HeadOn TV

Will Coloradans fire two legislators?

The recall elections facing Colorado state senators John Morse and Angela Giron are worth doing,says John Andrews in the July round of <em>Head On TV</em> debates. Susan Barnes-Gelt disagrees, branding the recalls an NRA-driven waste of money. John on the right, Susan on the left, also go at it this month<!--more--> over Obamacare's troubles, Liz Cheney's US Senate bid, NSA leaker Edward Snowden, and the Zimmerman verdict. <em>Head On</em> has been a daily feature on Colorado Public Television since 1997. Here are all five scripts for July: 1. Recall Giron & Morse?

Susan: Dem. State senators Angie Giron - Pueblo & John Morse – Colorado Springs face recall elections because of their responsible votes on gun safety. Election day is September 10 – turnout will be low. Recalls are a waste of taxpayer money. National NRA’ers should foot the bill.

John: Never since 1876 have Coloradans tossed out a legislator in mid-term for breaking faith with the people they’re supposed to represent. Morse and Giron brought this on themselves by signing up with the New York gun-grabbers in disregard of grassroots 2nd Amendment values. Let the people decide.

Susan: Every elected must balance the diversity of opinion of those he or she represents with the dictates of her (or his) personal values. The ideologue luddites who control our elections, ignore that balance, imperiling democracy in the process.

John: Owning firearms for self-defense is paramount in our constitution, which Morse and Giron swore to uphold. Arguably the didn’t. Having a vote on whether they’re now fit to continue in office – which is all the recall election is – you call “imperiling democracy”? That is democracy.

2. Snowden: Patriot or Traitor?

Susan: Is Edward Snowden, the American who leaked confidential information about the US government’s domestic spying – a patriot or a traitor? Both, I’d say. He exposed serious NSA violations of the 4th Amendment – privacy, potentially risking American lives. Global espionage is dirty business.

John: Point one, the NSA is not about domestic spying. Its anti-terrorist data mining looks for impersonal patterns in the public domain, not private information. Google does the same. Point two, Edward Snowden is no patriot. He wants to bring America down. Look at where he seeks asylum.

Susan: You’re giving him too much credit. Snowden is a young, naïve fool, who did something stupid. The American public is split about his guilt or innocence, reflecting anxiety about the erosion of personal privacy resulting from the internet, social media and the workplace. Government sanctioned spying is unacceptable.

John: Edward Snowden is an accomplice of our enemies and a traitor to his country. His hollow talk of free expression is belied by the repressive regimes he went running to. Brutal Beijing. Murderous Moscow. Tinpot dictators in Latin America. Even they won’t have him. What a scum.

3. Zimmerman Verdict

John: Two young men, confused and scared, got into a fight. The one on the bottom, fearing for his life, pulled a gun and killed the other one.. After a fair trial with the whole nation watching, the jury said self-defense. That’s the George Zimmerman-Trayvon Martin story. Period.

Susan: Wish that it were so simple. Obama got it right – it’s about race – not self-defense. A white guy vigilante armed with a gun is threatened by a black youngster in a hoody, armed with Skittles? And the jury of peers? Six white women from the south? The prosecutor should have asked for a change of venue. Justice was not served.

John: Yes, a lot of people want Travon Martin’s death to be about race. It caters to the white guilt syndrome, the black victim industry, and those who enjoy believing America is sick. But there was zero evidence for that. Zero. The prosecution admitted it. Black-on-black crime is the real tragedy.

Susan: Your Backbone Colorado puts Lake Woebegone to shame. In Backbone, not only is every kid above average and one day sunnier than the next, but the hard cold reality of human prejudice – sanctified by ignorant elected’s – like Florida’s Rick Scott and the Fox News boys – does not exist.

4. Obamacare in Trouble

John: Obama’s health care law is a bigger and bigger mess. Its very name is an Orwellian lie. Affordable care? Costs are rising. Patient protection? Quality’s going down. Democratic Senator Max Baucus, who helped write the law, calls it a train wreck. The White House is panicked. America deserves better.

Susan: Costs are rising because private insurance companies and for-profit hospitals conspire in gouging the public. Quality healthcare and ‘for profit’ make about as much sense as organic spam or homemade twinkies. There’s a reason why conservative states like Arizona are opting into Obamacare – it makes sense.

