Documentary chronicling the controversy surrounding the construction of a uranium mill in Colorado. Click here to go to our website: www.uraniumdrivein.com
From the folks that brought us Bag It, Uranium Drive-In chronicles a rural mining town where a proposed uranium mill—the first to be built in the U. S. in 25 years—is creating a raging debate that is tearing the community apart. With authentic voices, the film’s quirky, strong-willed characters tell personal stories about life and death in a boom-bust mining town. And now, with the future of nuclear energy being questioned worldwide, there’s even more at stake.
Over 100 miles from the nearest traffic light lies Paradox, CO—population 242. Until the mid 80s this area was booming, with a swimming pool and a drive-in movie theater—the Uranium Drive-In. Now many of the businesses are boarded up and the elementary school is for sale. Our film tells the story of the town’s possible resurrection through the eyes of a crusty retired miner suffering from numerous…
I glide into the eighth decade of life on earth and the seventh of climbing and riding up and skiing down its snow-covered hills and mountains with the intention to continue doing so more attentively than tentatively. Personal intention and attention are things we can control, or at least influence, unlike the weather and the snowpack and the intentions and attentions of our fellow skiers and other citizens of the planet. Like every person past the age of innocence I am continually reminded of both change and constancy in the things of life and in the intentions and attentions of its peoples, and the world of skiing and skiers is, it seems to me, a microcosm of the larger world.
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This post by WildSnow.com blogger Lou Dawson
Avalanche accident sites. Visiting is like looking at a historic battlefield. You don’t see much evidence of the tragedy, but you know the history. Emotions well up. You get slammed with a fist of reality the size of a mountainside.
Yesterday in Sheep Creek we got slammed. We could still see the rescue holes, so it wasn’t all imagination. With respect to the deceased’s loved ones I won’t go into detail on that. Suffice it to say that once you’ve seen snowy crypt where a body was recovered (or hopefully a person rescued alive), your avalanche safety approach will be forever altered. This was my fourth view of the holes, including my own. I’m not sure I want more. In fact, I’m sure I don’t. Perhaps this is my last site visit.
THE Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, known for his love poems and leftist ideals, died 40 years ago this September. One would hope he’d be at rest by now. But on Monday, as classical musicians played a Neruda work set to music by Vicente Bianchi, his remains were exhumed to determine whether he died from poison — instead of prostate cancer, the conventional account.
In recent years, other icons of the Hispanic world have suffered the same fate. In 2011, Salvador Allende, Chile’s democratically elected president-elect who was deposed by a military junta in 1973, wasdisinterred to verify that he’d fatally shot himself. (The finding — yes — is still disputed.) The late Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez ordered in 2010 that the tomb of his idol, Simón Bolívar, be opened to test his theory that the liberator died of poisoning, not tuberculosis. (The theory remains unproved.)
And in 2008, a Spanish judge authorized the unearthing of a mass grave in the southern town of Alfácar to see whether Federico García Lorca, the poet and dramatist who was assassinated by Fascists in 1936, at the outset of the Civil War, was buried there. (The results were inconclusive.)
There is something gothic, but also cathartic, about summoning artists like Neruda, and his close friend García Lorca, back into the realm of the living, making us wonder if death is really the end. A Chilean judge’s decision, in February, to allow an investigation into Neruda’s death, which led to this week’s exhumation, looks like an act of expiation.
The State Department’s latest environmental assessment of the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline makes no recommendation about whether President Obama should approve it. Here is ours. He should say no, and for one overriding reason: A president who has repeatedly identified climate change as one of humanity’s most pressing dangers cannot in good conscience approve a project that — even by the State Department’s most cautious calculations — can only add to the problem.
The 875-mile pipeline avoids the route of an earlier proposal that traversed the ecologically sensitive Sand Hills of Nebraska and threatened an important aquifer. It would carry 830,000 barrels a day of crude oil from the tar sands of Alberta to pipelines in the United States and then onward to refineries on the Gulf Coast. From there, most of the fuel would be sent abroad.
