Sentinel Blogs

Dave Perry: Preoccupations

Editor of the Aurora Sentinel


June 27, 2013

It’s been a banner week for whacky American sex talk. In Denver, former state Sen. John Andrews, who has a rich history of neo-con-stipation, stepped in it while explaining why he fought a gay Republican group’s effort to attend a national GOP event here last week.

After telling the Log Cabin Republicans they weren’t Christian enough to do anything but give the GOP money, Andrews said he and his fellow Neos actually welcome any Judeo-Christian types, even those afflicted with “alternative lifestyles.”

Is being heterosexual a “lifestyle” and homosexuality an “alternative?” Like living off the grid in a teepee or something? Do gay couples not have to pay bills, clean toilets, argue about loading the dishwasher, talk crap about the neighbor’s vicious dog and laugh out loud whenever Texas Sen. Ted Cruz opens his mouth?

Not to be outdone, the loser lawyer from Utah who lost the gay-marriage case in that state, essentially starting the dominoes that fell all the way to the Supreme Court this week, said yesterday that legalizing gay marriage will lead to 900,000 abortions. That’s because dudes marrying dudes will discourage other dudes from marrying anybody, and straight hook-ups tend to make for more abortions, and so there you go. Arguments like that make it pretty clear that, well, the homophobes just don’t have a better argument than that.

But my very favorite homophopithycus blarb this week came from some gack at the Family Research Council who said marriage is meant to “domesticate” men, make them go to church more and lower their testosterone levels. They argue that women like to be subservient to men, and it’s important for men to oblige them. That women are happier when Daddy is the big breadwinner and Mommy stays home and does the ironing. Two mommies or two daddies couldn’t possibly figure all that out, and there would just be testosterone everywhere.

What we need is a diversion for the Neos. So I’m starting a support group for gay and lesbian cross-dressing Muslim illegal immigrant cat collectors from Cuba who came here for the sole purpose of enrolling in Obamacare and getting food stamps.

Dave Perry

You may not like the brutally weird and insensitive things oddball Colorado Springs state Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt inflicts on all of us, but you’ve got to love the irony this politician has brought down on himself.

The first-term Republican has made himself a recent Household name for his extremist anti-gay and anti-abortion-rights rhetoric. Sometimes as a member of the state House of Representatives, but mostly as his YouTube alter-ego, Dr. Chapps. Chapps is a fiery clerical persona that spews punctiliously scriptural nonsense for his for-profit ministry, “Pray In Jesus’ Name.” Last week, he told his faithful that the pregnant Longmont woman who was viciously attacked by a woman who cut her unborn child from her body was a curse sent from God because of bad human behavior.

The comments created a firestorm at the Capitol, where Republicans said Klingenschmitt was embarrassing the Republican Party and Democrats said he was embarrassing the human race.

So Klingenschmitt’s own House leadership removed him from one of his two committee seats as punishment.

The irony? Msr. Klingenschmitt was the state rep who sponsored a bill earlier allowing the deeply religious to discriminate against gays, if the Good Book tells them so. While the bill failed, plenty of Republicans rallied for the measure, saying it kept the government from infringing on First Amendment rights.

Well, well, well. Looks like it was the GOP, not some gay couple looking for a wedding cake that was behind forcing Klingenschmitt to apologize and essentially abandon his deeply held religious views, however kooky and offensive the rest of his fellow Republicans and others found them.

Cries of foul by some fellow Republicans are pretty well founded, I’d say. Klingenschmitt made his comments outside of the Capitol, actually, and not in an official capacity as a state representative, but as the whacky Dr. Chapps. KlingenChapps is pretty much the same now as he was when his Colorado Springs constituents elected him first in a GOP primary last year and then as the Republican candidate.

Of course this is all politics. And he serves on committees at the pleasure of the democratically created House rules, which say that if you piss off leadership, they can jack with your committee assignments. Klingenschmitt can consider himself jacked.

In the mean time, he’s learned a little contrition. He said he’s muting Dr. Chapps until the end of the session, and he’s faithfully voting his party’s ticket until the end of the session.