John: Nice try, but most states have opted out. Millions of individuals eligible for Obama’s supposed free health care have not signed up either. Thousands of companies have cut back hiring. This thing is a job killer. The president delayed his own corporate mandate. In defiance of law. Stop the madness.

Susan: The 14 states opting out of Obamacare are leaving $9 billion on the table and 3.6 Americans without insurance. All tolled, those states will spend more than $1-billion more taxpayer dollars, on uncompensated care than they would by accepting the federal expansion. Now that’s madness!

5. Liz Cheney Seeks Wyoming Senate Seat

Susan: Dick Cheney’s daughter Liz packed up her carpetbag and moved to Wyoming – though she hales from Dallas & DC – to mount a primary challenge against 3-term Republican Mike Enzi. Young Liz makes up her own rules. We’ll see if her DC arrogance plays in Wyoming.

John: You Democrats are bossy. You’re already the governing party. Now you tell Republicans how to be the opposition party. We’ll manage that ourselves, thank you. It’s a free country. Conservative Wyoming can make up its own mind whether Liz Cheney or Mike Enzi can best stand up to Harry Reid.

Susan: C’mon John, Enzi’s voting record is down-the-line conservative. It’s his congenial, western personality that’s motivating Ms. Liz. Harry Reid isn’t the problem. The problem is the crude, strident tone that dominates your party. Wyoming voters won’t buy it.

John: Naturally the White House and the liberal media prefer GOP senators who politely compromise and cave. But most of us Republicans want fighters, Ted Cruz types. Hence the Wyoming shootout. If cowgirl Liz can show more testerone than cowboy Mike, into the Senate with her.

It's called weather, Chicken Little

Recent wildfires in Colorado aren't a symptom of catastrophic climate change,says John Andrews in the June round of Head On TV debates. Susan Barnes-Gelt disagrees, alleging that earth is warming at a dangerous rate. John on the right, Susan on the left, also go at it this month over the NSA data dragnet, rumblings of northern Colorado secession, and the 2014 races for senator and governor. Head On has been a daily feature on Colorado Public Television since 1997. Here are all five scripts for June: 1. FOREST FIRES & CLIMATE CHANGE

Susan:  Think there’s a relationship between wildfires raging in Colorado and climate change? Nah. Just because earth’s average temp has risen nearly 2 degrees since 1915, and projected to rise another 2 – 11 over the next century.  - Unprecedented floods, droughts, & rising seal levels. Just Ma Nature being cranky. Right?

John: Liberal crybabies call it climate change and get their diapers in a knot. Ordinary people call it weather and get on with their lives.  Temperatures stopped increasing 16 years ago, and soon the worriers may again proclaim global cooling, as in the 1970s. Colorado forest fires are as old as the forest itself.

Susan:  The gentleman doth protest too much . . . Alaska had 90 degree temperatures last week. Unprecedented! Keep whistling Dixie if it makes you happy. But if I were you, I wouldn’t make plans to retire to South Florida anytime soon.

John: I can’t whistle anything in this drought.  My lips are too dry.  But Susan, look – global warming, climate change, greenhouse gases, carbon credits, cap and trade – the whole thing is a giant scare tactic cooked up by guilty rich liberals and power-hungry politicians. Exhibit A: Al Gore, the world’s biggest hypocritical fraud.




John: Suppose there was a 51st state with liberty as its motto, world-class agriculture as its economy, and Greeley as its capital. That’s the vision of conservative leaders in Weld County and northern Colorado. Far-fetched? Maybe. But they mean it. The state’s ruling liberals are that far out of touch.


Susan:  My first ever political campaign was – Norman Mailer / Jimmy Breslin “make NYC the 51st state’ 1969 mayor/comptroller effort.  It was a fun, lively, engaging and quixotic experience for a sassy NYU student.  Colorado redux? Quixotic without the fun and lively!


John: When Weld, Mesa, and other counties threaten to form a separate state of North Colorado, seeking local voter approval this fall, they can’t realistically expect a green light from the legislature and Congress. It’s a deadly serious sign of the times, however. Bloated government plus diminished freedom equals grassroots revolt.


