Mile-High Headlines for Friday, November 14

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Salazar Stands Up for Joe
Oh, the treachery. Senator Joe Lieberman, who was Democrat Al Gore’s presidential running mate in 2000, endorsed Republican John McCain in front of millions of people at the Republican National Convention. And now it’s payback time for Joe. Or is it? Several Democrats are stepping in to remove the proverbial cigarette and blindfold, talking about leniency rather than revenge for Lieberman. Count Colorado Senator Ken Salazar among them. He says Lieberman should remain in the party’s caucus, according to The Denver Post. Lieberman became an independent in 2006, after losing the Democratic primary in Connecticut. Salazar, who supported Lieberman back then, is now urging his colleagues to embrace a “spirit that ends this toxic fighting in Washington, D.C.” Lieberman is evasive about the situation, according to this Associated Press video. Meanwhile, Congressional Quarterly highlights the other Democrats who back Lieberman. They are speaking with caucus leadership to decide his fate.

Dick Makes His Case But Doesn’t Commit
Earlier this week unnamed Republican leaders attacked the man who leads their party in Colorado, masterful spin doctor Dick Wadhams. After all, the GOP performed deplorably during the election, including Bob Schaffer’s campaign for U.S. Senate, which Wadhams ran. But so far, he’s not backing away from the reins of power. Rather, Wadhams is “strongly leaning” toward running for re-election as chairman of the state Republican Party, according to PolitickerCO, adding that a final decision will come soon. 5280 senior editor Luc Hatlestad doesn’t believe Wadhams will abandon politics any time soon, as he discusses in this podcast for As for the critics, Wadhams wonders what they would have done differently, challenging them to “come out of the shadows” and “quit being cowards” to debate him publicly. ColoradoPols has been tallying the potential challengers to Wadhams, including “Scott McInnis protege” Mike Hesse, who is in “wait-and-see” mode. Meanwhile, Face the State makes the case for Wadhams, noting “the fact remains he took a job that no one wanted.”

Civil Rights Fight in Denver and Beyond
Saturday will bring what could be a massive protest to Colorado’s streets–a voicing of disagreement with the same-gender marriage ban Californians approved in their elections last week. The ban, Proposition 8, which passed with 52 percent of the vote, spawned lawsuits in California from gay and lesbian couples who argue the law violates the state’s constitutional protections for minority groups, according to The San Francisco Chronicle. A rally is planned at 11:30 a.m. at county courthouses in Denver and Boulder, according to the Rocky Mountain News. “When you have one group whose rights are being infringed upon, it affects everyone, not only gays and lesbians,” says Jill Roat of By the People, a group organizing the protest in Denver. Similar actions are planned around the nation, according to Denver writer David Cullen on Open Salon, whose posting reads: “Gay people are part of this culture, and degrading us has got to stop. We love each other, just like the rest of you. We will marry each other regardless. … But laws that say we are unfit to marry are an abomination and will not stand.”

Paying the Price for Jail Death
Male nurse Kelly Costin treated 24-year-old Emily Rae Rice “the way someone might treat a dog” while in custody at the Denver City Jail, according to The Colorado Independent. That’s how Sheriff’s Deputy Jessica Jaquez describes Rice’s 2006 death. Now the city will pay $3 million to Rice’s family, settling a federal wrongful death lawsuit, according to The Denver Post, and adding to a prior $4 million settlement involving Denver Health Medical Center. Rice had a lacerated spleen and liver following a drunk driving accident, but the injury was missed at the hospital. In jail, her pleas for medical attention were ignored. The settlement also requires new policies, called “Emily’s Rights,” which include sensitivity training and the monitoring of vital signs for inmates returned from medical treatment, according to the Rocky Mountain News.

Boulder Spiders Excel
Thirty spiders have been put through rigorous NASA tests, including simulated g-forces like those experienced during a 17,500 mph space shuttle launch. In the end just two lucky–but unnamed–spiders had the right stuff. Their excellent web-weaving skills won them golden tickets to creep aboard the shuttle Endeavour, which is slated for launch this evening in a mission to the International Space Station, according to newspapers around the globe, including The Scotsman. The two “arachnonauts” were projects designed by the University of Colorado’s BioServe Space Technologies. CU wants to study how spiders spin webs and feed in the microgravity space, according to Boulder’s Daily Camera. Another experiment will look at how butterflies evolve from larvae. In 1973, Anita and Arabella, two arachnonauts, died of dehydration on Skylab because astronauts did not pack enough food for them. This time, the spiders will have plenty of fruit flies.

U.S. National Soccer Team Trains in Colorado
The United States men’s national soccer team is in Colorado to train for a World Cup qualifying match against Guatemala at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City next week. The U.S. team has already advanced to the final round of regional qualifying, so a win isn’t essential, according to The New York Times’ Goal blog. That means coach Bob Bradley can test players who are not currently playing in international leagues or Major League Soccer playoffs. Several Colorado Rapids were called to a four-day training camp that began two days ago, including midfielder Colin Clark, who is from Fort Collins. The Rapids’ Nick LaBrocca, Pablo Mastroeni, Cory Gibbs, and Conor Casey are also on the pitch.

No Room for Politics in the NFL
Former Denver Broncos players and politics seem to go hand-in-hand lately. Quarterback John Elway campaigned for Republican John McCain. Safety John Lynch’s name has been mentioned as a possible GOP candidate for governor. So wait until your career is over, Brandon Marshall, to celebrate Barack Obama’s election–or to do the “Dirty Bird” for that matter. Fearing National Football League fines, Marshall says that if he gets a touchdown in Atlanta this weekend, there won’t be any celebration–especially of the kind he nearly attempted last week in Cleveland, according to the Rocky Mountain News. Coach Mike Shanahan took issue with Marshall’s black-and-white glove, which Marshall later said was meant to show racial unity in the wake of Obama’s historic election.

Audiodose: KUNC radio‘s Grace Hood speaks with Congressman-elect and Internet mogul Jared Polis, who is on his way to Washington, D.C., for freshman orientation.

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