Latest US and World News - Capture Club
kmcowan 19 May, 2018 0

Latest US and World News

Latest News from the US and around the world.

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The Atlantic
  • Letter: Gary Hart Was Not Set Up
    Was Gary Hart Set Up?What are we to make of the deathbed confession of the political operative Lee Atwater, newly revealed, that he staged the events that brought down the Democratic candidate in 1987? In The Atlantic’s November issue, James Fallows asked what alternate courses history might have taken.My name is James Savage and I was the Miami Herald’s investigations editor who helped report and edit the 1987 stories that uncovered Gary Hart’s relationship with Donna Rice and prompted him to quit his presidential campaign.I believe from my personal knowledge of the facts that The Atlantic’s article contains serious factual errors.The article’s conspiracy theory suggests that William Broadhurst deliberately maneuvered Hart into potentially damaging press exposure by arranging for him to spend time on the yacht Monkey Business and have his picture taken with Donna Rice sitting on his lap.The truth is the late Mr. Broadhurst did everything short of violence trying to prevent the Herald’s investigations team from publishing the first story about the scandal.Reporters Tom Fiedler, Jim McGee, and I were preparing that story on deadline after interviewing Hart about his relationship with the young woman from Miami when Broadhurst phoned our hotel room in Washington.Broadhurst insisted that he had invited the Miami woman and a friend to Washington and any story we wrote would unfairly portray Hart’s relationship. He refused to name the woman who was later identified as Donna Rice.We included Broadhurst’s defense of Hart in that first story. After filing our story, at Broadhurst’s suggestion, we met with him at an all-night restaurant where he continued to argue on Hart’s behalf.Broadhurst died recently and can’t defend himself.  I believe the Atlantic story also implies that Donna Rice was somehow involved in a conspiracy to embarrass Hart. I am convinced from my firsthand knowledge of how the Herald learned about Hart’s plan to meet with Ms. Rice that she did not have any involvement in any plan to embarrass Hart.I believe The Atlantic should publish a correction and an apology to Ms. Rice. I would be happy to discuss further details.James SavageFort Lauderdale, Fla.James Fallows replies:The details of the Miami Herald’s handling of the Gary Hart-Donna Rice case were explicitly not the topic of my article. The literature on the topic is too vast and contradictory to set out, even in a magazine article many times longer than the one I wrote.In brief (as I said in giving a summary of the crucial episodes in my article): Over the decades, many of those involved in the Herald’s decision to send reporters for a stakeout of Gary Hart’s house in Washington have stoutly defended the public and journalistic interests they believed they served in doing so, and the care they took in choosing this course. Mr. Savage, who was involved in those decisions, defends them in his note. A fuller account of the Herald’s decisions, by James Savage and his Herald colleagues Jim McGee and Tom Fielder, appeared in that paper just a week after the stakeout. You can read it here.Over the decades, many people not involved in the choices have debated these same aspects: whether the Herald exercised sufficient care in pursuing the tip it received and what the consequences were of the way it (and, separately, the Washington Post) then handled the “scandal” of Hart’s possible affairs. Back in 1987, the journalist John Judis offered a skeptical and negative assessment of the Herald’s and Post’s approaches in the Columbia Journalism Review. Matt Bai’s 2014 book about the episode, All the Truth is Out, is about the way that coverage of Hart became the moment when “politics went tabloid” and changed both politics and journalism for the worse.Read them all. See the forthcoming movie based on Bai’s book, The Front Runner. Judge for yourself.But wherever you come out, what the Herald did was not the topic I was discussing. The news my article conveyed is what might have happened before anyone at any newspaper got involved.It was