Susan:  The problem isn’t bloated government.  The problem is irrelevant government. Like spending $50 billion to build the Berlin Wall at our border with Mexico. Why not invest the money in roads and bridges?  The problem is no local, state or federal leadership – what’s next?  Anarchy?




John: The NSA data dragnet is scary. 1984 has arrived.  But Americans have ourselves to blame. We want protection from Islamic terrorism.  We love our electronic connectivity with no thought of privacy from corporate providers. Big Brother government was bound to be next. One and one make three. But I hate it.


Susan:  I hate it too.  The question is how far is too far.  Holder’s squelching of the Associated Press is too far – an attempt to staunch leaky spigots in the government – not save the country from terrorists.  Of course 1984 is here.  It arrived in 1998 with the internet boom.


John: Claims from our leaders in both parties that the all-knowing NSA database is necessary and safe do not reassure me at all.  Rather they indicate that most of those leaders and both of those parties have forgotten that absolute power corrupts absolutely.  This issue is huge.  It could make Rand Paul president.


Susan:  Oregon’s Senator Wyden and Colorado’s Mark Udall both have access to classified security info.  They dispute spying on American’s phone records has stopped 50+ terrorists plots. The two Dems introduced a bill to limit unchecked surveillance.  Here’s hoping the Repub’s  fall in line.




John: Gov. John Hickenlooper is the ice-dancer of Colorado politics. Picture a tutu.  He has skated along with high popularity and low accomplishments. But his failure to lead is glaring. Coloradans heavily disapprove his reprieve of the murderer Nathan Dunlap.  Polls indicate even a no-name Republican could now beat Hick.


Susan:  Hick’s Hamlet routine on Dunlap may have moved the approval needle.  Yup, from 70% to 55.  On the other hand unless Hank Brown or your boss, Bill Armstrong or possibly Becky Love Kourlis throw a hat in the ring, Hick’s a sure bet for re-elect.


John: Your sure bet belongs at the racetrack, not the Hickenlooper dog and pony show. His unpopular gun bills, tax increases, and dangerous mess in the correctional system add up to weakness bigtime. The façade is crumbling. He’s vulnerable to Gessler, Brophy, or Tancredo. And there will be others.


Susan Gessler has huge problems.  It’ll be tough for him to raise money. Respected Repub’s won’t support him.  Chances are, he can’t even hold on to his Secretary of State gig. Tancredo & Brophy? Non-starters.  Hick’s got  problems, but the R’s don’t have a bench.





Susan:  Approval ratings for Congress are in the low single digits.  Both our Senators – Udall and Bennet are well below 50-percent.  Does this mean they are vulnerable? Unlikely.  Bennet’s not up until 2016 and no one, I mean NO One has surfaced to take on Udall next year.


John: 2014 will be a good year for the party of more freedom and less government, the Republicans. Senate Democrats will feel the voter backlash from Obama’s health care mess and his tangle of scandals. Michael Bennett and Mark Udall are both mediocre senators. A conservative darkhorse could unseat the liberal Udall.


Susan:  Once again John, you cannot beat someone with no one.  And El Paso County state legislator Amy Stephens, a far-right wing nut, went rogue and supported Obamacare. Truth is, the Republican bench in Colorado is so weak, they can’t come up with a folding chair.


John: Udall has been a lackluster senator, Hickenlooper a lackluster governor.  Neither is riding a wave of popularity. Obama’s unpopularity hurts them both. Each will face a strong challenger, mark my words. It’s still early. Sen. Ben Campbell and Gov. Bill Ritter looked strong at this point too. Neither was reelected.

Obama Messiah is no more

A leftist agenda playing loose with the law has cost Obama his messianic aura, says John Andrews in the May round of Head On TV debates. Susan Barnes-Gelt disagrees, blaming the welter of scandals on arrogance at the top and incompetence of underlings. John on the right, Susan on the left, also go at it this month over immigration, school taxes, recall of legislators, and Hickenlooper's record. Head On has been a daily feature on Colorado Public Television since 1997. Here are all five scripts for May: 1. SCANDALS ENGULF OBAMA

John: IRS intimidation of anyone who gets in Obama’s way politically – Christians, Jews, conservatives, you name it – is the latest example of Chicago-style gangster politics that are bringing this administration into disgrace with Democrats and Republicans alike. I worked in the White House during Watergate, Susan, and this looks very familiar.