It’s political theater. The real show will take place at home in Colorado Springs, where his own constituents can either “wink, wink, nudge, nudge” him into better behavior, and probably elect him to a second term next time around. Apparently in a state House district like his, with great responsibility comes great freedom.

— Follow @EditorDavePerry on Twitter and Facebook

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Now this is enough to make your Bull-Crap-O-Meter hit the red-line.

In an effort to keep the entire world from black-listing all of Indiana for obtusely enacting a new gay-hate law “allowing” those so religiously inclined to discriminate against homosexuals if their Good Book tells them so, this dizzying spin has spun out of the religious right across the country: It’s not about discrimination, it’s about protecting the free speech and reverent rights of business owners.

If you can’t tell the right from the left here, just try this. Here’s the right’s explanation of how innocent this whole thing is as written by Tobin Grant at the Washington Post today:

“(The Religious Freedom Restoration Act) was a way for the Indiana legislature to do something in response to the same-sex marriage ruling. RFRA was seen as a way to give residents and businesses that objected to same-sex marriage a way around having to cater to same-sex couples”

Now just replace “same-sex” with “interracial.”

“(The Religious Freedom Restoration Act) was a way for the Indiana legislature to do something in response to the interracial marriage ruling. RFRA was seen as a way to give residents and businesses that objected to interracial marriage a way around having to cater to interracial couples”

How about this:

“(The Religious Freedom Restoration Act) was a way for the Indiana legislature to do something in response to the Jewish marriage ruling. RFRA was seen as a way to give residents and businesses that objected to Jewish marriage a way around having to cater to Jewish couples”

Here’s the deal. Gay couples are like anyone else, they don’t want to give their money to people who hate them or make fun of them or just think God will smite them. Given a choice, we all will give our money to businesses that treat us well instead of treat us poorly.

A workable solution here would be to allow any business to discriminate against anyone on a religious basis. All they would have to do to get the “permit for discrimination” is to post it prominently on every door of their establishment, on order forms and menus, and on websites and print advertisements. Given their fervent pious convictions, there’s no doubt they’ll be proud to share them with the entire world. It would be sacrilegious and hypocritical to be a faithful bigot and hide that from people who don’t share your fervor, just for the sake of making a buck. I have it from good sources that all the holy ones frown on such things. So then let the public decide, too, who their religious and ethical convictions should shell out cash to. I know I would use something like this as a daily touchstone. No service to gays, blacks, immigrants or Muslims? See ya.

Colorado lawmakers saw the folly of this nonsense and nipped it in the budding bigotry a few weeks ago. They don’t learn so quickly in the Midwest.

Now, it would be hugely rewarding to walk inside a bakery and ask about a wedding cake for 500 and then say, “Oh, you discriminate against gays? Never mind.” But if it’s the only game in town, that’s another story. If it’s the only hotel on the road turning away blacks or lesbians because Jesus told them to do it, that becomes a real problem. Can you imagine what Indiana Gov. Mike Pence would do if the last gas station for the next 100 miles said over the loud speaker at pump no. 5, “I’m sorry, sir, but God won’t let me serve your kind” because my religion is offended by White Anglo Saxon Protestants. And may someone else’s God bless you.

No. Probably best go with the idea that if you serve the public, you have to treat all of the public the same: blacks, whites, Canadians, gays, teachers and even Republican governors and state lawmakers that still have some growing up to do. Well, maybe not Canadians. We’ll see.

Follow @EditorDavePerry on Facebook and Twitter or email at dperry@AuroraSentinel.com

State Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt

OK. You tell me. What is it about the air, the water, the experimental mind-control waves leaking out of Cheyenne Mountain that produces such a vibrant crop of political whack-jobs in the Colorado Springs area?

You know it’s not just me. For years, you’ve seen and heard these odd tubers rise into the light and clamor for attention.

This, dear reader, is the part of the state that produced the one, the only, the unlovable tax-protesting, reporter-kicking, government-despising star of the El Paso Republican Party, Mr. Douglas Bruce. For those of you who don’t know Mr. Bruce by his reputation, you know him as the guy who created the most unworkable tax-laws in the world, which Colorado voters swallowed hook, line and sinker about 20 years ago.

