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Panorama: Is the Bailout an Early Trick or Treat?

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Mile-High Headlines for Monday, October 6

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The Bailout and Other Scary Details
When it came to votes on the $700 billion, pork-greased Wall Street bailout, Colorado’s representatives stuck to their guns. Representatives Mark Udall, John Salazar, Marilyn Musgrave, and Doug Lamborn–respectively, two Democrats and two Republicans–voted against the package on Friday, according to the Rocky Mountain News. Democrats Diana DeGette and Ed Perlmutter joined with Republican Tom Tancredo in voting for the measure meant to guard the nation against the Great Depression, 2.0. President George W. Bush signed the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act over the weekend, leading Barron’s (subscription required) to issue a fiscally conservative editorial, noting the bailout is “not quite financial dictatorship. But it is the closest thing to it we have seen since March of 1933.” Barron’s pointed out that the original three-page act had ballooned to 300 pages as congressional leaders sought to secure votes, by providing tax breaks for everyone from stock-car racers to rum distillers in the Virgin Islands, with “much else still to be discovered.”

The Afterblast
In the aftermath of the bailout package, the San Francisco Chronicle warns, “Now, things are about to get ugly.” The legislation will not prevent a recession as credit runs dry, the paper writes. Although the depth of the situation remains unknown, Coloradans are cutting back their own finances and reassessing their job security, according to several papers, including the Associated Press (via the Rocky Mountain News). Meanwhile, three out of four members of a Colorado business-management association predict more companies will find it harder to obtain financing in months to come, according to the Denver Business Journal, and a lot of banks aren’t expected to be around in about a year, according to The Associated Press. The nation has lost roughly 760,000 jobs since January, not counting the financial tumult of recent weeks, according to The New York Times, and declining housing prices are eroding personal wealth.

Roads of Ruin
It’s not a $700 billion tab, but Colorado may need to raise $1.5 billion to fix roads and infrastructure. That’s according to state officials and members of a transportation panel who say roads have deteriorated to the point of being in “crisis” (via the Colorado Springs Gazette). To start getting the problem under control, the Colorado Department of Transportation wants to double its annual budget. So expect to hear about new fees and/or a higher state sales tax, along with a doom-and-gloom campaign. For example, are you willing to support a 13-cent increase in the state gas tax or a $6 visitor fee when checking into a Colorado hotel to help repair roads? Don’t answer yet. Not only are 40 percent of the state’s roads in bad shape, Colorado also has 126 deficient bridges. And as it stands now, the state only has enough money to fix four or five bridges a year, according to Westword.

A Lingering Tragedy
University of Colorado postdoctoral physics student Michi Nakata had a “beautiful mind.” She discovered “liquid crystals of ultrashort DNA molecules–a possible key step in the emergence of life on Earth,” according to the Boulder Daily Camera, citing Science journal. She also turned her science into art, winning honorable mention in 2006 for a colorful picture of “ferroelectric liquid crystal domains” from Nikon’s Small World gallery. But Nakata was also good at keeping her problems to herself, including her mental illness. Two years ago, she hanged herself with a noose fashioned from her hospital gown at Boulder’s Mapleton Center Behavioral Health Unit. Now her Japanese parents, Kiyoshi and Yasuko Nakata, are suing, wondering why their daughter died after being left alone in a facility that was supposed to constantly supervise high-risk patients. A spokesman for the unit, part of Boulder Community Hospital, wouldn’t comment on the September 2006 death, the facility’s only suicide in its 22-year history. However, state health officials have already concluded that Nakata was not properly monitored, according to the suit.

Are You Going to Vote or What?
So you’ve been busy sending foot-in-mouth video links featuring Sarah Palin or Barack Obama. Or maybe you’re constantly and carefully explaining to your friends what America must do to become energy independent. But in all your democratic glory, you might have forgotten to do something simple: Register to vote. The deadline to register to vote in the upcoming election is today and volunteers are in a tizzy, according to CBS4, to reach out to the roughly one-third of our swing state’s population that is unregistered. Registering is the easy part: Would-be voters have to study the Colorado Blue Book, which covers the myriad candidates and measures on the ballot. It’s more than 60 pages.

Broncos Playoff Talk
Playoff talk is flowing a bit early following the Denver Broncos’ 16-13 victory at Invesco Field over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday. The game saw Bucs quarterback and former Bronco Brian Griese injured in a sack-fest, according to The Denver Post. “This is the type of victory that could legitimize the Broncos as a playoff contender,” the Post writes, noting that prior victories seemed to draw more “criticism than praise nationally.” The Broncos are now 4-1 with a two-game lead in the AFC West division.

The Pink Wave
More than 60,000 pink-wearing people gathered in downtown on Sunday to run or walk for a cure to breast cancer in Denver’s 16th annual Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, according to the Rocky Mountain News. The Races for the Cure, which raise funds for cancer research and programs, began in Dallas in 1983 and have grown to 100 across the country with 1.4 million participants.

Pollster: In this poll by The Denver Post, it appears Republican Bob Schaffer is closing in on Democrat Mark Udall in Colorado’s U.S. Senate race. Udall, ahead by as many as 10 percentage points in prior polls, is now up by just 5. Udall is favored by 43 percent of registered voters versus Schaffer’s 38, while 14 percent have yet to make up their minds.

Cheapest Gallon of Gas ‘Round Here: $3.19, Western Convenience, 10515 South Parker Road (via www.gasbuddy.com).

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