Susan: Given the 24-hour news cycle, twitter, IM and Facebook – and an ability to hire the best and brightest – Obama is strangely unplugged. If he expects to move his agenda, he’d better hire some strong critical thinkers: old dogs in touch with history.

John: The President and his palace guard – Hillary Clinton, Eric Holder, Susan Rice, Jack Lew, Jay Carney – believe their leftist agenda is so righteous that it justifies disregard of the law and the truth. IRS abuse, spying on journalists, covering up Benghazi, gun running to Mexico – Obama as Messiah is no more.

Susan: Obama’s overreach has nothing to do with a leftist agenda – Watergate? Iran Contra? The problem is out of touch, arrogance of power of those in high office and their staff, who forget they’re accountable to the public. Obama needs to replace the hallelujah chorus with savvier advisors.


John: “Give me your huddled masses yearning to breath free.” So proclaims the Statue of Liberty, and as a conservative I agree. But the American dream attracting immigrants from all nations is opportunity and liberty under law, not simply crash the gates and then claim amnesty. The Senate bill is fatally flawed.

Susan: The US immigration system is fatally flawed. And if the United States Congress doesn’t get it together, the nation’s future is at risk. Anyone born in this country should be a citizen. Foreign nationals, educated at our best universities, should be encouraged to stay. End of story.

John: Birthright citizenship and a global brain drain to America already exist. What liberals and Sen. Schumer want now, and what conservatives and Sen. Rubio must not give them, are 10 million new Democratic voters legitimized by a fast track to citizenship and a slow stall on border security. Just say no, Republicans.

Susan: I continue to be surprised at your assumption that Mexican and Latin American immigrants are automatic Democrats. If the Grand Old Party (emphasis OLD) relied on demographics and economics instead of emotion, immigration reform would be on top of your must do agenda.


Susan: Governor Hickenlooper gets points for the 2013 legislative session. Despite Democratic control of both houses, he maintained his trademark a-partisan, brand. Progressive on social issues: gay marriage and gun control; while supporting business interests on energy policy and fiscal restraint. Like Colorado – the guv is bright purple – tilting blue.

John: A-partisan, you say? Never in 40 years has one party rammed through its extreme ideological agenda as brutally as Democrats in 2013. It sets up common-sense Republicans for a 2014 comeback. Hickenlooper shares the blame, and it will hurt his presidential ambitions. Same-day registration, ripe for voter fraud, scares me the most.

Susan: Nearly half-dozen R’s are lining up to challenge Hick in 2014. For the most part, they are either unaffiliated unknowns or single issue opponents to the guv’s support for responsible gun control. Forgive the metaphor, but that dog can’t hunt in a state that’s experienced Columbine and Aurora.

John: Hickenlooper, Mr. Folksy, Mr. Indecisive, won with a bare majority in 2010. How is the state better off since then? Better schools, no. Better roads, no. Economic boom, energy boom, no. More crime, yes. Marijuana madness, yes. Hick can be licked. Challengers Gessler, Brophy, Tancredo, or Laffey could all do it.


Susan: Senate Bill 213 proposes to increase K-12 statewide funding. The key element – how to fund – is TBD. Supporters must reach agreement on whether to raise Colorado’s flat income tax to 5.3% or move to a graduated approach. Then – gather 86,000 sigs for the November ballot. Heavy lifting.

John: Only in the Alice in Wonderland world of big government does persistent mediocrity justify ever greater funding. American public education has tripled its real dollars per student since 1970 while test scores remained flat. Colorado doesn’t need a billion dollar tax increase for teacher unions. We need parental choice.

Susan: Obviously – Colorado has parental choice: charter schools and private and religious schools. That’s not the issue. In truth, urban districts – especially Denver – must air-condition every building and go to a 12-month school year and longer day – before asking for an operational tax hike.

John: You don’t have choice until the school dollars go in every child’s backpack so mom and dad can send kids where they learn best and are safest. Government monopoly schools are a fraud on Hispanic and black and poor families. Higher taxes, no. Tax credits or vouchers like Douglas County, yes.