Just when you thought weird and mean couldn’t get any louder, Colorado Springs sends a message straight from God to the state House this session. Enter state Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt. This self-appointed man of the cloth and man upstairs — he goes by Dr. Chapps as a Bible-thumping, brimstone-roasting scolder of humanity on YouTube — in just a few days managed to incense the world by saying that God was behind the recent horrific attack on a pregnant woman in Longmont, cursing humans for their sins.

“Part of that curse for our rebellion against God as a nation is that our pregnant women are ripped open,” according to a 9News story.

Oy vey, dude. Get a grip. Get a life. Somebody get that man a 72-hour hold.

Not happy yet, today down at the Capitol during a hearing for a bill that would let transgender residents change their birth certificates to reflect what sex they are, despite what sex they were born, Klingenshmitt just could not hide his crazy hate for such a thing.

First he wanted to know whether they could change their birth sex and their birth date. Finally, he just said, “It’s one thing to ask someone to pretend, It’s another thing to ask the government to agree with that pretense.”

Such a sensitive soul. Such a leader. Of course he’s much, much more than just two days worth of hate. This is the guy who tried his damnedest to allow Colorado businesses to discriminate against gays and lesbians if the Good Book told them to. The bill failed miserably, but a measure just about like it passed today in Indiana. Immediately, the rest of the world started calling for Indiana boycotts. Pretty scary for them, if anyone did any real business with Indiana, I suppose.

Klingenshmitt never met a gay issue he didn’t hate. But the hate doesn’t stop there. He’s compared Planned Parenthood to ISIS. Yes, really. He said the Supreme Court will make good on its conservative leaning and the gays will all go to fiery hell. Yup. And Obamacare? Don’t get him started. He said that causes cancer. Most of that came out BEFORE Colorado Springs voters elected Dr. Chapps to heal liberal sickness under the gold dome. Do they not have TV down there?

These two are just a couple in a long list of questionable politicians sprouting up in the shadow of the Garden of Gods.

There’s current Congressman Doug Lamborn, who started his Congressional career so unethically that former Congressman Joel Hefley publicly said how disgusted he was. Since then, Lamborn has made a name for himself calling President Barack Obama a ‘tar baby.’ His most recent claim to fame is angering a world of military officials and contractors by publicly bragging that he’s urging active-duty U.S. generals to resign right away to undermine the Obama administration. What a patriot.

Just as patriotic is my personal favorite, Sheriff Terry “Happy Pants” Maketa. The guy who ran his own personal law enforcement agency to accommodate his pals and sexual liaisons, and had the selfies to prove it. He just never had the nerve to step aside after he got caught.

Past and current Colorado Springs politicians frequently move in and out of the sphere of Focus on The Family, the far-right conservative world that just wants to focus on your family. They say they don’t so much hate gays, as they just wanted to send them to straighten-up brainwashing therapy, soon to be illegal in this state despite Colorado Springs critics of the measure.

I don’t even recognize the Colorado Springs that gave this state attorney John Love, who was the embodiment of moderation as governor. It was he who signed a bill that made Colorado the first state in the nation to legalize abortion in the 1960s.

And now, the Springs sends us Klingenshmitt. No, thanks. Send him back.

— Dave Perry. Follow @EditorDavePerry on Twitter and Facebook

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So within 5 minutes on the Denver-area radio station I was listening to today, the advertisements were for:

• Men with low testosterone –“which can result in those dreaded sexual problems”

• Parents with stupid children  — “My daughter’s very smart but just can’t keep up in school. At 32, the other kids make fun of her trouble with math.”

• Putting Mama in a home — “Just shut up and get in the car”

• Men getting the hair permanently removed from their backs, FOR HER — “I’m still not touching you.”

• A way to lose 30 pounds in 30 days from those trouble spots and never feel hungry once! — “Ask-your-doctor-first-before-undergoing-an-induced-coma-not-all-patients-regain-conciousness-risk-of-permanent-death-and-or-brain-damage-is-considerable-after-10-days-in-a-coma-patients-must-agree-not-to-sue-anyone”

• And finally, an ad for better bifocals that don’t look like bifocals so no one will know how old you are even though you’re fat, bald, stooped and hold your iPhone upside down all the time and order nothing but the daily specials because you couldn’t read the tiny print on those damned menus even if they did turn up the lights.

