Mile-High Headlines for Thursday, September 25
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A Bailout Plea
President George W. Bush appeared on national television last night to tell Americans “our entire economy is in danger.” There are problems in the markets, and there could be “financial panic” followed by “a long and painful recession,” he said (via The Wall Street Journal). That is if Congress doesn’t get over its widespread criticism and pass a proposed $700 billion economic bailout plan allowing the government to buy “unmarketable assets, such as mortgage-backed securities, that economists say are clogging the financial system and blocking access to many types of credit.” It’s a tough sell in the Rockies. Denver Democratic Representative Diana DeGette’s office received about 900 calls and e-mails, mainly from people opposed to the plan, according to The Denver Post. Colorado Springs Republican Representative Doug Lamborn’s office has similarly been flooded. At last count, 315 of the constituents who cared enough to tell him what they think said they oppose the bailout and ten support it. Colorado lawmakers are not exactly thrilled by the plan, according to the Rocky Mountain News. U.S. Senator Ken Salazar, for instance, is “frankly, mad” since Bush recently said the economy was fine. Following testimony yesterday, U.S. Senator Wayne Allard said he’s not ready to vote in favor of it, as “some questions were answered; many remain unanswered.”
Just to Help You Get a Clearer Picture of $700 Billion …
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s reference to a $700 billion economic bailout for the nation’s troubled financial institutions is a bit like watching a re-run of “Cosmos,” featuring Carl Sagan (rest in peace, my friend). All that talk of billions and billions eventually can leave you speechless, if not awestruck. Finally, someone got creative in explaining the ongoing crisis, Slate to be exact, providing a breakdown of the ominous price tag that has taxpayers shaking their heads. First, there are about 300 million men, women, and children in the United States. Keeping in mind that not all of them pay taxes, the bailout comes out to roughly $2,300 per person, about the same amount a typical American pays personally in taxes. Twelve Bill Gateses is the equivalent of $700 billion. The net worth of the entire Forbes 400 is about half the value of the bailout. James Cameron would have to film 381 blockbusters as popular as his $1.8 billion “Titanic” to foot the bill.
Interior Department Scandal: Rape Investigation
Senators Ken Salazar and Patrick Leahy, of Vermont, are asking the Bush administration whether a possible rape involving a figure at the center of the recent ethics and misconduct scandal in a Lakewood federal office has been referred to police, according to The Denver Post. The August 7 report highlighting improper relationships between U.S. Minerals Management Service employees and the oil-and-gas industry also documents a woman’s account of a potential sex crime perpetrated by former royalty-in-kind program supervisor Gregory Smith. The specific allegation is that he forced a woman to perform oral sex on him. Representative Louise Slaughter, of New York, hopes the woman in the report approaches her office for assistance and to consider pressing charges. Meanwhile in congressional testimony yesterday, Interior Department officials, including Earl E. Devaney, the Interior’s inspector general, said it was “probable” there were undiscovered financial losses at the royalties office, according to The Washington Post’s Investigations blog.
McCain Campaign Talking Points Accidentally Sent to Press
PolitickerCO writes that Republican John McCain’s regional office inadvertently sent an e-mail containing a memo giving campaign volunteers answers just in case anyone asks why McCain is canceling a much-anticipated debate with Democrat Barack Obama on Friday. The memo, which highlights the unfolding economic crisis, states, in part, that McCain is “confident that before the markets open on Monday we can achieve consensus on legislation that will stabilize our financial markets, protect taxpayers and homeowners, and earn the confidence of the American people.” McCain spokesman Tom Kise made the mistake of pressing the send button to the wrong group of e-mail recipients. Following a reporter’s query, it occurred to him what he did. Kise told the reporter, “F*ck, tell me I didn’t send it to the wrong list,” according to The Colorado Independent.
The Bitter Battle for the Fourth: Next Episode
Voters tasked with deciding whether to keep U.S. Representative Marilyn Musgrave in office or to give Betsy Markey a shot are witnessing an onslaught of very vicious television commercials. In one video, Republican Musgrave alleges “millionaire Markey” is “caught up in corruption and scandal.” In the other, Markey accuses Musgrave of spreading “lies.” At the heart of both commercials is Musgrave’s allegation that Markey abused her position in U.S. Senator Ken Salazar’s office, helping her family business, Syscom Services, gain lucrative government contracts, according to the Fort Collins Coloradoan. In a separate story, the Coloradoan, seeking to get to the bottom of the controversy, asked the General Services Administration to review contracts between 2005 and 2007, when Markey worked for Salazar. “There’s no evidence” that Markey or her family “did anything improper in obtaining” the contracts, the newspaper writes. Markey wants a district attorney to intervene, accusing Musgrave’s campaign of running a “slanderous” ad in order to gain advantage in what is widely expected to be a close race, according to The Loveland Reporter-Herald.
Goodbye, Supreme Court. Hello Pizazz?
The gavel has finally fallen on the Supreme Court restaurant and bar on the southeast end of the 16th Street Mall. Investors in the Sheraton Hotel complex that houses the 11,000-square-foot restaurant willÂ transform the Supreme Court into Katie Mullen’s Irish Pub by year’s end, according to the Denver Business Journal. (A decent replacement for the not-so-long-lost and oft-missed Duffy’s Irish bar and restaurant, perhaps?) The owners will spend $2 million to bring “Celtic libations,” a long bar, live music, and Irish food to the space. Owner Paul Maye and his Irish family, who own four pubs in Northern Ireland, chose Denver to open their first U.S. location in the hopes of perfecting the concept for Chicago, Miami, New York, and California. It’s the kind of solution the city and Downtown Denver Partnership have wanted for years, hoping to offset the popularity of Lower Downtown and spark interest at the higher end of the mall, according to the Journal.
Allen Iverson’s Last Year in Denver
Thirty-three-year-old Allen Iverson, who is seeking a multiyear contract with the Denver Nuggets, showed up for practice at the Pepsi Center for an oncourt workout with teammates yesterday. The “surefire” Hall of Fame guard is in the last year of his $21 million contract, which started almost two years ago. Although Iverson has said “time and again” that he wants to end his career in Denver, team coach George Karl doesn’t think the time is right to talk about that situation, according to The Denver Post. Instead, what should be on everyone’s mind is “delivering a winning product that has shown improvement…”
Avs Work the Ice in Preseason Game
One of the Avalanche’s few big acquisitions in the offseason–33-year-old forward Darcy Tucker–briefly startled management in the third period of the Avs’ preseason opener against the Los Angeles Kings at the Pepsi Center. Tucker twisted his ankle, according to the Rocky Mountain News, but was able to return to the ice. The Avs lost 4-3 in a shootout decision, and after the game Tucker, who left the Toronto Maple Leafs to join the Avs in a two-year, $4.5 million deal this summer, claimed to be fine.
Videodose: President Bush addressed the nation last night, raising fears of a recession and pleading for Congress to support a $700 billion economic bailout. Via the White House, here’s text, video, and audio of his address.
Cheapest Gallon of Gas â€˜Round Here: $3.34, Costco, 18414 Cottonwood Drive (via www.gasbuddy.com).