Susan: Four Colorado Democratic legislators: Sen John Morse, Evie Hudak & Angela Giron and Rep. Mike McLachlan face recall attempts over their support for the responsible gun control measures. Even pro-gun advocate Dudley Brown thinks it’s a waste of resources. Even conservative Coloradans aren’t puppets of the NRA!

John: Legislators aren’t anointed to rule by decree, they are elected to represent you and me. The recall process – petition signatures followed by a vote – lets us unelect them for bad representation. The recent gun grab laws, rejected as unconstitutional by 54 county sheriffs, may cost some senators and representatives their seats.

Susan: Efforts against Durango Rep. McLachlan have failed to get enough signatures – same is likely against Hudak and Giron. El Paso County Dem John Morse is the real target – national gun rights groups are funding the effort. I don’t think Coloradans want outside interests to dictate local policy.

John: John Morse holds a high position of trust as Senate President. Holding that job years ago, I learned you can’t come on too extreme. Sen. Morse may learn that the hard way, by constituents booting him this summer. His agenda is way, way left. Conservative Colorado Springs may tell him sayonara.

Legislature veers hard left

Colorado is not better off as the legislative session wraps up with Democrats having pushed through a hard-left agenda, says John Andrews in the April round of Head On TV debates. Susan Barnes-Gelt disagrees, lauding the session as enlightened and pragmatic. John on the right, Susan on the left, also go at it this month over gun control, illegal immigration, lapses by law enforcement, and a sweetheart land deal in local government. Head On has been a daily feature on Colorado Public Television since 1997. Here are all five scripts for April: 1. LEGISLATIVE REPORT CARD

John: It’s legislative report card time. Voters fired the House Republicans and gave Democrats control. They responded by raising energy costs, empowering trial lawyers, encouraging illegal immigration, attacking gun rights, undermining traditional marriage, and proposing a billion-dollar tax increase. Colorado is not better off.

Susan: Get a grip John – it’s the 21st Century. Colorado’s legislature reflects the rest of the country – diverse, focused on the economy – not the bedroom, enlightened about our fragile ecology, pragmatic. Ferrandino led a strong session, though it’s unraveling a bit ‘cause the days are numbered.

John: Having served in the General Assembly, I respect the goodwill and dedication of 100 representatives and senators making laws for the other 5 million of us. But I’m very glad their grandiose plans are somewhat restrained by the constitution, including a session limit that cuts them off at 120 days.

Susan: Right -if the lege spent 120 days focused on the budget, civic infrastructure and public safety. Instead, too much time is absorbed on social issues thanks to right-wing, small government conservatives, committed to obsolete wedge issues – God, guns & gays – instead of the public’s priorities.


John: Here’s your clueless politician update. Move over, Nancy Pelosi. Make room for Diana DeGette. Everyone remembers “Pass the bill to find out what’s in it.” Now we have “Ban high-capacity magazines without knowing what they are.” These congressladies are dangerous. Put’em under trigger lock and leave gun regulation to the states.

Susan: DeGette’s stupid gun manifesto reflects how out of touch she is with anything but the beltway bozos. Shame on her, but that’s not the point. That congress may be, possibly reaching consensus on the most moderate controls re registration is the real point. Way to go ladies & gents!

John: Nothing in the Constitution authorizes the federal government to regulate firearms in the first place, nor will the expanded background checks increase public safety. This is just Obama and a bunch of senators grandstanding to boost their power and their poll numbers. And over in the House, constitutional conservatives aren’t buying it.

Susan: Pullleezzz. How can a man as smart as you advocate for the rights of criminals, abusers, terrorists and the insane to but a gun? You can’t drive a car without being tested, licensed and insured. A majority of gun owners support the weak bill in front of Congress. Get real!


John: The beat goes on with liberals pandering to border-jumpers and visa-jumpers, with the ultimate goal of 10 million new Democratic voters. First it was subsidized college tuitions. Now it’s a Colorado driver’s license for illegal immigrants. Except we can’t call them that any more, according to the Associated Press. Where will it stop?

Susan: There you go again . . .Senate Bill 251 allows undocumented immigrants to get a driver’s license upon presenting state tax returns, a federal tax ID and a country-of-origin proof of identity. Licensed drivers are insured, must pass a driver’s test and make our streets and hiways safer.