The station used to rock. Sounds now like they’re rocking a bunch of fat, limp, hairy, nearsighted, losers living in their parents’ basements. Go, Deadheads.

— Follow Dave Perry on Twitter and Facebook @EditorDavePerry

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Aurora’s Congressman Mike Coffman came out of another battle victorious this week.

The 21-year military veteran and three-term Republican congressman got into a war of words with VA Secretary Robert McDonald a couple of weeks ago during a House committee hearing on why the Aurora VA boondoggle hospital and similar over-budget, over-deadline boondoggle projects are still over-budget and nowhere near complete.

The heated hearing went nuclear while Coffman pressed McDonald to know whether he’s cleaned up the “corruption” and   “incompetence” at the Veterans Affairs administration. McDonald blew a gasket, giving Coffman the who-do-you-think-you-are-? treatment and shot back, “I’ve run a large company, sir. What have you done?”

That prompted Coffman to post this on his congressional website:

“Let me start by telling you something I haven’t done. I have never run a federal agency that tolerates corruption the way the VA has. I’ve never built a hospital that’s years behind schedule and hundreds of millions over budget. And I’ve never been a shill for inept bureaucrats who allowed American heroes to die on a medical waiting list while waiting for medical care.”

Ouch. After a brief time when all sides were looking for a way to quit shifting blame and start moving building materials, clearly, the shill is gone, just not from his VA post.

Coffman fought in both Iraq wars and helped run elections in that war-torn country while he was Colorado Secretary of State, and he gets a lot of mileage from his veteran’s veteran status. So then the sniping started about whether Coffman was a real combat veteran, or just did time in a tent in the desert.

Coffman said he won that battle this week when the Washington Post took Coffman to task about what his military record really was. They gave the Aurora native a green check-mark o’ truth, confirming that he was indeed honored by the U.S. Marines for being in real battle during his first tour of duty in Iraq. To get the distinction, you have to be somewhere the enemy is shooting and you have the opportunity to shoot back. No word on whether Coffman did that, but he’s firing back at McDonald by spreading the word of the Washington Post. Your move, Secretary McDonald.

And the Aurora VA hospital? Yuck.

— Follow Editor Dave Perry on Face Book and Twitter, he’s EditorDavePerry

 

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Like we all need one more reason to love Congressman Ed Perlmutter. The hero people’s-rep today introduced a bill in the U.S. House that would ban the use of red-light cameras across the whole country.

Go, Ed, go.

Please, start here in Aurora. This paper is no fan of the funky contraptions designed only to rake in cash for cities and inflict tight grips and sphincters upon unlucky motorists who see the flash of light pass before their eyes and car windshields all across the country. Our own state lawmakers hasn’t found the temerity to take on such a substantial line-item budget number in almost every state in Colorado — Aurora included.

It’s hard to see how he could gain any traction on a bill like this since relatively mundane traffic matters are the purview of states. But, hey, Perlmutter is a lawyer, and like President Lincoln said, anything is possible with public sentiment, and impossible without it. And if you ask most folks, they’re seeing plenty of red over the damned things. They immediately bring the overwhelming question to mind when jerks are behind the wheel all over the country, “Where’s a cop when you need one?” Sitting on the other side of the camera, folks.

It takes a brave man to lift a finger to the camera as you pass by, or to naysayers on the U.S. House floor, or to finally do something in Congress that actually needs to be done.

Go, Ed, go.

— Dave Perry, editor

Here’s the release:

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Colorado’s nascent Sen. Cory Gardner is learning the ropes of the U.S. Senate and how to tell time.

Forever, Senator, is a long, long time.

The congressman-turned-senator from Yuma hasn’t quite grasped that yet. Why else would he proudly become an “original co-sponsor” of a bill by Sen. John Thune, R-South Dakota, that would make permanent the Internet Tax Freedom Act of 1998.

“We should never tax the internet,” Gardener said in a statement today. “That’s a position I supported in the House of Representatives, it was one of the pillars of my Four Corners Plan for Colorado, and it’s why I’m proud to be an original co-sponsor of this legislation.”

