Dutch Ovens and Vowels

Anna Nicole Smith, we hardly knew ye.

Well, except for seeing you naked. And on TV all of the time.


Governor Bill Ritter has talked repeatedly about his interest in making Colorado a top renewable energy state, and the legislature took steps toward that goal yesterday. As Leslie Robinson of Colorado Confidential notes, two energy-related bills sailed out of committee yesterday:

House Bill 1146– would make buildings more energy efficient by requiring local governments to incorporate energy codes that meet or exceed the standards set forth in the 2003 International Energy Conservation Code.  Only local governments that already have a building code would have to incorporate the energy codes. 

House Bill 1145– would promote alternative energy development by authorizing the state land board to lease land for renewable energy resource development. Under current statute, 90 percent of the revenues from state lands help fund K-12 education.

House Bill 1208–allows retailer reward programs to offer discounted gas and generic drugs to regular clients.


Colorado Democrats are also pushing for more funding for NREL, so that they can finally buy a vowel. As The Associated Press reports:

Colorado Democrats pressed the Bush administration Thursday to fund key projects at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, which they say needs more money this year and would see a cut under the president’s 2008 budget proposal.

In his 2008 budget proposal, released this week, Bush decreased his request for the Golden, Colo., lab to $181.5 million from $187.5 million last year.

Colorado Democratic Reps. Diana DeGette and Mark Udall and Sen. Ken Salazar have criticized Bush’s budget for the lab, saying he failed to follow through on a pledge to devote more resources to renewable energy. The lab does the nation’s primary research on renewable energy and energy efficiency.

In response to DeGette’s questions about the budget during a House hearing Thursday morning, Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman said the lab is important to the administration and promised to look out for its funding.

Energy Department spokesman Craig Stevens said the lab likely would get an increase because it would benefit from a pot of money reserved for administration priorities.

Separately, Salazar wrote a letter and phoned Alexander Karsner, the assistant secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy, to urge the department to direct $113 million to the lab for key equipment and planned expansions this year.


Another day, another discussion about Amendment 41. Today the editorial board of the Rocky Mountain News weighs in on what they are calling the most divisive ballot issue in years:

Not since the passage in 1992 of Amendment 1 (the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights) and Amendment 2 (which overturned local gay rights ordinances) has there been so much furor and anger over what voters themselves wrought at the polls.

You’ll notice that one of those ’92 amendments has vanished from sight. Amendment 2 was challenged in court and overturned in a case that eventually landed in the lap of the U.S. Supreme Court. Now the same attorney who led the charge against that doomed amendment, Jean Dubofsky, is part of a team targeting Amendment 41. Their case was filed Thursday in Denver District Court, and even we must admit that it presents some appealing arguments for why the amendment may violate the U.S. Constitution…

…What kind of weird, draconian, ill-conceived amendment would apparently restrict so much healthy political and civic activity and so many normal acts of generosity? The answer of course is Amendment 41, brought to you by Common Cause and former state school board member Jared Polis.

Whatever the fate of Thursday’s lawsuit, it has already served one purpose: It has helped to clarify the magnitude of the damage that can be inflicted by bull-headed activists who believe they are smart enough to micromanage every aspect of the public’s political life.

Yikes! “Bull-headed activists?” As Yoda would say, subtle that dig was not.


The Colorado Democratic Party announced yesterday that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi will be the keynote speaker for the 74th Annual Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner on March 3, 2007. According to the press release:

“We are pleased to host Speaker Pelosi,” said Colorado Democratic Chair Pat Waak. “Her extraordinary leadership is evident in the passage of major legislation during the first 100 hours of the Congress to restore honesty and openness in government, re-establish fiscal responsibility, strengthen our national security, and give more Americans a realistic shot at the American Dream.”

The Colorado Democratic Party will also be honoring Colorado’s House Majority Leader, Rep. Alice Madden as the Democrat of the Year and former State Senator Peggy Reeves for the Lifetime Achievement award. Rising Star awards will be presented to Colorado Representative Dan Gibbs and La Plata County Commissioner Joelle Riddle. Donna Young and Roger Ratcliff will receive the Volunteer of the Year award. A special Chair’s Award will go to Pat Stryker and Tim Gill.

For more information about tickets, visit http://www.coloradodems.org.


Speaking of Pelosi, the New York Times reports that she “Backs Restrictions on Heat-Trapping Gases.” Talk about your first-amendment violations