To its credit, the State Department acknowledges that extracting, refining and burning the oil from the tar-laden sands is a dirtier process than it had previously stated, yielding annual greenhouse gas emissions roughly 17 percent higher than the average crude oil used in the United States. But its dry language understates the environmental damage involved: the destruction of the forests that lie atop the sands and are themselves an important storehouse for carbon, and the streams that flow through them. And by focusing on the annual figure, it fails to consider the cumulative year-after-year effect of steadily increasing production from a deposit that is estimated to hold 170 billion barrels of oil that can be recovered with today’s technology and may hold 10 times that amount altogether.
It is these long-term consequences that Mr. Obama should focus on. Mainstream scientists are virtually unanimous in stating that the one sure way to avert the worst consequences of climate change is to decarbonize the world economy by finding cleaner sources of energy while leaving more fossil fuels in the ground. Given its carbon content, tar sands oil should be among the first fossil fuels we decide to leave alone.
Supporters of the pipeline have argued that this is oil from a friendly country and that Canada will sell it anyway. We hope Mr. Obama will see the flaw in this argument. Saying no to the pipeline will not stop Canada from developing the tar sands, but it will force the construction of new pipelines through Canada itself. And that will require Canadians to play a larger role in deciding whether a massive expansion of tar sands development is prudent. At the very least, saying no to the Keystone XL will slow down plans to triple tar sands production from just under two million barrels a day now to six million barrels a day by 2030.
The State Department will release a fuller review in early summer, and at some point after that the White House will decide. That decision will say a lot about whether Mr. Obama and his secretary of state, John Kerry, are willing to exert global leadership on the climate change issue. Speaking of global warming in his State of the Union address, Mr. Obamapledged that “if Congress won’t act soon to protect future generations, I will.” Mr. Kerry has since spoken of the need to safeguard for coming generations a world that is not ravaged by rising seas, deadly superstorms, devastating droughts and other destructive forces created by a changing climate.
In itself, the Keystone pipeline will not push the world into a climate apocalypse. But it will continue to fuel our appetite for oil and add to the carbon load in the atmosphere. There is no need to accept it.
I have come a long way from the life I had in the late ’90s, when, flush with cash from an Internet start-up sale, I had a giant house crammed with stuff — electronics and cars and appliances and gadgets.
Somehow this stuff ended up running my life, or a lot of it; the things I consumed ended up consuming me. My circumstances are unusual (not everyone gets an Internet windfall before turning 30), but my relationship with material things isn’t.
There isn’t any indication that any of these things makes anyone any happier; in fact it seems the reverse may be true.
For me, it took 15 years, a great love and a lot of travel to get rid of all the inessential things I had collected and live a bigger, better, richer life with less.
It started in 1998 in Seattle …………READ MORE……….
The Vatican is an old boys’ club. Tradition going all the way back to Peter says it’s a man’s job. But wouldn’t a woman, one who isn’t the least bit timid, be interesting in the role? Like a cool black nun who comes to the throne after 30 years doing God’s work with little recognition. She’d be the first pope in heels. Maybe from the Franciscan Handmaids of the Most Pure Heart of Mary, in Harlem — the real Sister Act. Get a singing, swinging sister to jazz up St. Peter’s Basilica. I guarantee people would tune in.
I doubt Benedict is thinking about canonization. He’s probably not thinking about anything but retirement, a chance to pray all day and read the paper.
As the author of a book about the opening of the American West in the 1850s (“Death of a Gunfighter: The Quest for Jack Slade, the West’s Most Elusive Legend”), I was astonished by David Brooks’s assertion that the pioneers who traveled west “volunteered to live in harsh conditions … so their descendants could live well for centuries” (“Carpe Diem Nation,” column, Feb. 12).
Posterity was the last thing on the minds of the hundreds of thousands of Americans who flocked westward during the decade after the California Gold Rush of 1849. Most of them were young single men hoping to strike it rich in the gold fields or escape the drudgery of farm life to a wild place that was far removed from the constraints of law enforcement, religion or the domesticating influence of women. (The ratio of men to women in the early West was at least nine to one, and in many places much higher.) Community was a concept they sought to escape, not to build.
