The Real Problem in Iraq: Gay Marriage

Only one shopping day left until Valentine’s Day.

The Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday rejected an attempt to ban all abortions, even in the case of rape or incest. As Jeri Clausing of The Denver Post reports:

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 4-3 along party lines Monday night to kill Senate Bill 143 by freshman Sen. Scott Renfroe, a Greeley Republican.

Earlier in the day, abortion-rights advocates gathered on the Capitol steps to protest the measure, which Senate President Joan Fitz-Gerald, D-Golden, said was part of a “draconian” movement born of “moral superiority and condemnation.”

Renfroe’s “moral superiority” may need an overhaul; yesterday he was quoted comparing abortion to slavery while referring to a slave as ‘it.’ Well done.


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Here’s one order that came a few months to late for one of Colorado’s sketchiest Republicans. A judge in Jefferson County has issued a gag order in the case of former County Treasurer Mark Paschall, who has been accused of soliciting a kickback. As Charley Able of the Rocky Mountain News reports:

A judge on Monday told former Jefferson County Treasurer Mark Paschall to remove any firearms from his house and to stay away from the woman he allegedly tried to involve in a kickback scheme.

An indictment handed down by a Jefferson County grand jury late last month includes a transcript of a taped conversation in which Paschall appears to have solicited a $9,000 kickback from a $25,000 bonus he paid to Kathy Redmond, a longtime acquaintance he hired when he took office in 2003. Redmond alerted authorities to Paschall’s request.
Jefferson County District Judge Randall Arp issued a protective order during Monday’s advisement hearing, forbidding Paschall to “harass or contact” Redmond or any potential witnesses in the case.

As part of the order, Arp told Paschall he cannot “control or possess” any firearm. When Paschall’s attorney, William Rapson, asked if that includes firearms for personal protection inside Paschall’s home, Arp said, “It prohibits him from having one in his possession, so he will have to remove them as long as he is under indictment.”
Arp also imposed a gag order on the case to control “what is or is not said outside the courtroom.”

Yeah, Paschall needs a gun for “personal protection.” The biggest threat to Mark Paschall is Mark Paschall.


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The majority of Americans want to send the troops home from Iraq, according to a new poll. As USA Today reports:

Americans overwhelmingly support congressional action to cap the number of U.S. troops in Iraq and set a timetable to bring them home by the end of next year, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds – tougher action than the non-binding resolution the House of Representatives is to begin debating today.
While six in 10 oppose President Bush’s plan to use more troops to try to stabilize Iraq, a nearly equal number also oppose any effort to cut off funding for those additional forces.

“They’re saying the same thing they said in the 2006 elections – that they are against the current policy and they want something done about it,” says James Thurber, director of the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies at American University.

“They want Congress to debate it; they want Congress to focus on it; they want to bring this war to a close,” says Mark Blumenthal, a former Democratic pollster who is now editor of Pollster.com. “We don’t want to deny our armed services what they need to do their jobs, but we’d like to bring them home.”

Republicans remain supportive of the war; a majority of them oppose any congressional limits. Still, even among those who back Bush’s troop increase, nearly a third endorse the timetable for pulling out.

Not reported was the finding that 15 percent of Republicans say that the war in Iraq was caused by gay marriage.


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Guess what’s still in the news? I mean, besides Anna Nicole Smith. As Jennifer Brown of The Denver Post reports:

The Capitol rift over Colorado’s new ethics law intensified Monday as one group of legislators announced plans to clarify the true intent of the Amendment 41 – a crackdown on corrupt influences. Another group, meanwhile, said the legislature has no business tinkering with an amendment approved by Colorado voters. They are introducing a bill that implements Amendment 41 as is.

The chasm over the ethics amendment has crossed party lines and pitted House leadership against Senate leadership. Rep. Rosemary Marshall, who is sponsoring the clarifying legislation, said lawmakers have a responsibility to end the confusion over the amendment’s ambiguity.

Amendment 41 prohibits lawmakers from taking anything from lobbyists and bans government workers and their families from receiving gifts worth more than $50, except on special occasions. The law’s vague language also prohibits everything from children of government employees accepting certain scholarships to college professors collecting the financial award that comes with a Nobel Prize, according to Colorado Attorney General John Suthers.

The bill sponsored by Marshall, D-Denver, and Sen. Steve Ward, R-Littleton, will make it clear the ethics measure does not restrict scholarships for the children of government workers or faculty awards. They plan to introduce the legislation this week. Ward said they will make “absolutely no attempt” to change the part that says lawmakers cannot except gifts or meals from lobbyists.

Is it just me, or has this story has gotten more confusing than the last season of “Lost?”


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Will he run or will he not? Former Rep. Bob Schaffer continues to ponder a run for the U.S. Senate while he practices talking ambiguously. As Joe Hanel of The Durango Herald reports:

One of the top potential candidates for U.S. Senate expressed doubts about running Monday.

Bob Shaffer, a favorite of conservative Republicans, said he’s considering a run but doesn’t know if the time is right for a candidate like him.

“In 2008, for a Republican to win, everything needs to line up perfectly,” said Shaffer, a former U.S. Congressman from the Eastern Plains.

Shaffer made his remarks to a group of about 20 Douglas County residents at the state Capitol.

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The expected Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate, Rep. Mark Udall, had a good view of Russian President Vladimir Putin as he tossed verbal barbs at the U.S. over the weekend. As M.E. Sprengelmeyer of the Rocky Mountain News explains:

A Colorado congressman got a “Cold War” flashback on Saturday, when Russian President Vladimir Putin unleashed harsh rhetoric against the United States.

Rep. Mark Udall, D-Eldorado Springs, was sitting a few yards away from the podium at the 43rd Munich Conference on Security Policy when Putin accused the United States of “almost uncontained” use of force.

Putin said the United States had “overstepped its national borders in every way,” prompting other countries to seek nuclear weapons.
Udall, who was part of a bipartisan congressional delegation at the conference, said he did not take it as a start of a new “Cold War.”

But he said Putin’s rhetoric is a sign that the United States needs to solve sticky issues like Iraq in order to preserve its position of strength in the world.

Ah, don’t blame Putin for being surly. He’s just mad about the price of toilet paper and Levis, that’s all.


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Remember last year’s controversial smoking ban? Well, now everybody and their mother wants an exception to the rule, as legislators are learning:

Despite pleas from several dozen small-tavern owners who say the statewide smoking ban is putting them out of business, a Senate panel Monday refused to offer an exemption.

A House committee, however, approved a measure to allow smoking in assisted-living facilities, saying the ban is unfair to people confined to their rooms.
The Senate state affairs committee voted 3-2 Monday against Senate Bill 103 by Sen. Lois Tochtrop, D-Thornton, to let bars spend $500 for a smoking license.

More than 30 people testified in support of the proposal, mostly small-tavern owners who say they’ve lost business since the ban took effect in July.

Smoke ’em if you got ’em, but only in an assisted-living home.

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Jason Bane

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