about the circumstances in which Hart, Donna Rice, another woman named Lynn Armandt, and a lobbyist named Billy Broadhurst got together on a boat in the first place, which led to the tip the Herald later received. Broadhurst, a lobbyist and fixer, was by all accounts a man of many faces. I have no reason to doubt Mr. Savage’s report of the Herald’s dealings with him. Other people who dealt with him firsthand, and have spoken with me about him, have offered much less positive perspectives.As most readers noted from my story, and as Mr. Savage might see if he looks at it again, the story was careful to present new information as a possibility—as another way of thinking about a consequential moment in modern political history. The headline of the story was not “Gary Hart Was Set Up.” Instead it asked, “Was Gary Hart Set Up?” There is a proper journalistic bias against using questions in headlines. But doing so was appropriate in this case, for an article whose point was in fact a question: What if Lee Atwater’s deathbed admission to his colleague and competitor, Raymond Strother, was actually true? What if the Monkey Business disaster were not just a catastrophic error by Hart but a set-up plan?As the article points out, Strother himself realized that this claim would forever be unprovable, since Lee Atwater died soon after he revealed this information over the phone (according to Strother) back in 1991. Strother told me that this very unprovability was part of the reason he kept the information to himself for so many years—doing so, in fact, until he spoke with Hart early this year, in what he thought might be one of their final meetings.  Can I prove that Lee Atwater actually made this confession to Raymond Strother 27 years ago, as Strother said to me in several conversations this year? Of course not. But Strother has a long record as a campaign strategist and press spokesman, which to the best of my knowledge offers no grounds to be skeptical of his honesty—especially on this topic, and at this stage of his life. Could Strother himself, back at the time, prove that Atwater was telling him the truth? Also, of course not. And Atwater’s short record in public life contained ample grounds for doubts about his honesty. But in his final weeks, Atwater was offering a lot of public apologies for other campaign dirty tricks, which are known to have occurred. Would he have simply invented this additional trick (without actually having been responsible for it) so that he could privately apologize to his former rival Raymond Strother? Anything’s possible, but that seems far-fetched.No one can know whether Gary Hart would have gone on to the nomination or the presidency if this scandal hadn’t erupted when it did; or whether some other scandal might have ensued if this one hadn’t; or whether Hart, like Bill Clinton after him, to say nothing of Donald Trump, might have ridden out the scandal coverage if he’d decided just to brazen his way through; or whether Michael Dukakis might have risen to the nomination even if Hart stayed in the race; or whether George H.W. Bush was destined for election anyway; or a thousand other imponderables. The point of the story was: History is full of counterfactual what ifs, which by definition are unknowable, and the Atwater-Strother-Hart series of conversations adds another unknowable but provocative what if to the list.Mr. Savage concludes by saying that I that owe Donna Rice Hughes an apology. I disagree. First, the article does not say what Mr. Savage thinks it does. Lee Atwater told Raymond Strother (according to Strother) that he, Atwater, was behind the whole episode. Necessarily Billy Broadhurst would have to have been involved as well. Who else might have been, and what witting or unwitting roles the other main figures (including Donna Rice) might have played, Atwater did not tell Strother, and Strother did not claim to me.Donna Rice Hughes presumably knows more than other still-living figures about this incident. I sent her many messages asking for a chance to talk, and explaining what I wanted to ask. I know that she received at least some of them. She chose not to reply to repeated requests, which is her right and is entirely understandable. But it is not the occasion for an apology on my side.