With the notable exception of the Mormons who founded Salt Lake City, almost everyone in the early West was too preoccupied with day-to-day survival to worry about their descendants. Even the great entrepreneurs who organized the first freight-wagon trains, stagecoach lines, mail services and telegraph lines rarely planned more than three months into the future.
These remarkable pioneers did indeed transform the West in a remarkably short time, often at the cost of their lives or sanity. But they seem to us like visionaries only in hindsight.
Philadelphia, Feb. 13, 2013
“It is not the man who has too little, but the man who craves more, who is poor.” Seneca
BEFORE election night 2000, when he was riding high as “Bush’s brain,” Karl Rove made Olympian pronouncements about a dawning realignment of the electorate and an enduring age of Republican dominance, masterminded by — who else? — Karl Rove.
On election night 2012, when he was brought low by Mitt Romney’s defeat and the party’s miserable showing in Senate races, he went into denial. It was something to see, something that really will endure, that half-hour or so on Fox News, when he insisted on an alternate reality to the one described by NBC and CBS and even his own Fox colleagues, who were calling the election, correctly, for President Obama. Rove would have none of it, and no wonder. It didn’t just contradict the statements he’d been making for months as a gabby media pundit. It undercut the pose he’d been striking for more than a decade as a lofty political prophet.
In his pout and his pique there were lessons. One is that money, which the political groups that he directs spent oodles and oodles of, doesn’t trump message or spackle over the cracks in a candidate or candidacy. Another is that reality won’t be denied, whether the issue is climate change, which a ludicrous percentage of Republicans at least pretend not to accept, or the country’s diversity, which a self-defeating percentage of them simply ignore.
And yet another is that prophets are people too, blinded by their own self-interest, swayed by their own self-promotion, neither omniscient nor omnipotent. In a political culture that treats its consultants as demigods, this is too often forgotten, by the consultants themselves most of all, and Rove just gave all of us a mesmerizing reminder of that. The oracle suffered a debacle.
by Carl Hulse
Published: September 1, 2012
DENVER — As President Obama
navigates the battleground states that will determine whether he wins a second term, his campaign strategists have unfolded a road map for one in particular. And they are following it closely as the best route to their destination.
President Obama and Senator Michael Bennet at a Denver fundraiser last year. Mr. Bennet’s team is advising the
Desperate to win Colorado and its nine electoral votes, the Obama campaign is trying to assemble the same coalition that Senator Michael Bennet
built in 2010, when he managed to win a full term against a conservative Republican in a year in which Democrats struggled both in Colorado and nationally.
Mr. Bennet, a surprise pick to fill a Senate vacancy in 2009 who was considered to be at great peril of losing the seat, capitalized on a yawning gender gap and strong support among Hispanics to win. In the process, he showed the way for the Obama campaign to try to pull off a victory in the state despite his lagging popularity among white men.
“We did stitch together a winning coalition in 2010, and I think that coalition is part of the basis of what they are doing here in Colorado,” said Mr. Bennet, who works closely with the White House and is assisting in the president’s re-election effort.
Colorado, which will host the first presidential debate on Oct. 3, is unmistakably a top Obama target. The president has been to the state 11 times since being elected, and a visit on Sunday will be his seventh this year alone.
The campaign has opened more than 50 field offices in Colorado, compared with about a dozen for his Republican rival, Mitt Romney. It has also brought on members of Mr. Bennet’s team, including his chief political strategist, Craig Hughes, to provide their local expertise.
At the moment, Colorado is considered a pure tossup. Most iterations of the electoral map show it to be essential not only for the president to win but also to provide a foundation of support in the West. The campaign believes that it has the advantage, given its edge in registering voters in the state and Mr. Romney’s positions on immigration and women’s issues.
“You’d rather be us than them,” said Jim Messina, the president’s campaign manager and a Denver-born former aide to Senator Max Baucus of Montana, who is widely recognized for his knowledge about what works for Democrats in the difficult political terrain of the Mountain States.
