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Prepaid ‘cash cards’ a pricey way to swipe

Americans are more conscious of debt than ever. Feeling burned by bank overdraft fees of $30 or more, or by credit-card interest rates that can top 25 percent, a growing number of consumers are turning to prepaid, reloadable “cash cards.” For a large segment of users, primarily low- and moderate-income consumers, these cards function as ersatz bank accounts. These consumers are referred to as the “unbanked” in card-industry parlance. With a cash card, those with poor credit or too little money to meet banks’ minimum account balance requirements can participate in the retail transactions most people take for granted: ordering goods online, paying for items with a quick swipe, getting cash on demand from ATMs.

Preventive reproductive health care pays off

This year is the 55th birthday of the birth control pill. It is also 44 years since the U.S. Supreme Court decriminalized birth control in Griswold v. Connecticut. Yet, debates over family planning and contraception are alive and widespread. Coloradans witnessed this first hand last fall when the "personhood" amendment that could have re-criminalized birth control in the state was defeated. Similar measures have already been introduced in seven other states so far this year.

Mike Rosen argues for ‘royal privilege’ over Electoral College reform

As someone who was fortunate to twice win Electoral College elections, I took great interest in Denver Talk Radio host Mike Rosen’s recent defense of the current system. His attack on the principle of “One Person, One Vote“ embodied in Democrats’ attempts to secure a majority of Electoral College votes for whomever wins the national popular vote borders on bizarre as he attempts to defend a system based, in part, on concepts of the privilege of royalty (e.g., the U.S. Senate paralleling the English House of Lords).

It’s time to respect the living as we do the war...

In this bicentennial year of Abraham Lincoln's birth, I recently was re-reading part of Doris Kearns Goodwin's epic history, "Team of Rivals." Once again it was stunning to see the number of casualties during the Civil War, the dead and wounded in four years of fighting exponentially outnumbering the American men and women killed and wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan over six and a half years of combat.

Restoring stem cell research – now and beyond

President Barack Obama has certainly had his plate full since he took office — the economy, children’s health and the housing crisis, all have piled up at once. He continues to take bold action that will ensure the long-term stability of our economy. And I am proud that he has acted on expanding embryonic stem cell research.

Time to modernize Colorado’s fiscal landscape

Colorado has one of the most complex fiscal systems in the entire country. We are not, in our current form, adequately suited to deal with ever-changing economic realities. The Colorado General Assembly is currently debating a bill, Senate Bill 228, that would repeal an outdated budget formula and untie the state’s hands to get us out of the recession more quickly.

A gag-rule chronicle or notes from the Senate-floor filibuster

At roughly 10:30 p.m., in the waning minutes of the all-day Republican filibuster against Colorado budget reform bill SB 228, Minority Leader Josh Penry, R-Grand Junction, threw an elbow. The Democratic majority wouldn't budge or break. After 10 hours, partisans on either side of the floor had clearly read into the record all the campaign trail fodder that could be transcribed. They were tired and getting sloppy.

Seeds of Rocky’s demise planted 20 years ago … electronically

My first paid byline was in the Rocky Mountain News in 1988 – a college football story that was a minor scoop on the Denver Post.

Mortgage rescue plan? Let ’em fail

Still not convinced of the need for a mortgage rescue plan? Read more about foreclosure issues in Colorado.

Park Service retirees: Repeal Bush-era concealed weapons rule change

Late in 2008, the Bush Administration rushed through a regulatory change that would allow concealed-carry firearms to be possessed in national parks and national wildlife refuges in accordance with state permit requirements. The rule went into effect on Jan. 9. The previous common-sense rule had been in effect for national parks since the early 1900s, in one form or another. The rule did not prohibit guns, but simply required them to be unloaded, cased and not immediately accessible.