  • What’s Missing From the Saudis’ Khashoggi Story
    Seventeen days after the disappearance of U.S.-based Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, authorities in Riyadh finally confirmed his death. According to the Saudi version of what happened, Khashoggi died after a fist fight between him and several men at the consulate in Istanbul. Authorities announced the arrest of 18 Saudi nationals, as well as the dismissal of top officials, including an adviser to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.The gaps in this story are as significant as the announcement itself.Saudi authorities did not reveal the location of  Khashoggi’s body, which lends credence to the narrative attributed to Turkish officials over the past two weeks. Even before Turkish authorities were allowed to search the consulate and the residence of the consul general, they suggested that Khashoggi was killed and dismembered inside the consulate. They reached this conclusion based on video footage that showed Khashoggi entered the building but never came out. In an interview with Bloomberg, the crown prince, widely known as MbS, insisted that Khashoggi left the consulate—but if that were true the Saudis could have produced a body.The spontaneous scuffle theory also does not explain the dismissal of the adviser, Saud al-Qahtani, who was perceived as MbS’s right-hand man and thought by some to encourage his worst instincts. Dubbed “the father of electronic flies” by his critics, he’s been accused of using social media bots and trolls to lead smear campaigns against government opponents, especially in the wake of the Qatar crisis. Al-Qahtani oversaw public relations efforts abroad, and was known for combative language online. At the time of this writing, his pinned tweet read: “Some brothers blame me for what they view as harshness. But everything has its time, and talk these days requires such language.”It’s difficult to understand al-Qahtani’s removal as anything other than a soft rebuke to MbS and his heavy-handedness by King Salman, who stepped in some days ago to manage the fallout from Khashoggi’s murder. A Saudi official told me that the king’s orders could perhaps alter the aggressive way that authorities deal with dissidents.Some will no doubt speculate that the king now plans to introduce radical changes, including to the line of succession. But that extreme scenario is unlikely. MbS will most probably weather the storm, and will remain the kingdom’s de facto head of state—why else would the king have put MbS in charge of a ministerial committee to restructure the top command of the country’s intelligence services?To deflect blame away from MbS, Saudi officials point out that there is a standing general order that requires authorities to “bring back” Saudi opponents in exile, and argue that the 18 individuals botched it. MbS, according to an official quoted by Reuters, was aware of the standing order but not of the operation.The king’s visibility over the past week speaks to his value, even his indispensability as an elder statesman, and should quash the rumors that he has plans to abdicate. That was never seriously on the table.Although the official Saudi story is incomplete, it will likely resonate with many inside of the kingdom. The king has put an end to attempts to deny Khashoggi’s murder or to deflect blame on Turkey and Qatar. On social media, Saudis celebrated the announcement as a responsible move, and offered condolences to Khashoggi’s family.Outside of the kingdom, the damage from this episode may last longer. Many are convinced that MbS ordered Khashoggi’s murder, or at the very least knew it was to take place. The barbarity of the crime has already hurt MbS’s reputation abroad, probably beyond repair, turning former allies of the crown prince into stern critics of his policies. Millions of dollars’ worth of PR efforts to promote the crown prince as a reformer appear to have gone to waste.That doesn’t mean anything of substance will change. Ultimately, it’s highly unlikely that Khashoggi’s death will radically alter the kingdom’s foreign relations and regional role. Washington won’t reorganize its alliances in the Middle East just because it’s lost a fig leaf.
  • The Family Weekly: ‘Uber for Kids’ and the Future of How Children Get Around