John: You’re so soothing, almost hypnotic. Don’t fall for it, folks. I repeat: the name of this game is 10 million new Democratic voters. If someone broke the law to come here, and you reward them with a driver’s license, it encourages all kinds of other lawbreaking, including election fraud. Bad idea.

Susan: C’mon John. Licenses will say non-citizen - voter fraud’s not the issue. The more consequential question is, why assume that a majority of recent immigrants are going to vote D? Hard to imagine all the old dogs in the Republican Party are resigned to permanent minority status. Ironic – EH?


Susan: BIG screw-ups regarding a Denver sheriff deputy aiding a criminal to escape from jail and the brutal murder of State Corrections Chief Tom Clements by parolee Evan Ebel don’t signal a failure of American justice as we know it. However, big cuts to public safety budgets take a toll.

John: The convict who shot the corrections chief was paroled several years early by mistake. He was then allowed off his ankle monitor for several days by mistake. The jailbird who fled with help from a crooked cop was given too much leeway inside by mistake. Too many mistakes. Heads should roll.

Susan: We agree – too many mistakes. Heads should roll. The utter failure of the state parole system had deadly consequences. The Denver sheriff should have gone to his superiors when his life and family were threatened. Let’s hope the powers that be at the state and city figure it out.

John: We tape these debates once a month, and while this one was being scripted, Americans suddenly learned of the bombings in Boston and the ricin letters to Obama and Sen. Wicker. Hats off to law enforcement everywhere, whether here in Colorado or nationally. They have their hands full. Say amen, Susan.


Susan: Shame on Mayor Michael Hancock and DPS Super, Tom Boasberg. The behind-closed-doors swap of 11 acres of open space for a fixer-upper at 1330 Fox is a bad deal for taxpayers - a textbook example of why people don’t trust government. The deal may tank Hancock’s re-election.

John: Okay, I read your column about this DPS land deal, and though the details made my head hurt, it does sound cutesy and perhaps shady. But with due respect to your investigative work, Susan, for an urban density advocate you seem strangely worked up about a few acres of crummy flood plain.

Susan: The 11 acres of designated open space belongs to Denver taxpayers who have a contract with their representatives – the mayor, council & school board – to protect and conserve that interest. Hancock will pay for his bad judgment, and so should Superintendent Boasberg.

John: Whether the mayor suffers politically for an obscure real estate swap with no graft involved, I doubt. But I applaud your civic indignation and determination to expose this thing, my friend. With newspaper coverage dwindling and no opposition party to keep Denver local officials honest, we need more watchdogs like you.

Scalia pilloried for speaking truth

In blaming the Voting Rights Act for "racial entitlements," Justice Antonin Scalia sounded like Archie Bunker, says Susan Barnes-Gelt in the March round of Head On TV debates. Not so, says John Andrews; the VRA does in fact insult blacks and Hispanics with favoritism. John on the right, Susan on the left, also go at it this month over school vouchers, the federal budget sequester, municipal tracking bans, and the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights. Head On has been a daily feature on Colorado Public Television since 1997. Here are all five scripts for March: 1. IS VOTING RIGHTS ACT UNCONSTITUTIONAL?

Susan: Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia asserted “voting rights are a perpetuation of racial entitlement”. He sounded more like Archie Bunker than an esteemed jurist. The 1965 Voting Rights Act empowers the federal government to nullify local laws discriminating against minority voters. Scalia’s arrogance demeans informed conservatives and the court.

John: I want to live under a color-blind constitution where all individuals are equal before the law, not where government treats people differently according to their race. Section V of the Voting Rights Act, criticized by Scalia, does in fact discriminate racially. It insults blacks and Hispanics in the guise of helping them.

Susan: Yeah – a place where all the women are strong, the men good looking and the kids above average. Sadly the NO VACANCY sign is up at your fanciful Lake Wobegon. Republicans are going to need more than discriminatory voting policies to regain relevance in the 21st Century.

John: Equality before the law isn’t fanciful. It’s simply right, nothing more nor less. The alternatives are either treating nonwhites as second-class citizens, or tilting the election process so everybody is represented by someone of their own skin color. The second is just as un-American, just as monstrous, as the first.


