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Panorama: Mile-High Headlines for Friday, August 8

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Going, Gone! If you happened to blink yesterday, you probably didn’t get one of the 30,000 tickets (the number reserved for Coloradans) to Barack Obama’s presidential acceptance speech at Invesco Field, less than three weeks away. There are no tickets left, Democratic officials announced yesterday afternoon, resulting in a flurry of you’re-too-late-now articles and online postings, including this one by The Denver Post. About 60,000 requests emanated from Colorado, leading Obama’s campaign to set up a waiting list and a campaigner to gush that the “incredible response and excitement shows that there is huge appetite for change in Colorado.” The Rocky Mountain News chronicles the frustration of one hopeful ticket seeker, Javier Johnson, a 27-year-old journalism student at Metropolitan State College of Denver, who dialed “at least 50 times,” first getting a busy signal, then endless ringing. Maybe Johnson will have better luck getting in to see Bill Clinton, who, according to The New York Times, will be speaking at the convention after all, on August 27. Oprah Lands Stylish Digs for DNC Barack Obama’s famous buddy, the wildly popular talk show host Oprah Winfrey, is renting a house in a “historic neighborhood near Cherry Creek” for the week of the Democratic National Convention, according to a source quoted by the Rocky Mountain News. The house on South Gaylord Street (that’s more like the Wash Park neighborhood than Cherry Creek) will cost her $50,000 for the week, although a spokeswoman says Oprah’s “attendance at the convention has not been confirmed.” Oprah famously endorsed Obama early in his campaign. The big names are helping to create what The Wall Street Journal calls “Denver’s Convention Housing Bubble,” with locals asking sometimes exorbitant amounts for rent in the hotel-room-starved city. Meanwhile, The New York Times spends 36 uninspired hours in Denver for its upcoming Sunday Travel section. (We recommend these alternatives.)

Protesters Vow to Take to the Streets Everyone already knew that protesters were planning to take their messages opposing the war and corporate influence to the streets during the DNC. Yesterday, following a decision by a federal judge to uphold security arrangements, the stakes seemed to go up. Peace activist leaders, noting that millions of dollars are being spent on arming police with crowd-control equipment for the convention, now believe police will “act violent every single day,” according to a story and video on the Denver Post‘s website. Moreover, activists say they are determined to march toward the Pepsi Center, establishing the first words of what now appears to be a coming confrontation. An attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union, which has represented the activists, say there will be no appeal of U.S. District Judge Marcia Krieger’s decision and that a related case challenging restrictions at Invesco Field will also be dropped. The ACLU doesn’t think it’s winnable given the outcome of the first case, according to the Rocky Mountain News. Is the Looming Destruction of Earth a Local Story? At Panorama, we aim to provide a mirror to Colorado’s Front Range. Occasionally, we have reason to go beyond, and today is one of those days, as if we are reading a Kurt Vonnegut Jr. novel, turning our thoughts to Switzerland, home of hot chocolate, some Alps, and the Big Bang machine. That last item–more precisely, the Large Hadron Super Collider in Geneva–is our main concern. The 27-kilometer engineering marvel consisting of super-cooled electromagnets, a giant beryllium beampipe, and other bells and whistles, such as a super-slim luminosity detector, is part of mankind’s ongoing quest for an alleged “God substance”–the essence of creation that might just be derived from the hot soup of fundamental particles created right after the Big Bang. You know, quarks, leptons, force carriers. But when the geeks in the lab coats flip the switch (probably in October), they will do it knowing many people fear the contraption might somehow create a black hole, sucking in the scientists who designed the blasted thing, then engulfing Geneva, and, finally, the rest of Earth, including the 5280 office in downtown Denver, according to Wire Service Canada and other news sources. Hogwash, say the scientists. Even if a microscopic black hole did form, they say, it would only last for a fraction of a second (via Novosti Russian news service). Feel safer? Olympics Kick Off Today Authoritarian China finally welcomes athletes today, opening doors to the world for 17 days of competition. As International Olympic Committee chairman Jacques Rogge tells The Denver Post, China’s 5,000-year-old history will be on display. About 80 heads of state, including President George W. Bush, are expected to attend the opening ceremonies in an event that took seven years to prepare. Some 550,000 foreign visitors will mingle with 2.5 million Chinese tourists, 20,000 journalists, and 13,000 coaches and athletes, according to the Rocky Mountain News. “The 2008 Games are China’s coming-out party as a 21st century superpower, a showcase for its 1.3 billion people and its culture, and the capstone to one of the most dramatic national turnarounds in human history,” the News opines. The Other Side of the Summer Games Had Phillip Bartell, a Buddhist tattoo artist from Boulder, decided to unfurl a banner supporting Chinese-occupied Tibet from light poles outside the Olympic stadium in Beijing at any other time, his treatment might have been much harsher. Instead, he landed in San Francisco yesterday after being questioned for 10 hours and threatened with time in a Chinese jail, according to The Denver Post. Eventually Bartell, another American activist, and two Brits, were taken to a Chinese airport and forced to buy their own tickets home. As Rapids Hit the Pitch, Fans Find It Hard to Be Hooligans The Colorado Rapids take on Toronto FC on Saturday, hopefully to end what has been a rather mundane season. As they do, it’s unclear whether the rowdy fans in the supporters’ part of Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, Section 100, will have much fun. The team has clamped down on their antics, which to some fans “doesn’t make sense, since the Rapids and soccer itself need all the love they can get in a country where other major sports are far more popular,” according to Westword. Rockies: Stick a Fork in ‘Em The Colorado Rockies “fell and fell hard Thursday,” losing two games 6-3 to the scrappy Nationals in a dismal showing that leaves the Rockies 13 games below .500, according to the Rocky Mountain News. “We were painted in a little bit of a corner coming in,” manager Clint Hurdle tells the paper. “We put some more paint on it.” Cheapest Gallon of Gas ‘Round Here: $3.73, Sam’s Club, 9601 Grant St. in Thornton (via www.gasbuddy.com). Weather Today: Probable heavy rain 82 high/59 low Weather Tomorrow: Isolated storms 90 high/60 low Enjoy what you’re reading? Starting August 18, Panorama will be available as an e-newsletter. Sign up now, and receive our Mile-High headlines each weekday morning via email. Send headline tips to [email protected].

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