I’m for no taxes as much, actually more, than the next guy. But what Gardner and Co. overlook is that the current system unfairly taxes Internet sales where “brick-and-mortar” stores exist in your state. If you order a new blender from Wal-Mart, Target or Best Buy, you pay sales taxes on it. If you order the same blender from WowGetYourOnlineBlendersSansTaxesRightHere.com, you pay no taxes.

The three mega-retailers and many others support Colorado with jobs and taxes. WowWhateverSomethingOrOther.com doesn’t do crap for Colorado and does nothing for the state but suck up sales taxes. And those taxes? They pay for roads, snow plows, teachers, cops, stuff like that.

The reason online sales were tax free to begin with is because, back in the day, who would go to the AOL Intertubes to trust Lord-only-knows what on the other side of the WWW to take your money and send you stuff? So, to get the whole thing going, it was tax free.

It’s going now. A University of Tennessee study and the National Conference of State Legislatures estimate that online and catalog sales kept $23 billion in taxes from states and local communities in 2012.

That’s a lot of asphalt, Senator Gardner.

I’m down with not paying taxes for anything, but I’m also pretty keen on keeping the cops, paved roads and enough government to keep oil companies from washing their trucks out in the Platte River. I’m also pretty keen on treating businesses that invest in Colorado at least as good or bad as the ones sucking cash out of the state at their, and our, expense.

“Wherever the heavy hand of government taxation inserts itself, innovation, growth, and jobs are quick to disappear,” Gardner said.

No. Greed and corruption are economic fun crushers, Senator. Unfair taxation and inefficient distribution of resources are what kills progress and my car’s front-end alignment.

“Never,” Senator? Never is a long, long time.

— Dave Perry, Editor

Gardner’s Feb. 10 press release

Gardner: “Never Tax the Internet” 

Washington, D.C.‎ – Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) announced today that he is an original co-sponsor of legislation to keep the internet tax-free indefinitely.‎  The legislation is being introduced by Senator John Thune (R-SD), and would make permanent the Internet Tax Freedom Act of 1998, which prohibits taxes on internet access or e-commerce. 

“Wherever the heavy hand of government taxation inserts itself, innovation, growth, and jobs are quick to disappear,” Gardner said. “Businesses and customers are increasingly engaging online, and American entrepreneurs are making leaps and bounds forward in creating the companies, services, and communications platforms that will dominate the future of our economy. Keeping the internet tax-free permanently is the only way to ensure that the kind of progress we’ve made online will continue.

 

“We should never tax the internet. That’s a position I supported in the House of Representatives, it was one of the pillars of my Four Corners Plan for Colorado, and it’s why I’m proud to be an original co-sponsor of this legislation.”

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

###

 

Cory Gardner is a member of the U.S. Senate serving Colorado. He sits on the Energy & Natural Resources Committee, the Foreign Relations Committee, the Commerce, Science, & Transportation Committee, and the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Committee, and is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asian and Pacific Affairs.  

 

B40B Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington, DC 20515

(202) 224-5941

United States' Lindsey Vonn races down the course during the women's super-G competition at the alpine skiing world championships on Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2015, in Beaver Creek, Colo. (AP Photo/Alessandro Trovati)
United States’ Lindsey Vonn races down the course during the women’s super-G competition at the alpine skiing world championships on Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2015, in Beaver Creek, Colo. (AP Photo/Alessandro Trovati)

Little wonder that sexism is so alive and well in America. We bring ‘em up that way in this country, and even in my own newspaper. We’re following the Alpine World Championship near Vail, just like thousands of newspapers and TV stations across the country. This year, the race is in our own backyard.

Despite culling the sexes, few sports are as equitable to men and women as is extreme and competitive speed skiing. But the news coverage? Nope.

The headline for tomorrow’s main story coming out of the Associated Press sports desk?

“Vonn breaks into tears after Alpine combined at worlds”

Even Colorado cave-dwellers know who Lindsey Vonn is, Colorado’s own invincible and indomitable four-time World Cup champion and Olympic gold medalist. Not only has Vonn stunned the world with her incredible athleticism, skill and determination, she’s back on the slopes after suffering serious injuries.

