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Panorama: Mile-High Headlines for Monday, August 11

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The Never-Ending Protest Story Just what will all those young activists who arrive to hang out in tents during the Democratic National Convention do when they are so tired they can no longer “feign sleep,” as they’ve told the Rocky Mountain News? Tent State University representatives, who expect tens of thousands of young activists to come to Denver, say they’ll address that question in part by abandoning plans to pitch tents in City Park and instead converge at Cuernavaca Park near lower downtown. Before 11 p.m. park curfew, the masses will head to a public demonstration zone at the Pepsi Center and pretend to sleep–unless churches and safehouses step in to help. In a separate Rocky story, Tom Hayden, a hippy who helped found the New Left in Chicago, notes that too many rules can cause conflict during demonstrations, which is what happened during the tumultuous 1968 DNC protests. “What caused the rioting in the streets was the lack of permits and the lack of a place to stay. Too much order creates disorder is the way I’ve always put it.” Dems Adopt a Platform Democrats support reducing American forces in Iraq in the next 16 months, developing renewable energy sources, repealing the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, tying the minimum wage to inflation, and improved access to health care. That’s according to a 51-page Democratic platform agreed upon by a 186-member committee in Pittsburgh, reports The Denver Post, which notes that the platform largely follows Barack Obama’s campaign. Peter Groff, president of the Colorado Senate, is happy with the party’s platform, which will be voted upon in Denver during the Democratic National Convention. The Iraq War is now described as “unnecessary” and a “strategic blunder,” a contrast from the 2004 platform, in which the Dems stated that the war was something “people of goodwill” disagree about, according to the Post.

Bad News for Restaurant-Goers (This Means You) The food-safety-and-nutrition watchdogs at the Center for Science in the Public Interest have ranked 20 cities across the nation from best to worst in terms of major health hazards, according to ThatsFit.com, and the news for Colorado ain’t too appetizing. Colorado Springs ranks fourth and Denver is seventh in terms of restaurants with troubling violations, such as employees with dirty hands, foods maintained at improper temperatures, rodent or insect infestations, and the presence of sick workers powering through a shift. The CSPI report says cities ought to consider adopting an A-F grading program like one used in Los Angeles. Cheer up. The news could have been worse. Restaurants in Austin, Boston, and Milwaukee were deemed generally more unhealthy than those in Colorado. Executing a Texas Seven Member, Caught in Colorado On January 22, 2001, police officers surrounded a gang of seven prison escapees from Texas who had been on the lam for weeks, as the convicts hid in a trailer park outside Colorado Springs. Police killed one of the inmates, and the rest surrendered. Now, a second member of the so-called Texas Seven, Michael Rodriguez, a man who killed his wife in 1992, will be put to death in Texas this week, after pleading with the state to end his appeals process, according to the Austin American-Statesman. Rodriguez says in his first, and last, interview that the escape was “thrilling” until a Dallas police officer was killed. While in hiding, he saw pictures of himself and the other escapees on television and thought, “Oh my God. Am I in trouble?” As for his death sentence later this week, Rodriguez says, from a small visiting cage on Texas’ death row, “I’m just moving forward. Look, I’m guilty of what they said–everything.” Denver’s Brown Cloud? Blame That on the Chinese, Too It appears the discounts at the store, many of them made in China, have another hidden cost. Some of the pollution in Colorado’s air emanates from China, according to scientists from Boulder’s National Center for Atmospheric Research, who recently hopped aboard a plane and followed fine-particle pollution containing sulfur, soot, and other pollutants as they wafted from China to the Front Range during the course of a few days. As CBS4 meteorologist Dave Aguilera reports in this print-and-video story, “It’s no secret that China has a pollution problem, but what we may not yet know is how this toxic air is affecting our weather and our health,” Aguilera says of Colorado. Maybe Mike Friedman of the U.S. cycling team should don a mask when he returns to Colorado after the Olympics. Lance Comes in Second Even when he doesn’t win, Lance Armstrong is still the story. The famed cyclist finished second in the grueling Leadville 100 after faltering less than 10 miles to the finish line, all but conceding the race to Dave Wiens of Gunnison. “We climbed up till Turquoise Lake and as soon as we hit the dirt, he said, ‘I’m done, go,'” Wiens said of Armstrong (via the Rocky Mountain News). “At the end, I realized that I was totally cooked,” Armstrong added. “… He said, ‘Come on,’ and I just said, ‘No, I can’t.'” Both finished more than 30 minutes ahead of the rest of the pack. Just what is it about this race? Christopher McDougall explains in this piece for 5280. New Rockies Pitcher Arrives–And Gets Booed Livan Hernandez, the Colorado Rockies’ new pitcher, tried his best. But his best sucked. That’s why he was pulled from the mound during the Rockies’ 16-7 loss to the San Diego Padres. In less than three innings, Hernandez allowed seven hits and nine runs, “equaling the most he has allowed in 374 career starts,” according to the Rocky Mountain News. By the way, welcome to Colorado, Livan. We’re really very nice when you get to know us (and if we’re winning). Phelps Hangs On The fireworks display that opened the Beijing Olympics on Friday might have been faked with computer graphics because organizers feared live cameras would miss the spectacle, but U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps’ emotions are authentic. His face flooded with joy after his team came from behind in a world-record-setting victory in the 4×100-meter freestyle relay, giving Phelps his second gold medal in a quest for eight, according to The Denver Post. Videodose: Filmed in high-definition video, the Colorado Division of Wildlife captures the bizarrely beautiful, early-morning cooing sounds of the “Sand Hills Dancers,” a.k.a., the prairie chickens of Yuma County. Cheapest Gallon of Gas ‘Round Here: $3.69, 500 E. Bromley Lane in Brighton (via www.gasbuddy.com). Weather Today: Slight chance of storms 91 high/62 low Weather Tomorrow: Isolated storms 90 high/61 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.

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