    This Week in FamilyFor parents who are too busy to drive their kids to school or soccer practice, popular ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft aren’t an option—minors can’t ride without an accompanying adult. A new spate of kid-focused start-ups are trying to fill in the gap, writes the Atlantic staff writer Joe Pinsker. These apps have the potential to make some parents’ lives easier, but they raise questions of who, precisely, they benefit.  In school, young people are taught all sorts of nonacademic topics—nutrition, sex ed, fitness, the dangers of drugs. The Atlantic staff writer Ashley Fetters explored the possibility of introducing a new one: loneliness prevention. As the U.K. rolls out a loneliness-prevention program starting in primary school, Fetters wonders whether a similar curriculum would work in the United States, and how it might help students deal with feelings of isolation.HighlightsIn the latest installment of “Home School,” The Atlantic’s video series about parenting, the author Jemar Tisby talks about the importance of talking to children about race, and the necessity of it happening “early, often, and honestly.” As he says, “the worst conversation adults can have with kids about race is no conversation at all.”Talking about salaries is notoriously tough, writes Joe Pinsker, and two economists have tried to quantify just how uncomfortable it is. They found that people who make the most money are often the most reluctant to talk about it.Dear TherapistEvery Monday, the psychotherapist Lori Gottlieb answers readers’ questions about life’s trials and tribulations, big or small, in The Atlantic’s “Dear Therapist” column.This week, Lori advises a woman whose relationship started as an affair and who is worried that since her boyfriend cheated on his ex, he’ll cheat on her, too. She loves him and they’ve been dating exclusively for eight months, but she isn’t sure how to fully trust him moving forward.Lori’s advice: Start talking about your relationship on a deeper level, and purposefully bring up the hard issues. Once you two start talking about yourselves and your relationship on this deeper level, it will make it easier to move past the affair and bring up the kinds of things couples who are seriously dating should talk about. In your case, that might be your age difference and what you’re both wanting at this point in your lives—are you ready to get married in the near future if you two are indeed a match? Is he? Are you both interested in that? How does each of you feel about kids and finances and your careers and the division of labor in your household if you end up together for the long haul? Send Lori your questions at
  • How Kelly Rowland Fell in Love With Color
    Kelly Rowland makes jewel tones shine. In reds, oranges, and emeralds, she is resplendent. The singer, who has been a dynamic entertainment mainstay for more than two decades, has of late carved out a bold space for herself as a style icon. Embracing a bevy of rich hues, Rowland radiates a striking confidence.For Rowland, an aesthetic defined by bright, color-blocked tones is an intentional stylistic choice. It’s also one that defies entrenched ideas about what kinds of sartorial risks ought to be reserved for women of lighter skin tones, and what dark-skinned women allegedly can’t pull off. The fashion industry and other sordid machinations of celebrity have tended to dismiss dark-skinned women, relegate them to the shadows, or outfit a handful of token representatives with shoddy resources only to later blame them for being unfit.Rowland’s recent attention to fashion—and specifically vivid, color-oriented looks—is not wholly separate from the symbolic role she’s occupied in her career as a musician. For musicians, especially women in pop or R&B, it’s nearly impossible to disentangle their artistry from their public image. When the industry’s range of acceptable or sought-after images is so narrow, dark-skinned women like Rowland stand out by default. Even in the streaming era, Rowland’s voice is not disembodied. To listen to her music, fans must first see her face.But the star, née Kelendria Trene Rowland, wasn’t always as comfortable in the spotlight. For a young Kelendria, the 1980s were formative years largely because the era introduced the singer to Janet Jackson and Whitney Houston at a time when she needed to see reflections of herself. The two were more than just musical icons to the future Destiny’s Child member. They were visions of possibility that Rowland didn’t yet realize she needed to see. They were paragons of beauty, reflections of both musical talent and visual assurance.