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The self-reliance of Colorado Springs

Critics have ridiculed Colorado Springs for a budget that has cut services, left city jobs unfilled, darkened some streetlights and called on citizens to provide upkeep of public parks.

"It's real simple, all you have to do is call the city Parks and Recreation Department, or go to the city website,, and they can connect you with Proud of our Parks. They've done a wonderful job of connecting neighborhood groups with the parks themselves and getting them adopted so they can be maintained," said Mayor Lionel Rivera in a recent video. "Our city's budget for Parks and Rec has dropped from $20 million to $3 million from 2008 until now. We know the economy's going to be turning around but in the short run, we need citizen activism."

Whether this call-to-action is a solution, or a stop-gap, remains to be seen. But there are at least two observations worth making.

One, the Springs city council this week declined to support the so-called Local Jobs for America Act, yet another taxpayer-funded federal boondoggle (with a $100 billion price tag) that could reportedly send $42.8 million to the Springs.

“Everybody thinks it’s somebody else’s money, and everybody else is feeding at the trough, so we should, too,” said Councilman Sean Paige, reported the Colorado Springs Gazette. “In small ways, we as a city need to start to say no.”

Two, when presidential candidate Barack Obama came to Colorado Springs in July 2008, he said that asking "for your service and your active citizenship" would be a "central cause of my presidency."

Colorado Springs has since made "active citizenship" a necessity.

Pres. Obama, with an emphasis on government-to-the-rescue, now oversees a federal debt that may soon equal the U.S. gross domestic product.

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How to kill jobs and harm the economy

We love Big Government. How would we ever be protected from ourselves without it?

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Who is Elena Kagan's hero? One guess...

What makes Barack Obama, Barack Obama? Elena Kagan, the President's nominee to the Supreme Court, knew long ago that he wasn't just a community organizer but "a hero." There were the "rock star qualities that he has, the eloquence, the magnetism, the great looks, the brilliance..."

We could go on today (about the deficits, the federal takeovers, the apologetic foreign policy), but please, a moment of silence to appreciate Kagan's genuflection...


The legislative session is over. Time to assess the damage . . .

We just received an email from Bobby Clark, executive director of ProgressNow Colorado, in which he names this legislative session's "Winners and Losers." Clark names state Rep. Max Tyler, D-Lakewood, a winner saying:
Rep. Max Tyler has quickly established himself as one of the most thoughtful and articulate members of the Colorado House.
Funny, last night during debate on the teacher tenure reform bill that lasted past 11 p.m., Rep. Max Tyler made an unfortunate (decidedly inarticulate and thoughtless) metaphor, comparing education to baking and likening children to maggot-infested flour. Although he later apologized, people were shocked nonetheless.

"I've also seen a number of stories about, 'Why can't we run schools like a business, for crying out loud?'" said Tyler. "Well, if you were running a business baking bread and the flour came in to you full of maggots and worms and you had to use it, that would be kind of the...You would not be able to produce a very good product, would you?"

There was some speculation that the opponents of the teacher tenure reform bill were going to try to extend debate past midnight, which would have effectively killed the legislation, but the vote was taken with less than 45 minutes to go. Apparently the lobby of the House was full of impassioned teachers who could barely hold back their emotions as the vote was called.

WSYS had some fun posts from the session this year.
Rep. Joe Miklosi was haunted by the specter of Karl Rove.
Rep. Jeanne Labuda totally misstated how Colorado appoints judges despite the fact she has passed the Colorado Bar herself.
Sen. Josh Penry tried to limit Colorado's autopilot spending.
Rep. Dan Kagan gave a hilarious speech to dispense with the reading of the minutes.
Sen. Chris Romer doesn't ". . . want to do class warfare" but thinks it's "time to go back to a progressive tax."
Sen. John Morse posted a video on his blog FREAKING out on

If you've heard the term "Sine die" regularly and always wondered what it meant, we have a WSYS lesson below:

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Hickenlooper's "First Class" rail plans - with your money

Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper helped sell metro Denver on a 122-mile commuter rail and light rail system that is now more than $2 billion in the hole. But that hasn't dimmed his ardor for Coloradans riding the rails - or his desire to spend other people's money.

At a recent gubernatorial campaign event in Fort Collins, Hickenlooper was asked his views on passenger rail on the Front Range.
"Geographically, we are perfectly set for it," he said. "We're probably 10, probably 20 years away from having enough density. You have to look at what is the capital cost...And what does that cost per person, do we really get a benefit to society, if you have enough people that would use it?

"Even as busy as the road is, you probably wouldn't get enough use of it right now. Ten years, maybe 15 or 20 years, absolutely...The Rocky Mountains concentrate people along the Front Range, which sets us up for some kind of system like that. So, that will definitely happen. It will happen in our own lifetime. Hopefully...high speed. It only grandfather always said, 'It only costs a little more to go first class.'"

Actually, such a mass transit project would cost a FORTUNE, according to an Rocky Mountain Rail Authority feasibility study.

And high-speed rail might do little to relieve traffic congestion, according to Randal O'Toole, who was an early critic of Denver's $4.7 billion FasTracks referendum in 2004 and has written detailed criticisms of federal and regional rail spending.

"'Not a single high-speed track built to date has had any perceptible impact on the road traffic' in Europe, says Ari Vatanen, a European Parliament member," O'Toole wrote in a 2009 column, "A High-Speed Rail Mirage." "California predicts its 220-mph trains would take just 3.5% of cars off of roads. California highway traffic grows that much every two years."

Now if Hick wants to fly first class or - with these kind of numbers - via private jet that's up to him and his wallet. But earth to grandpa - first class costs 5 to 10 times as much as coach and private can cost far more. Pretty typical liberal thinking to lump "a little more" right along with 10 to 100x. "A billion here and a billion there and pretty soon you're talking about real money." Who said? Usually attributed to Everett Dirksen but clearly not BELIEVED by John Hickenlooper.

[Updated 5/12/10]

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DNC chief sends an invite to the Tea Party

You know the Democrats are worried about the mid-term elections when Tim Kaine, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, pitches Pres. Obama as a deficit hawk.

"And now the President, with the bi-partisan deficit commission, chaired by former Sen. [Alan] Simpson and Erskine Bowles, is going to be incredibly helpful, I think, in addressing the size of the federal base budget," Kaine said in an interview with David Brody of CBN, starting at 3:43 of the video. "So to those members of the Tea Parties, or others, who are worried about the size of government - this is a president who wanted to do it in a bi-partisan way with the deficit commission, but Republican sponsors voted no - he still has moved ahead, and you're going to see actions taken by the Administration to deal with the size of government."

How about this action: STOP SPENDING.

"In other words, the policy changes embodied in President Obama’s 2011 Budget puts our country $2.5 trillion deeper in debt by 2020 than it otherwise would be if current law were left unchanged," according to this Heritage Foundation analysis after Pres. Obama issued his budget in February.

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President Reagan's 1983 touching Mother's Day Address

Today is a day to remember our mothers. In 1983, President Reagan gave this Mother's Day address:

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