Republicans say they think Mr. Romney can carry Colorado because of dissatisfaction over the economy among its voters — even those who supported Mr. Obama in 2008 and Mr. Bennet two years later. They expect social issues to play less of a role in the race. Still, they concede, it is very close.
“It could go either way,” said Dick Wadhams, a former head of the state Republican Party and a Colorado campaign strategist. “It is a game of inches.”
Democrats and Republicans believe that the outcome will be decided by voters in the suburban Denver counties of Arapahoe and Jefferson, particularly women but also Hispanics — the same voters who were so crucial to Mr. Bennet in 2010.
He was up against Ken Buck, a state prosecutor who had won a primary against Jane Norton, a former lieutenant governor, despite some notable flubs, including his saying that he was a stronger candidate because “I do not wear high heels.” Remarks like that, and his opposition to abortion in the case of rape or incest, provided an opening for Mr. Bennet to reach out to Republican and independent women who were conservative on economic issues but were wary of tough social stances — a hallmark of Colorado swing voters.
To gain ground, Mr. Bennet hammered Mr. Buck on the abortion issue and a rape case that he had declined to prosecute, which he explained by saying the victim might have had “buyer’s remorse.”
Mr. Bennet also ran an ad with a Denver obstetrician-gynecologist accusing Mr. Buck of being too extreme on the issue of women’s health. Mr. Bennet’s wife, Susan, and their three young daughters campaigned heavily for him.
The strategy paid off. Mr. Bennet won narrowly, by about 15,000 votes, but he piled up about twice as many votes as Mr. Buck among Hispanics and ended up with a 17-percentage-point edge among women — the best showing in all of the Senate races that year.
The Obama campaign was clearly paying attention. Mr. Obama recently campaigned in the state with Sandra Fluke, the Georgetown University law student who got caught up in a battle over resistance to administration efforts to require health insurers to provide contraception. And the campaign is running ads in an aggressive effort to appeal to women.
One features two women discussing their fears about Mr. Romney being too extreme and out of touch on women’s health issues and his opposition to Planned Parenthood. “I think Mitt Romney would definitely drag us back,” one of the women says.
No one expects Mr. Obama to rack up the kind of margin with women that Mr. Bennet did. But the campaign is hoping to make up that difference with an ambitious outreach to younger voters, who did not vote in large numbers in 2010.
Mr. Wadhams, the Republican strategist, said he thought that Democrats were overplaying their hand on abortion in Colorado and that socially moderate Republican women and independents who were willing to support the president and Mr. Bennet were open to Mr. Romney if he delivered the right appeal.
“They want to vote for Mitt Romney if he can give them the sense that he will make the economy better,” Mr. Wadhams said. “In this election, I think they are far more anxious — absolutely terrified — about the future of the economy.”
Mr. Bennet said he was convinced that women in Colorado would strongly favor the president, given the record of Republicans in Washington and Mr. Romney’s views on issues they see as crucial.
“I am not sure there has been an election where women have a clearer choice,” he said.
The Long, Lawless Ride of Sheriff Joe Arpaio
Locking up the innocent. Arresting his critics. Racial profiling. Meet America’s meanest and most corrupt politician.
Joe Arpaio with detainees at his Tent City, which has been slapped with a federal lawsuit.
August 2, 2012 11:57 AM ET
Hey! You! Get off of my cloud!
Joe Arpaio, the 80-year-old lawman who brands himself “America’s toughest sheriff,” is smiling like a delighted gnome. Nineteen floors above the blazing Arizona desert, the Phoenix sprawl ripples in the heat as Arpaio cues up the Rolling Stones to welcome a reporter “from that marijuana magazine.”
Hey! You! Get off of my cloud!
The guided tour of Arpaio’s legend has officially begun. Here, next to his desk, is the hand-painted sign of draconian rules for Tent City, the infamous jail he set up 20 years ago, in which some 2,000 inmates live under canvas tarps in the desert, forced to wear pink underwear beneath their black-and-white-striped uniforms while cracking rocks in the stifling heat. HARD LABOR, the sign reads. NO GIRLIE MAGAZINES!