“When I was a kid, it was a little tough because I went to pretty much an all-white school, so I just saw nothing but white faces around me,” the 37-year-old singer said when we spoke over the phone recently. “I remember the first time I saw Janet Jackson. I believe it was ‘[The] Pleasure Principle,’ and I saw Whitney Houston before I saw Janet, and she was brown. And it just all started to add up in my head, like, Oh, this is possible, huh? Yeah, I’m going to sing.” Rowland has been a musical legend in her own right since her teen years. As a member of Destiny’s Child, a solo artist, a songwriter, an actress, and a television personality, she’s built a career that broadens the scope of what black women can envision for themselves in entertainment. She has released eight studio albums, graced a slew of magazine covers, and illuminated numerous red carpets. She’s served as a judge on The Voice Australia, written a book for new moms, and offered musical and PR guidance to younger artists, like the girl group Fifth Harmony (especially the 22-year-old Normani Kordei, one of only a few dark-skinned female artists in pop, who has loved Rowland for years). In doing so, Rowland has become for many young black women what Jackson and Houston were to her.Gary Gershoff/ Lilly Lawrence / Brian Ach / Getty“It makes me really proud,” Rowland said of the influence she’s had on young women who’ve become more comfortable in their own skin by watching her assemble both albums and looks over the years. But the entertainer is also quick to note that her journey to self-possession (and into the style spotlight) got a push from someone close to home: the person who designed Destiny’s Child’s early costuming, and who considers Rowland a third daughter. Ms. Tina Knowles-Lawson, the mother of Beyoncé and Solange, helped a young Rowland embrace her heritage, countering the messages Rowland had grown up internalizing.“I remember there was one day I didn’t want to sit out in the sun,” Rowland said. “Tina said, ‘Baby, why don’t you want to sit out in the sun?’ and I said, ‘Because I don’t want to be any darker.’ She said, ‘What? Are you kidding me? It’s amazing to be black, it’s amazing to be chocolate.’”“It’s like she got me in the mirror and really wanted me to understand what beauty I brought to the world,” Rowland continued. “At that time, I was still just uncertain of it because it did seem like at that time [if you had] fairer skin or if you were white, that you got a little bit more play.”Of course, such eye-opening moments don’t exist in a vacuum. Colorism extends far beyond the domain of interpersonal interactions. Dark-skinned people—especially women—face systemic barriers in multiple realms. From magazine covers to music-industry boardrooms, lighter-skinned women of all races have long been given preferential treatment over their darker-skinned counterparts.In the context of entertainment, that’s meant that women who look like Knowles-Lawson’s daughters are far more likely to be offered record deals, acting roles, and other opportunities than women who share Rowland’s skin tone. In fashion, widely enforced colorist dogma keeps dark-skinned women largely excluded from runways and catalogs alike. Changes to this pattern within the fashion and entertainment industries have been incremental, and often painfully slow.Mario Anzuoni  / ReutersOne recent Instagram post stood out to Rowland as an example of how far the entertainment industry has come in recognizing black women’s talents. In August, the basketball player LeBron James took a moment to celebrate a slew of magazine spreads featuring black women—among them Beyoncé, Lupita Nyong’o, Zendaya, Tracee Ellis Ross, Rihanna, Tiffany Haddish, Yara Shahidi, Issa Rae, and Aja Naomi King, as well as Mj Rodriguez, Dominique Jackson, and Indya Moore, the stars of FX’s landmark series about queer and trans performers, Pose.James’s post thanked the women “for continuing to not settle and setting great examples in life for so many looking up to you for inspiration/guidance and love!!” Earnest and adulatory, he added, “My daughter is watching! #WomenPower💪🏾❤️👑.” But Rowland noticed that the post drew ire from people who did not understand how damaging it’s been to young people of color to not see images of beauty that reflect them—or the extent to which fashion and entertainment have failed them systemically: I think he started to get some of these comments like, Other races are beautiful, too. And I was like, Let’s just put a pause on everything right now because I remember the moment that I picked up a Vogue magazine and it was three blonde women on there and it said, ‘This is what beauty looks like.’ Now, as a kid or even if you’re in your teens, even if you’re in your early 20s, your late 20s, you’re still navigating your way through what your beauty is, and if the world is telling you that beauty looks like this and you don’t look like that, what are you going to think? But now, Rowland’s face has been emblazoned across some of the same magazines that once left her dispirited. To this day, along with the all-black outfit she rocked at the 2013 Super Bowl alongside her Destiny’s Child sisters Beyoncé and Michelle Williams, one of Rowland’s most memorable personal-style moments—“my favorite of my whole career of looks,” she told me—is one that was orchestrated for the Australian edition of Vogue. Rowland is notably dressed down in many of the photos from the shoot, pairing sneakers with slacks and a sculptural plume of kinky hair.Though many of the star’s most iconic recent looks have skewed hyperfeminine—long, flowing dresses paired with heels or tightly tailored jumpsuits with delicate makeup—the Vogue Australia aesthetic pulls from a different set of influences. When we spoke, Rowland noted that she’s excited to see a resurgence of fashion that mirrors some of what she saw growing up. It’s hard not to see the visual linkages. “I love androgyny in looks right now … I feel like it’s really cool to have a really dope pair of slacks on with a fly-ass shirt and your cool tennis shoes. I just love the fact that it’s back to the ’90s,” she said. “Because I used to love watching Linda Evangelista and Naomi Campbell, Christy Turlington, like, all of them. I would watch their off-the-runway fashion, and it was so cool to me.”The accompanying July interview addressed Rowland’s stint down under, her tenure on The Voice Australia, and the time she’s taken to work on her forthcoming album. Speaking about the record in September, the singer was audibly excited. Her voice goes up an octave when she talks about upcoming projects, including a movie, which she can’t share much else about. “One of the things that I’ve learned is, my instincts are so spot on,” she said. “It’s a really, really special place that I’m in, and I think I’m really enjoying it so much that I have to focus on the end.” Rowland hasn’t put out new solo music in five years, a fact that once gave her tremendous anxiety. “For the first two years [after giving birth to her son, Titan, in 2014], I was really just trying to figure out my way as a mom,” she said. “I was nervous about releasing music because I felt like I lost the mojo, and now I feel like that mojo is like, Hey, babe. We back.”In her time away from releasing music, Rowland has also focused on passing lessons about self-acceptance on to her son. Instilling confidence in him as a young black boy is a task she takes very seriously. Rowland and her husband, Tim Witherspoon, call Titan “handsome all the time,” she said.“We did this thing recently when we were brushing our teeth and I said, ‘Look at my handsome baby boy,’ and he was like, ‘I’m not a baby, Mom. I’m a big boy now,’” Rowland said. “And so I was like, ‘Okay, well what about handsome? Don’t you think you’re handsome?’ And he just kind of turned away from the mirror.” “And I said, ‘Oh no, no, no. Not my boy. Not my cute boy,’” she continued, noting that often parents “don’t realize we have to really sow into our children ... just as much as we love them and show them affection, we are the first idea of what they start understanding of themselves.”Walik Goshorn / MediaPunch / IPXBut Titan also changed Rowland’s understanding of herself—and her beauty. Hormonal changes Rowland underwent during her pregnancy and after childbirth shifted her approach to skin care. Visits to the facialist Shani Darden, for instance, helped the singer return to her roots and care for her “natural canvas.”Once again, though, it’s advice from Ms. Tina that has stuck with her. “I do not go to bed with makeup on. I swear by it,” Rowland said. “Tina told me, she’s like, ‘If you sleep with your makeup, you age yourself 10 years.’ I was like, ‘That will never happen to me.’” If Ms. Tina’s guidance has played a tremendous role in shaping Rowland’s sense of style and self, the singer is, in turn, now encouraging Titan to love the skin he’s in; via the aesthetic she embraces, she is also paying her gratitude—to Ms. Tina, to Janet Jackson, to Whitney Houston—forward. Even now, there are few dark-skinned women with platforms as large as Rowland’s. Photos of celebrities gracing red carpets or magazine covers with dramatically polychromatic outfits against glimmering brown skin make for exciting viral moments—but all too often, they’re drawn from the same small pool. A handful of black celebrities are still fighting for the space to shift the same industries that have shortchanged them. In a truly democratized entertainment landscape, Rowland wouldn’t be an anomaly. Or, as the singer said of recent symbolic changes in fashion, “I don’t want this, what’s happening now, to be a trend.”
