President Bush's unconservative spending and some retrospective doubts about the wisdom of invading Iraq. But his decision, Mr. Buckley said, had more to do with his own mortality." Watching WFB each week on Firing Line, as I was encouraged to do by one of my economics professors at the University of Denver, had a lot to do with me becoming politically active, interested in philosophy, and committed to truth and justice.

Monday, June 28, 2004

Bob Schaffer For Senate :: The Honorable John Andrews and Mr. William Chrismer hosted a private lunch at the Pinnacle Club today to benefit Bob Schaffer and his campaign for U.S. Senate. Special guest was Bob's friend Congressman Pete Hoekstra, Chairman of the Technical and Tactical Intelligence Subcommittee who just returned from Iraq. "Things will be difficult for the next 9 to 12 months, but we have done the right thing and we will look back in the future positively on what has been done."

Schaffer and Hoekstra personally visited and investigated the Department of Education, a black man who had worked in the mail room since it had opened in 1973 said they were the first elected officials from the House or the Senate who had every paid a personal visit. The result was a slush fund of nearly $100 million was uncovered.

Here are a few photos from today's event:

Congressman Pete Hoekstra (R-MI), Bill Chrismer, Bob Schaffer, and Sen. John Andrews, at a private lunch hosted by Chrismer and Andrews to benefit Schaffers campaign for U.S. Senate. Hoekstra, who just returned from Iraq, said we need to send Bob to the Senate to shake it up the way they were able to shake up the House in 1994.

Bill Chrismer and Sen. John Andrews welcomed those attending.

Bob and Christine Burke, who encouraged the group to contact 10 friends and associates to encourage them to vote for Bob, tell them why, and then encourage them to call 10 of their friends.

Bob Schaeffer with two of the business people attending the event.

Rep. Nancy Spence, who Bob Schaffer lauded for her outstanding service and endorsed in her current campaign for the State Senate seat being vacated by John Andrews, and Congressman Pete Hoekstra, from Holland, Michigan. John Andrews was born just a few miles from Holland, where he was inspired by his uncles service in the Michigan legislature.

Small business owner Art Onweller and host Bill Chrismer.

Rocky Mountain News: America At War Very interesting BBC poll is a sidebar to this AP story. I'm part of the 20+% who think we were right to go into Iraq and that things will improve now that we are turning back control. The next couple of months will be very interesting, we can all agree on that.
The New York Times > Washington > Related Sites: Politics Navigator Scores of useful political websites, just updated.

Sunday, June 27, 2004 Books: Socratic Citizenship. Many critics bemoan the lack of civic engagement in America. Tocqueville's ''nation of joiners'' seems to have become a nation of alienated individuals, disinclined to fulfill the obligations of citizenship or the responsibilities of self-government. In response, the critics urge community involvement and renewed education in the civic virtues. But what kind of civic engagement do we want, and what sort of citizenship should we encourage? In Socratic Citizenship, Dana Villa takes issue with those who would reduce citizenship to community involvement or to political participation for its own sake. He argues that we need to place more value on a form of conscientious, moderately alienated citizenship invented by Socrates, one that is critical in orientation and dissident in practice.
Colorado Vincentian Volunteers - ecentral Each year Bill & Mary Francis Jaster gather a group of young people for a year long journey, living and working with the poor. Take a look at the video on this excellent website. - EDITORIALS Should we move the date for our wonderful Colorado neighborhood caucus from the 2nd Tuesday in April? The Denver Post in this editorial today says yes. We'll be discussing what can and should be done to fight or support this proposed change in caucus date at our next CoCaCoP (Colorado Caucus Community of Practice) July 14, 6:30 p.m., Panera Bread, 1350 Grant here in Denver. for more click on the CoCaCoP link here, or give me a call at (303)861-1447. - BUSINESS Tom Tancredo wants money wire transfered to be taxed. What does the Colorado Union of Taxpayers think about that? First Data, which owns Western Union and is one of Colorado's largest companies, thinks Tancredo's new tax is a bad idea. I agree.
The New York Times > Magazine > Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark The CSO (Colorado Symphony Orchestra) concert conducted a few weeks ago by Jeffrey Kahane, our new Music Director, started with an inspiring talk by him about the importance of the symphony and good music to a community. This NYT article is interesting, but misses the spirit that Kahane articulated so well.

As he began the concert, Kahane told us from the podium that Beethoven, the great German composer keep a little plaque on his desk as he wrote: "The stars above, the moral law in my heart". Music reviewers (and marketing people, administrators, and board memebers, too, I'd say) who don't understand this are killing the arts with temporary fixes, like the SCFD, rather than engaging in the evangalism that is necessary for healthy, long-term growth. This NYT article today again misses it entirely. Good music is more than mere entertainment.

While I was Director of Marketing for the Denver Symphony Orchestra, Helen Black told me that when she presented the idea of building a venue for the DSO at Red Rocks to the mayor, she started by asking, "how would you like to do something to help the spiritual life of Denver and Colorado?"

Based on Helen's advice, and that of Gene Amole and many others who understood the real value of good music, we used evangalism to create more DSO sell outs than ever before or since.

That's why I was against the SCFD when it was first brought to the voters, and why I'm still against it today. Not because I'm against the arts, but because I'm for the arts. What do you think?

Saw Troy with Brad Pitt as Achilles "I call no man king."