Friday, May 16, 2008

“When a person takes part in community action, his health improves. Something happens to him or to her biologically. It's like a tonic." "The older you are, the freer you are, as long as you last." "Take it easy, but take it." "I came up as the Titanic went down." (Note: Also as the Colorado Caucus came up.) Studs Terkel, born on this day (New York, 1912.) He moved with his family to Chicago in 1922 where he spent the rest of his life, eventually as a radio & TV broadcaster, author (Working, Touch and Go), and social historian.

From an interview with Studs Terkel on Democracy Now! in 2007:

AMY GOODMAN: I want to play a little bit of the tape, that—the interview that you did with Bertrand Russell. It was 1962. You interviewed the British philosopher at his home in North Wales. This is an excerpt:

STUDS TERKEL: Why do people, the great majority of people the world over, feel as helpless as they do, they feel as impotent as they do? This seems to be in the air, I’m sure, all over the world, feeling that the individual, I, John Smith, John Doe, says, “I can’t do anything about it.”

BERTRAND RUSSELL: That’s just [inaudible]. They can. I mean, an individual, if he has the pluck and the independence of mind, can do a very great deal. Actually, here we sit, no organization, none whatever, and simply by expressing an opinion which is known to be unbiased, an individual can effect a very great deal. And this powerlessness of the individual is a form of cowardice; it’s a pretense, an alibi for doing nothing.

AMY GOODMAN: That was Bertrand Russell, the British philosopher. Studs Terkel, it was in the midst of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

STUDS TERKEL: Right there. I’ll never forget that. He was very strong. He said he sent cablegrams to Khrushchev, to Nehru and to Kennedy. He said, “I heard from two of them: Khrushchev and Nehru. Didn’t hear from your president.”

It’s 5 a.m. now as I write this. After waking early, I just listened to this interview with Studs Terkel. Very moving.

I woke feeling discouraged, but as I listen to Studs, read about him, and write this for you, I'm filled with enthusiasm: You and I can make a difference. Let’s get started! Faith without works is dead.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

''Books are not rolls, to be devoured only when they are fresh.'' Clifton Fadiman who was born today (May 15, 1904- June 20, 1999). He was a critic and editor (Book of the Month Club) and host of the once popular “Information Please” radio show, who throughout his life urged young people to be serious and to read classic literature.

On this day in 1940 the first McDonald’s opened in San Bernardino, Californa.

An editorial in the Denver Post this morning tells us that the city is falling short in raising the $55 million promised to bring the Democratic National Convention to Denver this August. At this point, it would be easy to say “so what” and just figure they can’t do anything but hold it here at this late date. But in my opinion that would kick away a big, big opportunity to promote Colorado through a national email and TV fund raising effort. Here’s the comment I just posted on the (click here to see it): Denver Post editorial:

How about an outreach to small contributors on a website, get Obama and Clinton to both pass along an email to their small contributors encouraging support of the convention with $25 on the website?

How about getting Mayor J.Hic, or better yet Elbra Wedgeworth who did such a great job bringing the convention here to Denver, on Oprah to talk about the convention. Or a special Jerry Lewis style telethon that would raise money for both the Dem and GOP convention? Support it through all the symphony orchestras across the country, maybe get them all to turn one of their free city concerts in early summer into fundraising events for the conventions. Maybe do something similar through small theatres, promoting Colorado theatres at the same time.

With some imagination, raising money from small contributors could promote Colorado and increase our tourist traffic for the next 100 years.

We'll brainstorm this at our next IDEA Cafe, tomorrow (Fri, May 16)and each Friday until the money is finally raised at Panera Bread, 13th & Grant here in Denver. More info and RSVP at

Let’s start the brainstorming right now! What do you think Denver could do to raise the money from small contributors? Post your comment here or better yet on the Denver Post editorial.

Mayor J.Hic (and you) would be more than welcome to join us for the next Denver Speakers Corner, June 8, 4 p.m. North Pavilion, Civic Center Park. More info, including a video of our first meeting, and optional RSVP at

We can't get the Mayor on Oprah, but we can get him (and you) on YouTube!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

On this day in:
1607 - Jamestown, Virginia is settled as an English colony.
1787 - In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, delegates begin to meet to write a new Constitution for the United States.
1796 - Edward Jenner administers the first smallpox vaccination.
1804 - The Lewis and Clark Expedition departs from Camp Dubois and begins its historic journey by traveling up the Missouri River.
1948 - Israel is declared to be an independent state and a provisional government is established. Immediately after the declaration, Israel is attacked by the neighboring Arab states, triggering the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.

Does far left plus far right equal fair?

That's really the question it seems to me, as CU proposes to endow a chair for a conservative.

I'm going to suggest this as a topic at the Denver Socrates Cafe this week. If discussing this sort of thing is interesting to you, join us!

We meet each Thursday at 19th & Broadway in downtown Denver. Details and optional RSVP at

Monday, May 12, 2008

  • "If you obey all the rules you miss all the fun." Katherine Hepburn (1907-2003) who was born today.

    Not Quite What I was Planning: Six Word Memoirs from Writers Famous and Obscure collects almost 1,000 six-word memoirs, including additions from many celebrities including Stephen Colbert, Amy Sedaris, Dave Eggers, Richard Ford, Deepak Chopra, Moby, and more. Legend has it that Hemingway was once challenged to write a story in only six words. His response? “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.”

    Here’s mine: “61 years now, feel like 16.”

    The Rocky Mountain News gave almost no coverage to the 1st Congressional District Assembly that was held Saturday at Denver’s South High School. Here's my comment on the sad state of affairs I just posted on their online version:

What else in Denver attracts this many people and gets so little news coverage? Thanks for your very good color comentary, Tina, but where is the play by play record of the game?

It's not here because John Temple has openly declaired war on our wonderful Colorado Caucus. Can we apply to Scripps Howard to get a replacement? Someone who really cares about Colorado and our traditions?

With support from at least one of our daily newspapers, the Colorado Caucus could become as big as the Iowa Caucus, which Mr. Temple found interesting enought to SEND A FULL TIME REPORTER. Why don't we get the same coverage here at home?

Mad as hell and not going to take it anymore? Join us at Denver Speakers Corner next June 8th, 4 p.m., North Pavillion in Civic Center Park. More info, video of our 1st meeting w/ Dennis Gallagher, and optional RSVP at

Sunday, May 11, 2008

On this day in 1934 - Dust Bowl: A strong two-day dust storm removes massive amounts of Great Plains topsoil in one of the worst dust storms of the Dust Bowl in North America. On Mother’s Day in 1934, Bill & Bob talked for the first time, which lead eventually to them founding Alcoholics Anonymous.

Yesterday I attended the 1st Congressional District Assembly at Denver’s South High. The Denver Post this morning said a little about it, and this is the comment I posted at the bottom of that article:

There were thousands of Democrats in Denver's South High yesterday for our 1st Congressional District Assembly and Convention. This was a big, big story. Where's the news coverage in today’s paper? Would someone help me understand why the Denver Assembly wasn't front page news today? Annette, did you attend, it's hard to tell from your story. Why no photograph?

I then wrote a rather long article about my experience yesterday and posted it on the Denver Post's Your Hub. Maybe you can find it there, I couldn't after the post went up, and I don't want to waste my entire morning. I'll try again tomorrow.

Did you go to the assembly yesterday? What was your experience?