Panorama: Mile-High Headlines for Thursday, August 14

August 14 2008, 9:01 AM

The Purple Land of Udall and Schaffer--And The Intangibles "The formula hasn't changed in three decades: Bob Schaffer and Mark Udall need to win Denver's suburbs to become Colorado's next U.S. senator," writes the Rocky Mountain News, noting, however, that intangibles are sometimes the key to winning a tight race. Some of those intangibles, from Schaffer's perspective, might just be his fellow Republicans, according to a really hard-hitting look at Colorado by Seattle's Post-Intelligencer, which recalls that Colorado was once a firmly red state but has now turned a shade of purple. Who is to blame? The Republicans themselves. For one, "their elected representatives are bonkers," the article states, tracking the ascent of an anti-big-government group known as the "House crazies" (aka Tom Tancredo a generation ago and Colorado Springs' social conservatives), resulting in masterful exploitation of "wedge issues" that demolished both Democrats and moderates within their own party. But now the conservative view just doesn't sit as well with changing voter mores, and GOP victories are tougher to come by as the party finds it almost impossible to shut down its own monster machine. Move Over Hillary, Mark Warner Will Deliver the DNC Keynote Colorado isn't the only battleground state that's on the Democratic Party's wish list--a fact made obvious by the announcement that former Virginia governor Mark R. Warner will deliver the keynote address at the upcoming Democratic National Convention. As the Washington Post notes, "no Democratic presidential candidate has carried Virginia since 1964. But Democrats won the past two gubernatorial elections and a high-profile Senate race in 2006." A long list of speakers has emerged in recent days. Both former President Bill Clinton and his wife, Senator Hillary Clinton, will give speeches, as will Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper and Colorado Governor Bill Ritter, who is slated to rouse crowds the same night that Barack Obama gives his presidential acceptance speech at Invesco Field. Ritter's theme will be "Change You Can Believe In," according to 9News.