From behind his desk, Arpaio pulls out a stack of news clips about himself, dozens of them, featuring the gruff, no-frills enforcer of Maricopa County, whose officers regularly round up illegal immigrants in late-night raids, his 60th made only a few days ago, at a local furniture store. “Everything I did, all over the world,” he crows, flipping through the stories. “You can see this week: national magazine of Russia… BBC… Some people call me a publicity hound.”
“My people said, ‘You’re stupid to do an interview with that magazine,’” says Arpaio, talking about Rolling Stone, “but hey, controversy – well, it hasn’t hurt me in 50 years.”
Arpaio is an unabashed carnival barker. And his antics might be amusing if he weren’t also notorious for being not just the toughest but the most corrupt and abusive sheriff in America. As Arizona has become center stage for the debate over illegal immigration and the civil rights of Latinos, Arpaio has sold himself as the symbol of nativist defiance, a modern-day Bull Connor bucking the federal government over immigration policy. As such, he’s become the go-to media prop for conservative politicians, from state legislators to presidential candidates, who want to be seen as immigration hard-liners. “I had Michele Bachmann sitting right there,” says Arpaio, pointing to my chair. “All these presidential guys coming to see me!”
As Arpaio has faced allegations of rampant racial profiling in Arizona, he’s declared war on President Barack Obama, accusing him of watering down federal immigration law to court the Latino vote – while Arpaio himself continues to investigate the legitimacy of Obama’s birth certificate, the favored conspiracy of his far-right constituents. “I’m not going to get into everything else we got about the president,” he brags to a conservative radio interviewer while I’m sitting in his office. “I could write 9 million books.”
Arpaio refuses to acknowledge the president’s recent decision to grant temporary immunity from imprisonment and deportation to illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children. These people, Arpaio says, will “be arrested” in Maricopa County. In June, when the Supreme Court struck down key provisions of Arizona’s controversial immigration law, the core of which allows law enforcement to demand citizenship papers from any suspected illegal immigrant they come across, Arpaio growled that he wouldn’t “bend” to the feds, “especially when we still have state laws to enforce.”
“If they think I’m going to surrender,” Arpaio says, “it’s not going to happen.”
His rhetoric and tactics have spread fear in the Latino community in Arizona. “They hate me, the Hispanic community, because they’re afraid they’re going to be arrested,” Arpaio boasted to a TV interviewer in 2009. “And they’re all leaving town, so I think we’re doing something good, if they’re leaving.” But the all-consuming focus on immigration has come at a cost: Arpaio is so obsessed with the often illusory crimes of immigrants that he ignored more than 400 cases of sexual abuse he was responsible for investigating, including assaults on children. And it surprised no one that JT Ready, the Arizona white supremacist who shot and killed his girlfriend, her family and himself last May, had attended Arpaio rallies.
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Mitt Romney-Paul Ryan vision harks back to the days of Taft
Republicans Mitt Romney and Paul D. Ryan should be running in 1912. (David Horsey / Los Angeles Times / August13, 2012)
By David Horsey
August 14, 2012, 5:00 a.m.
The Republican team of Mitt Romney and Paul D. Ryan is less about the future than it is about nostalgia for a past that many Americans imagine was better — a time when businessmen were free of government meddling and all citizens, even the poor, old or handicapped, were expected to fend for themselves or scrape by on charity.
From the election of Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1932 until the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980, a different, liberal ethic drove our politics, even during the Republican administrations of Eisenhower, Nixon and Ford. That ethic said government must provide a safety net for the less fortunate among us and set limits on business interests that foul the environment, exploit workers and bamboozle consumers.
With Reagan, the old conservative ethic regained ascendancy, in part due to the excesses and failings of well-intentioned liberal programs. This ethic said government had intruded too much in the economy and had coddled unproductive citizens at the expense of those who worked hard and carried their own weight. Even Democrat Bill Clinton bowed to this new dominant ethic when he signed into law measures that stiffened welfare requirements and eliminated restraints on banks and other financial institutions.