  • These Two Could Soon Be the First Muslim Women to Serve in Congress
    Rashida Tlaib will become the first Muslim American and Palestinian woman elected to the House of Representatives in November—but she’d rather talk about the heavy-duty trucks that roll through her neighborhood in Detroit. Industrial pollution permeates the air and poses serious health risks to her constituents.“My activism was birthed in many ways because of my Palestinian heritage,” says Tlaib, 42, a Michigan state representative. “But air quality and environmental justice—that’s something I’m so passionate about. Growing up in that neighborhood, I thought smelling like rotten eggs was normal.”Tlaib, who won her Democratic primary by exactly one percentage point, won’t face a challenger in the general election. She will most likely share the distinction of being the first Muslim woman in Congress with Ilhan Omar, a Minnesota Democrat who ran for a seat vacated by Keith Ellison—the first Muslim man elected to Congress in 2006. Omar faces a Republican in the November election, but the district has gone blue since the 1960s, making her the clear favorite.Omar, 36, made headlines in 2016 as the first Somali-American elected to a state legislature. While her campaign this year for Congress didn’t shy away from her identity, it was grounded in a platform of progressive policies and her resume of civic engagement and political involvement at the local and state levels.“We were both very much rooted in our neighborhoods,” Tlaib says of herself and Omar. “We didn’t come from thin air. We’re centered and focused on a number of issues that we’ve been working on as moms, as women of color—and some that are related to being Muslim in America.”Neither candidate ran in a district that has a sizeable Muslim voting bloc—Omar’s district is primarily white, while Tlaib’s is predominantly African American—though that’s an assumption both have encountered. (Dearborn, a heavily Arab suburb, is just outside Tlaib’s district, as are many of the Somali communities near Omar’s.)“Political pundits would like to have a conversation about how people like me are elected by people who look like me,” Omar says. “But the reality is that we were elected because we were the best candidate in that race. We are proud of our identities—and we are proud of the fact that we are issue-oriented, and we care about making positive changes and pushing aggressively for progressive agendas that lead to prosperity for all of us.”Tlaib and Omar were among other Muslim women who ran for Congress this year in an election which has already broken national records for the number of female candidates filing.Coming from different ethnic, racial and socio-economic backgrounds, the candidates defied the stereotypes of a monolithic Muslim American community that often prevail in media narratives. “It’s such a great reflection of reality,” Dalia Mogahed, the executive director of the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding, said of the diversity among them.According to a survey taken by the organization, more than two-thirds of the Muslim American community is dissatisfied with the direction of the country’s politics. For Muslim women and Black Muslims, numbers were even higher. “It’s really inspiring to see how that energy has been channeled into greater civic engagement,” she says.The fact that many of the Muslim women who ran in the midterm primaries leaned further left than their challengers might also reflect the fact that the Muslim community leans Democratic to begin with, Mogahed says. The community also skews younger and is predominantly comprised of people of color. “The idea of social justice is deeply ingrained in how many Muslims interpret their faith, and these candidates amplify that value in so many ways,” she says.While the Trump administration's politics led some of the candidates to run for office, they are also tired of Democratic leadership that took Muslim voters for granted. That’s one of the reasons that Tahirah Amatul-Wadud, a family law attorney from Massachusetts, decided to challenge the 15-term Democratic incumbent Richard Neal, a ranking member of the House Ways and Means Committee.“Our district has the second highest rate of poverty out of all nine in Massachusetts, and ours is last in median income,” Amatul-Wadud says. “So I was thinking, ‘We’ve had this gentleman in Ways and Means, for so many years—how is our district failing?” Her platform included support for Medicare for All, as well as advocating for high-speed internet access across the rural district, where thousands of constituents don’t have access to the same quality of service that city-dwellers do.In the final weeks of Amatul-Wadud’s campaign, which was fairly late in the primary cycle, her campaign started to draw comparisons to that of Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, who defeated one of the most powerful Democrats in Congress, Joe Crowley, in a New York primary. While Ocasio Cortez’ momentum helped Amatul-Wadud attract donors during the last stretch of her own primary, it wasn’t enough to propel her to victory.In her loss, she still sees a win in the energy she was able to tap into in communities that previously felt their voices weren’t being heard. She points out that she raised about three percent of Crowley’s $2.4 million campaign budget, yet walked away with nearly a third of the vote in the primary.