John: Children in Douglas County are Colorado’s luckiest kids. Nowhere else can moms and dads choose a school that works best for their child and have the education funding go along in the child’s backpack. That kid-friendly idea, called vouchers, was on hold by court order, but no more. Educational freedom, here we come.

Susan: K-12 education is in turmoil. From obsolete governance – volunteer elected school boards to the agrarian-based 8-month a year, 6-hour a day calendar – the system doesn’t work for the 21st Century. Charters, vouchers, magnet schools are a sorry attempt to patch a system in need of reinvention.

John: You are so wrong. Empowering educators to innovate through charter schools without union restrictions is very 21st century. So is empowering parents to choose the best school for their kids through vouchers. Unions will mount a desperate Wisconsin-style campaign to take back Douglas County this fall. Educational freedom terrifies them.

Susan: Bottom line on Doug County vouchers? An appeal to the Colorado Supremes will add years and another million to the tab. The district has huge deficits, is cutting curriculum and eliminating staff. It’s a no win for kids, ideologues or reformers. Revolution now!


John: Detroit has gone from being one of America’s richest cities to one of the poorest. Reckless spending and high taxes were the cause. States like California and Illinois are headed for a similar crash. Fortunately Colorado is protected by TABOR, the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights. Yet Democrats are in court to nullify TABOR.

Susan: Hundreds of local cities, towns and schools districts have opted out of TABOR - that speaks volumes. Five years of a declining state economy and TABOR’s arbitrary restraints mean government can’t meet the demands of a growing population and economy. TABOR’s ratchet is a hatchet.

John: Fallacies, fallacies – where should I start? One, voters removed the TABOR ratchet years ago. Two, in a slow economy when revenues aren’t growing, TABOR doesn’t operate. And three, as you noted, voters can override the limits any time. Colorado is lucky to have this fiscal guardrail, and judges should leave it alone.

Susan: Of course higher taxes should be voter approved– as TABOR mandates. But the stupidity of shrinking government to anorexia – starving public safety, k-12 and higher ed, highway maintenance and human services is nonsense.Wanna build your own highway? School system? Hire your own police force and maintenance crew? Get a grip!


Susan: Gov. Hick’s softened his stance that he would sue any local jurisdiction that outlawed the controversial drilling method - fracking -within its boundaries. Stiff opposition from Fort Collin’s city council caused the Hick to backtrack. Sometimes it’s OK when a political leader is windsocky!

John: Hydraulic fracturing is the greatest thing for energy independence and higher living standards since America’s discovery of oil itself. The fluids used are perfectly safe, as Hickenlooper demonstrated by chugging a glass of the stuff. Fort Collins politicians are a bunch of chicken littles and lawbreakers. Sue away, Governor.

Susan: Due respect to our lovable governor – he’s been imbibing weird stuff for decades – homemade beer, experimental weed, fracking fluid . . . No wonder he’s so charming and unpredictable. Local government has the greatest stake in the health and safety of its residents. It’s your conservative mantra!

John: The law requires uniformity of access to mineral resources throughout the state. To allow a crazy quilt of local variations to obstruct development of abundant, affordable energy is legal theft – and economically stupid. Opposing hydraulic fracturing, based on junk science, is like opposing a cure for cancer.


Susan: Na-nana-na-na shenanigans over sequester are the last straw for every DC incumbent. Both parties deserve a trip to the woodshed. Libertarian Senator Rand Paul is the only stand-up elected. He put himself and values on the line in a successful 13-hour filibuster regarding the use of drones in the U.S.

John: The two parties actually differ sharply, Susan. Democrats are bawling like spoiled children over a couple of pennies on the dollar in slower growth – not cuts, just slower growth – to our bloated federal budget. Republicans, though worried about weaker defenses, have embraced the savings like grownups. And the public is with us.

Susan: The public is fed up with DC brinksmanship. The Congress and the White House have lost touch with what’s happening on the streets of this country. Let’s begin the sequester by not paying Congress and the White House. Bet that’ll bring ‘em to the negotiating table.

John: Fortunately, our two-party system gives Americans a choice between the self-perpetuating government approach and the advocates of fiscal sanity. Once again, it’s D versus R. In this corner, Obama and Harry Reid, the tax and spend guys. In that corner, Rand Paul and Marco Rubio, the constitution guys. It’s no contest.