Now, with the political pendulum stuck between the contending philosophies of right and left, the 2012 election offers voters a stark choice between the classic liberalism of the Obama administration and the militant conservatism of the Republican “young guns” in the House of Representatives. With one of the most prominent of those young guns, Paul D. Ryan, tapped as Romney’s choice for vice president, it is clear the Republican Party wants more than a restoration of the compromising conservatism of Reagan. The GOP seeks a return to the good old days of McKinley and Taft.
The budget plans that Ryan has put forward as chairman of the House Budget Committee would underfund or seriously alter nearly every liberal program instituted since FDR’s New Deal. His schemes would also lower taxes on the rich to a level not seen since the 1920s while whittling away at the deductions for home mortgages and philanthropic giving that have helped the middle class. In 2010, he proposed a complete elimination of the capital gains tax, a step that would allow people who live off their investments — people such as Mitt and Ann Romney – to pay no taxes at all.
The America Ryan longs for seems more like 1912 than 2012. Certainly, it was a simpler time a century ago. The majority of Americans were white, God-fearing Protestants who lived on farms or in small towns. Only a tiny elite went to college. The rich were very rich while the broad working class earned modest incomes through long days of labor in mines, in factories and in the fields. Women stayed at home. Black Americans were kept in their place. Politicians were in the pockets of the wealthy. Only wild-eyed socialists dreamed of helping the elderly with government-provided pensions and medical care.
Over the last 100 years, the planks of the Socialist Party platform of 1912 — items like a 40-hour work week, a minimum wage, and precursors to Social Security and Medicare — became mainstream ideas and pillars of American life. During the liberal era, a huge middle class was created as the American economy became the most vibrant and innovative in the world. The income gap between the rich and everyone else narrowed. A college education became the norm. Most people moved to the cities or suburbs. Women left home and went to work. The U.S. became a more equal, multi-racial society.
The core question before voters in this campaign season is which ethic — conservative or liberal — will guide our society in this new century. A lot of the folks supporting the Romney-Ryan ticket are shouting that they want to take their country back, but back to what?
Can a 21st century nation thrive with a return to the policies of William Howard Taft?
BY many measurements, this summer’s drought is one for the record books. But so was last year’s drought in the South Central states. And it has been only a decade since an extreme five-year drought hit the American West. Widespread annual droughts, once a rare calamity, have become more frequent and are set to become the “new normal.”
Until recently, many scientists spoke of climate change mainly as a “threat,” sometime in the future. But it is increasingly clear that we already live in the era of human-induced climate change, with a growing frequency of weather and climate extremes like heat waves, droughts, floods and fires.
Future precipitation trends, based on climate model projections for the coming fifth assessment from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, indicate that droughts of this length and severity will be commonplace through the end of the century unless human-induced carbon emissions are significantly reduced. Indeed, assuming business as usual, each of the next 80 years in the American West is expected to see less rainfall than the average of the five years of the drought that hit the region from 2000 to 2004.
I’ll make this quick. I have one question and one observation about Mitt Romney’s visit to Israel. The question is this: Since the whole trip was not about learning anything but about how to satisfy the political whims of the right-wing, super pro-Bibi Netanyahu, American Jewish casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, why didn’t they just do the whole thing in Las Vegas? I mean, it was all about money anyway — how much Romney would abase himself by saying whatever the Israeli right wanted to hear and how big a jackpot of donations Adelson would shower on the Romney campaign in return. Really, Vegas would have been so much more appropriate than Jerusalem. They could have constructed a plastic Wailing Wall and saved so much on gas.
The observation is this: Much of what is wrong with the U.S.-Israel relationship today can be found in that Romney trip. In recent years, the Republican Party has decided to make Israel a wedge issue. In order to garner more Jewish (and evangelical) votes and money, the G.O.P. decided to “out-pro-Israel” the Democrats by being even more unquestioning of Israel. This arms race has pulled the Democratic Party to the right on the Middle East and has basically forced the Obama team to shut down the peace process and drop any demands that Israel freeze settlements. This, in turn, has created a culture in Washington where State Department officials, not to mention politicians, are reluctant to even state publicly what is U.S. policy — that settlements are “an obstacle to peace” — for fear of being denounced as anti-Israel.
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