During the past few days during the worlds outside of Vail, she’s has some tough breaks and some disappointing runs. They’re runs, however, that are still better than just about every speed skier on the planet. This is a driven athlete who has leveraged her passion and skill in every competition she’s been in to win. I can’t even imagine the pressure.

But as a man, I can assure you if it were me in her position, and away from talking tough in front of the cameras I started crying in front of my coach and friends, the press would probably either ignore it, or the headline would read that I’d become “emotional.” Check out stories about weepy athletes like Roger Federer, Michael Jordan, Bret Favre and Terrell Owens, all famous athletes who became emotional, usually on national television.

In the American press, after all these years, after all we were indoctrinated with in journalism school, after all a lot of us have fought for, after it looks like the next president of the United States is going to be a woman, men still “get emotional” and women still “break down in tears.”

Who’s writing and editing the sports world these days? Oscar Madison? John Inverdale? Howard Cosell?

Here’s what the Associated Press came up with:

Lindsey Vonn smiled and waved to the hometown crowd after finishing a run that didn’t count.

Out of view, she broke into tears. All the pent-up pressure from being the favorite at the world championships boiled over after she straddled a gate in the slalom portion of the Alpine combined Monday, knocking her out of the race.

That she cried under so much pressure hardly makes her less an athlete or more a female or anything else, other than a human. That it becomes the focus of a story, and that she “broke into tears,” rather than cried or became emotional or even viscerally upset, is what shocks me.

This woman, and her peers, perform superhuman feats every time they leave the gate. You may think you can imagine what Vonn’s level of skiing is like, and you’d be wrong. It’s fantastically dangerous, difficult and demanding, probably unlike any other sport on the planet. She travels on the edges of skis on grueling mountains in thin air at speeds that make plenty of people uncomfortable inside of cars. Over and over and over. I’d cry every time. All the time.

Vonn, like so many athletes before her, no doubt shed tears today after a discouraging week, but I have no doubt she’s never once in her ski life “broke down.”  And had she been a man, the press wouldn’t have reported that today.

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In a world that has become so unpredictable, it’s reassuring to know some things can be counted on; Nothing in this country is as consistently bat-guano crazy as is the NRA these days.

In today’s nut-case Olympic feat, NRA board member and Texas State Rifle Association chief Charles Cotton won the whack-o-net while complaining about a proposal in the Texas state legislature that would prohibit public school employees from spanking, slapping, beating or beheading students. OK. Maybe beheading wasn’t in the bill. Why Texas has waited this long to keep teachers from beating students is another story for another time.

Today’s story is about Cotton. He likes the idea of slapping some sense into anybody’s youngin who smarts off or gets some ‘tude at school. And he is tot-slappin’ mad about the bill. Of course you just know some sissy measure like that would come from a Texas Democrat, tired of hearing about teachers whacking good sense into kids.

Brendan James of Talking Point Media quoted Cotton in an intertubes thread saying:

“I’m sick of this woman and her, ‘don’t touch my kid regardless what he/she did or will do again’ attitude,” Cotton wrote in a thread titled “HB567: Corporal punishment in schools.” And he added, “Perhaps a good paddling in school may keep me from having to put a bullet in him later.”

Now you have to keep all this in perspective. This is from a state that is also proposing a law that would allow teachers to legally shoot kids for damaging or threatening school property. You have to remember that Texas, like the rest of the South, is the most violent part of the country. And Texas leads the nation in states where more people per capita are killed by fighting with their bare hands than anywhere else. So what’s a little S&M among kiddies and teachers at school?  But even in Texas, folks have got to wonder why the answer to everything for the NRA is “to put a bullet in him?”

So. Questions about who’s inside the pocket and heart of more elected officials than anyone in the country? Questions about where to get reach Cotton for parenting classes or as a cheap babysitter? Questions about why the country needs to reel these folks in before we all get hurt?

As a parent here in the West, we encouraged our kids to talk it out and “don’t hit.” I have to admit, however, that I’m even more frightened when people like Cotton agree to “use your words.” Please, don’t.

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