Cheney Comes to Colorado, Mysteriously Raises Money, Then Leaves Quickly Vice President Dick Cheney almost slinked in and out of Colorado, resulting in several sparse and smallish news stories highlighting his efforts to raise funds for Republican Representative Marilyn Musgrave. And it was her Democratic opponent, Betsy Markey, a former aide to Senator Ken Salazar, who attempted to cash in. Markey wrote in an e-mail to supporters, reprinted on PolitickerCO.com, that she believes Musgrave will use the money to "distort and attack" her record. The e-mail says Cheney-Musgrave politics "have led to the economic upheaval our nation faces today--high unemployment, a ballooning national debt, and an outrageous level of corporate welfare." Cheney visited Littleton, staying about two hours before he was whisked away for a fundraiser in California, according to The Denver Post, which does not say how much money Cheney raised for Musgrave. In other Cheney news... Steven Howards, of Golden, who is suing the Secret Service after claiming he was wrongfully arrested and accused of assaulting Cheney during an earlier visit, wants to subpoena the vice president, who, an attorney says, is the "best eyewitness to the case," according to the Rocky Mountain News. Foreclosing on Dreams The super-cooled housing market has led to the sales of homes by the dozens in auction settings such as this one, which next week will be overseen by Hudson & Marshall. And, it stands to reason, the homes are going pretty cheap. Just how cheap is answered by this The Denver Post report, which states that nearly four of every 10 homes sold in the Denver area took a loss compared to the amount that was owed. Zillow.com, notes that more than a fifth of the area's homes are in foreclosure. For those who bought at the 2006 peak of the housing market, 45 percent are now underwater, Zillow says. Newspapers for Sale, Newspapers--Entire Newspapers for Sale First came the rumors that either The Denver Post or the Rocky Mountain News would soon stop printing. Now there are more signs of newspaper trouble in Colorado. Cox Enterprises Incorporated hopes to sell a bunch of its newspapers, including the Daily Sentinel and a weekly advertiser called the Nickle in Grand Junction, according to Western Colorado's KJCT8 News. The Atlanta-based company also wants to shed Texas' Austin American-Statesman, among many other papers, in a plan to pay down company debt, stating that traditional media isn't as profitable as other parts of the Cox empire. But perhaps companies like Cox should invest in strategies meant to get young people picking up papers, as Mark Fitzgerald suggests in Editor & Publisher. The newspaper industry has been too quick to demand profits on initiatives that might eventually get younger readers as addicted to the print habit as prior generations. Denver Mourns the Death of "Oldest Working CEO" Since founding the Rockmount Ranch Wear Manufacturing Company in 1946, "Papa Jack" Weil was, as the Rocky Mountain News puts it, a "fixture" downtown--snap-button cowboy shirts and all. "With his cowboy hat, folksy manner and his favorite greeting--'Where you from?'--he welcomed everyone from truck drivers to celebrities like Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, Robert Redford and Eric Clapton," the Rocky writes. Weil, who worked till the end, died Wednesday night at the age of 107, and a service is scheduled for Sunday at Temple Emanuel, at a time yet to be determined. Weil was featured in a national ad campaign for Denver tourism and is credited with the famous quote, "The west is not a place. It's a state of mind," according to The Denver Post. The outpouring of support has begun with Governor Bill Ritter calling Weil a "legendary Coloradan and a pioneering Denver businessman." Read 5280 Associate Editor Patrick Doyle's interview with Weil from the July 2007 issue. The Missing Dog Story (Here You Go) I must confess to a bit of writer's block in the groggy waking hours as I chug coffee and traverse the planet from behind a laptop looking for layers of headlines, hoping to connect them in witty ways. So yesterday, when I saw the story about the dog that stood a long vigil over his dead owner, I submitted to a vague feeling of discomfort and hit delete, the cure-all button for anything that might make me look like a complete jackass. Result: No dog vignette. What was the big deal, anyway, about the story of a guy who ventures into the Pawnee Grasslands with his German shepherd, then kills himself, leaving the dog to fend for itself? That's not right. Then, after several people approached me, including my own mother, suggesting Panorama was in some kind of conspiracy to downplay the "dog story," I warmed up to the idea that this news isn't just another random and confusing tragedy but instead the tale of a loyal dog who stands by his guy no matter how bad things get. Of course, by now you've probably heard all about the dog (his name is Cash) even if you're as far away as Australia or India. Cash stood guard over 25-year-old Jake Baysinger for about six weeks, authorities reckon, apparently surviving on mice and rabbits. I have only one thing to say to Cash, now home with Mrs. Baysinger and her two-year old son: "Good dog." Artemev to Go for the Gold As you may already know, Sasha Artemev, the 22-year-old Highlands Ranch son of a star Russian gymnast, has emerged as a contender in the Olympics after being subbed in and nailing a pommel horse routine, unexpectedly securing a bronze medal in team competition. And, according to this story in the Rocky Mountain News, "it could get better Sunday, when Artemev goes for a (solo) medal in the pommel horse." It is his specialty. "I don't have too much to lose, so I'm just going to swing big," Artemev says. Olympic Divers Hitting the Showers for a Good Reason Occasionally you'll catch a glimpse of it on television, somewhere between mundane Olympics banter and scores: Divers hitting open-view showers (of course wearing swimsuits). Some think the swimmers do this to remove chlorine, NBC diving analyst Cynthia Potter suggests they do it because, "They want to have fun." (Really, Cynthia! Really!) Well Potter and the others are wrong, according to Fourth Place Medal, a Yahoo.com sports blog. "Divers shower in between each dive to keep their muscles warm after getting out of the pool." What didja think? Videodose: For a couple of days now, Focus on the Family has been receiving all sorts of criticism from a range of blogs--from progressive to religious--for a ridiculous video released last week featuring the evangelical organization's own Stuart Shepard, who urged the faithful to pray to God for so much rain during the Democratic National Convention that Democrat Barack Obama's August 28 presidential acceptance speech at Invesco Field would be smote as soggy mess. Focus recently pulled the attack, and today Shepard has issued a new video--a "mea culpa" to Focus' own viewers that highlights just what it felt like to light the match and sit at the center of a media firestorm. Somebody hose him off. Cheapest Gallon of Gas ‘Round Here: $3.68, Costco, 16375 N. Washington St. in Thornton (via www.gasbuddy.com). 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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