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Panorama: Mile-High Headlines for Monday, July 28

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Your Tent or Mine?
It’s a tale of two tent communities. The first is that of Tent State University, that movement of young kids who will come to Denver brimming with ultra-liberal hopes that they can change the world by pitching hundreds, perhaps thousands, of tents in City Park during the Democratic National Convention. That probability left Mayor John Hickenlooper lecturing like an uptight daddy on conservative Mike Rosen’s radio show, warning that officials won’t tolerate a sleepover in the park and may even turn on the sprinklers as of the 11 p.m. curfew, according to the Rocky Mountain News. The article notes that officials are loathe to give the activists any impression they have an invitation to crash at the park. On the other hand, the article doesn’t investigate where the 50,000 kids might go after the sprinklers turn on. However, an entirely separate article in the Rocky indicates that some protesters might get to sleep in a tent anyway–the city’s gigantic tent jail.

Strange Days: A Century Ago at the DNC

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When Democratic delegates arrived at Union Station a century ago for their party’s national convention, they were greeted by paid Apache Indians, brass bands, and snow that was hauled in from the mountains to wow Southerners who’d never seen the stuff. Denver, then just 50 years old, aimed to cast aside its reputation for gunfights, gambling saloons, and “soiled dove” prostitutes, according to the Rocky Mountain News, and the convention seemed a good way to start. Times were tough for suffragists, who toiled in vain to persuade Democrats to include a women’s voting plank in the national platform. And early civil rights leaders began to consider the Democratic Party, back then still known as the party that had supported slaveholders. Most blacks were not ready to support the Dems then, notes the Colorado Independent, but 60 years later–during the civil rights era, when leaders like John F. Kennedy tuned into African Americans’ concerns–the party won their solid support.

“Big Oil” Label Could Help GOP

The upside of negative campaigning is that it may leave a solid impression that the other candidate is an evil super-villain. The downside of such ploys is that they might backfire. The latter appears to have happened in the case of Bob Schaffer, a.k.a. “Big Oil Bob,” according to the Washington Times. Schaffer, a Republican oilman who is facing Democratic Representative Mark Udall for Senate, recently narrowed a significant gap in recent polls, and one reason is that more Coloradans favor drilling for oil. As pollster Floyd Ciruli told the newspaper, “I’ll bet he’s quite pleased to be Big Oil Bob. He’s arguing that we should find more production and that the Democrats are restricted by their excessive environmentalism.”

But “Big Oil” Label Could Hurt Dems

It’s tough to figure out when exactly things got so nasty between Jared Polis and Joan Fitz-Gerald, two of the three Democrats vying to replace Representative Mark Udall in the 2nd Congressional District. The latest slug comes from Polis, who is reeling from a recent negative ad questioning his record as a member of the state’s Board of Education. In an apparent counter-ad, Polis claims Fitz-Gerald receives money from “big oil” buddies, whom she has supported by backing a law to “increase oil company profits.” The ad comes after Polis’ campaign claimed a specific oil-and-gas interest was behind the ad attacking Polis. However, the Polis campaign then issued a clarification after being notified by the Rocky Mountain News that a union leader was behind the ads. Coloradopols is monitoring this one by the second. Meanwhile that third wheel in the campaign, Will Shafroth, has received the endorsement of The Denver Post, for being “the best fit” in the district that includes Boulder, as well as popular ski towns and exurban towns, like Dacono.

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Denver Lawyer Part of Mexican Dream Team

In Texas, when a murderer doesn’t face the death penalty, it is surprising–especially if a police officer has been killed. That’s happened more than once now, according to 740 AM radio in Houston, which calls 2008 a “tough year” in that regard. And the case of Juan Quintero has provoked outrage. Quintero was deported to his native Mexico in 1999 after being convicted of molesting a child. He then reentered the United States and in 2006 shot and killed a police officer during a traffic stop. Quintero avoided a death sentence after the Mexican government, which opposes the death penalty, hired a dream team that included Denver civil-rights attorney David Lane. Quintero’s lawyers argued that he was insane and had a brain abnormality, according to The Denver Post. “Defending a death-penalty case can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to more than $1 million,” Lane told the newspaper. “None of these defendants has any money, and the cases fall to public defenders, at the taxpayers’ expense.”

Dog Daze: Local Warming
Looks like Denver will get bragging rights to all those sweltering, shirt-sticking-to-the-back-of-the-blazing-car-seat days. The city is on track to saunter right past the record of 18 consecutive days with highs in the 90s, which was set in 1874 and tied in 1901. Denver recorded its 15th straight day in the 90s on Sunday, and forecasters like Stacey Donaldson at CBS4 say other than a bit of rain in the next couple days, don’t count on relief anytime soon. In fact, temps on Thursday and Friday could hit 100 degrees. A self-described “fitness geek” at Examiner.com has a few tips for staying cool while staying fit. For one, carry a bottle of water that’s half frozen.

Audiodose: Although Colorado is the leanest state in the nation, KUNC commentator Dr. Marc Ringel notes in this piece that obesity is still a problem for many locals. But technology may now play a role in reversing the trend.

Cheapest Gallon of Gas ‘Round Here: $3.75, Safeway, 3900 W. 144th Ave. in Broomfield (via www.gasbuddy.com).

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Weather Today: Possible thunderstorms and 93 high/67 low
Weather Tomorrow: Possible thunderstorms 94 high/69 low

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