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Panorama: The Fail Out

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Mile-High Headlines for Tuesday, September 30

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Bailing on the Bailout
The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped nearly 778 points yesterday, its worst single day since crashing in 1987, according to The New York Times. The driver, of course, was the House of Representatives’ vote to kill a massive $700 billion bailout for crises-mired financial institutions. The decline seemed to stop this morning, owing to optimism that Congress may yet approve some kind of economic rescue package, according to another Times story. Only five of Colorado’s public companies gained ground on Wall Street Monday, according to the Denver Business Journal, noting that two were gold miners, a sign of trouble, as money generally flows to time-tested gold in hard times. Signs of economic trouble in Colorado spread to Colorado Springs today, where city officials have started to notify 90 employees that their jobs will be cut, representing a five percent reduction in the workforce there, according to the Colorado Springs Gazette.

Gauging the Reps on the Bailout
Colorado’s seven representatives were split along no partisan lines in the 228-205 House vote against the $700 billion bailout. Democrats Mark Udall and John Salazar joined Republicans Marilyn Musgrave and Doug Lamborn in voting against the plan, according to The Denver Post. And Democrats Diana DeGette and Ed Perlmutter joined Republican Tom Tancredo in supporting it. (5280.com blogger Jeralyn Merritt offered timely links to the reps’ statements yesterday.) If you were for the bailout, blame the failed vote on a lack of leadership in Congress, writes The Los Angeles Times. Or better, blame it on the power of the people. “No grass-roots constituency supported the idea,” the L.A. Times notes, making it difficult for representatives to come aboard. Conservative Republicans viewed the plan as akin to socialism, and liberal Democrats fretted that the plan was a giveaway to the wealthy investors, leaving struggling homeowners without options. This morning, President George W. Bush, appearing frustrated, according to The Washington Post, warned that the United States will face a “painful and lasting” economic future without a bailout.

Obama Blames Bush for Economic Failures

When Barack Obama finally emerged to speak to a cheering crowd at Mountain Range High School following a long delay yesterday, he said he was discussing the bailout with top leaders (see snippets of video via The Denver Post). The situation, he said, is an outrage. He then blamed the policies of President George W. Bush, linking Republican presidential candidate Senator John McCain to the crisis (as covered in the Rocky Mountain News and The Denver Post, among others). Obama’s 40-minute speech, which highlighted concern for the plight of the middle class, came only minutes after Congress killed the $700 billion plan. McCain wasted no time blaming Senator Obama and other Democrats for the failed vote in the House, even though a majority of McCain’s own party voted against it. Obama injected partisan statements into the process, the McCain campaign charged, according to Reuters, derailing GOP support–a charge that left Obama’s campaign to retort that McCain’s statement itself was “hyper-partisan.”

Michelle Obama’s Trip to Boulder
More details on Michelle Obama’s visit to Colorado have emerged. The potential first lady will be at the University of Colorado at Boulder’s Farrand Field, a large sports and events field, tomorrow at 11:15 a.m. Gates open at 10 a.m., according to the Boulder Daily Camera.

Ritter Is Anti the Anti-Affirmative-Action Amendment
Chances are that unless you’re a total political wonkster, you’ve never heard of California businessman Ward Connerly. Unless you were with Governor Bill Ritter yesterday on the west steps of the Colorado Capitol, listening as he called Connerly a “carpetbagger,” according to The Colorado Independent. Ritter is upset with Connerly’s backing of Amendment 46, a measure that seeks to erode affirmative action by ending racial and gender preferences in government jobs and contracts. Ritter says the measure would harm Colorado’s economy and “destroy years of progress,” and Connerly is pushing similar initiatives in several other states this election. Amendment 46 backers, meanwhile, complained that Ritter’s administration violated state law by using state resources to campaign against the measure, according to the Rocky Mountain News, a charge Ritter denies. However, Ritter’s director of economic development, Don Elliman, admitted using state time to invite people to a forum on Amendment 46 earlier this month that “featured a well-known opponent of such measures, but no one who supported them.”

Final Sentencing in Death of Little Chandler
The sad story of the abuse of seven-year-old Chandler Grafner, and his death by starvation, has come to an end. Sarah Berry, 23, said nothing but cried yesterday as she appeared in Denver District Court to be sentenced to 48 years in prison for her role, according to The Denver Post. Berry plea-bargained prosecutors on August 11, admitting guilt to second-degree murder, just a day before Jon Phillips, the man she lived with and who had custody of Chandler, was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison without parole. Berry and Phillips had custody of Chandler and Chandler’s younger half brother, Dominick Phillips. Testimony found that Chandler, who died on May 6, 2007, was forced to live in a small closet, where he was denied food, water, and even trips to the bathroom. Judge John Madden IV said to Berry yesterday that the case had affected a lot of lives. Berry must serve 36 years before she is eligible for parole, according to the Rocky Mountain News. Prosecutors defended the decision to allow Berry to plea bargain, saying it spared Dominick and other witnesses a second trial and because evidence suggested Phillips was more responsible for the death.

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Good Point, Coach
Don’t blame the defense for the Broncos’ 33-19 loss to Kansas City on Sunday, says coach Mike Shanahan. The offense was horrible, too. Well, that’s not exactly how Shanahan put it when he pointed out, in post-game reflection yesterday, that “much of the blame for the team’s first loss of the season” could be pegged to the offense, which had four turnovers and a single touchdown in “four trips to the red zone,” according to The Denver Post. “Those were the stats that had Shanahan most concerned Monday.”

Kroenke Secures Stake in London’s Arsenal
Stan Kroenke, who controls the Nuggets, Avalanche, and Rapids, is suddenly receiving praise from one of the world’s mightiest soccer teams: Arsenal. Specifically, the gushing emanates from Arsenal chairman Peter Hill-Wood, who only last year said “we don’t want his sort” after Kroenke expressed interest in owning part of the English league team. But as Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov sought to expand his own stake in the team and subsequent rumors of a takeover surfaced, Hill-Wood changed his tune, paving the path for Kroenke to become a non-executive director with a 12.4 percent share in the Arsenal, according to Britain’s Independent.

Audiodose: A writer at the Greeley Tribune interviewed Democratic presidential Senator Barack Obama on Monday. Hear the interview here, as Obama talks about the emerging green energy industry and its role in Colorado’s economy.

Cheapest Gallon of Gas ‘Round Here: $3.30, Western Convenience, 10515 South Parker Road (via www.gasbuddy.com).

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