“I was running for a seat in a majority white district, and I am African American and visibly Muslim—and I’m a woman,” she says. “I’m 44, but I remember being a little girl and having a hard time finding a black Barbie doll. When you think of how representation matters—I think of loving Barbies but not finding one like me. I hope that my visibility across the nation can be that for a little girl who’s not looking for a Barbie doll, but a role model.”For Sameena Mustafa, a South-Asian American Muslim who challenged incumbent Democrat Mike Quigley for the House in Illinois in a March primary, it was hard to rally around the cry of “replacing bad Democrats” so early in the election cycle, she says. “No one would really cover why I was challenging Mike Quigley,” she says. “This is a guy that doesn’t support Medicare for all, in a district that Bernie Sanders won.”Those details weren’t highlighted the same way that her identity was, she realized. “It was much easier for reporters to say, she’s a Muslim running or a woman running.” White men running for office are never asked about the relevance of their identities in representing diverse districts, she points out. Yet it’s an issue that women of color across the nation have faced, and that Tlaib and Omar might continue to face once they’re sworn into Congress.During her time in the Michigan House of Representatives, Tlaib was part of a local movement to rid the city of Detroit of petcoke, a harmful particulate byproduct of petroleum refining that was dumped unceremoniously in the city. Her involvement built her reputation with constituents as an ally and advocate, which helped her connect with voters as she campaigned in the district.Months before taking office, she’s already thinking about how to get better water filters to schools in her area, and ending predatory and unaffordable car insurance rates that impact low-income residents in Detroit. “My parents didn’t have college degrees, they didn’t come from wealthy backgrounds,” she tells me as she weaves through traffic, cars honking behind her. “We struggled as much as anybody else—the majority of American families are struggling every day.” Her father worked at the nearby Ford manufacturing plant, supporting Tlaib and her 13 siblings. When she started school, she didn’t speak English—but she made her way through the public school system and college, and later worked full-time while attending law school. Tlaib decided against joining the corporate world after law school, instead joining a community nonprofit that assists Arab immigrants in the Detroit area. The connections she made there helped launch her into politics, where she worked on expanding social services and serving constituents.As Tlaib weaves through traffic one day, cars honking at her from a street corner in Detroit, she tells me about her plans to introduce the Justice for All Civil Rights Act as her first legislative act, bringing her trademark energy and enthusiasm on the issues to Washington.“This came out of door-to-doors and community conversations,” she says. The legislation, she says, re-introduces the spirit and letter of 60s’ era civil rights laws, which focused on the impacts of discriminatory laws as opposed to the intentionality of them. The proposal ranges from criminal justice to health care to education and utilities regulations. “When you push back on a community and bully them,” she says, “silence is not an option for this generation.”Minnesota state Representative Ilhan Omar takes the oath of office as the 2017 Legislature convened in St. Paul, the nation's first Somali-American elected to a state legislature.For Omar, campaigning on a platform that included opposing the Trump administration’s travel ban, which targeted predominantly Muslim countries, was as personal as it was political. If Omar were to seek refugee status in the U.S. today, she wouldn’t have been able to: Somalia is one of the countries that face immigration and asylum restrictions. Even her policy platform of abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement was informed by her past experiences, coming to the United States at the age of 12 from a country in the midst of a civil war. “I was the only person who could really make the connection to what it means to cross a border far away from the US,” she tells me.Although it’s now a rallying cry for many progressive candidates who see the agency as unreformable and dangerous in light of the family separation crisis it created at the U.S.-Mexico border, she personally experienced the reality of immigrating to the U.S. through various national security agencies. It’s a process which can take years, often delayed by redundant security checks despite the immediate dangers that most refugees face in their home countries.“When I was out talking to people about abolishing ICE, we’ve seen how brutal that institution has been, and how it’s impacted us,” she says. “My immigrant identity, my refugee identity, my Muslim identity, my black identity are directly related to the conversations we’re having about what’s at stake for all of us.”Quiet and soft spoken, Omar has had a knack for making her constituents feel heard, even as she was promoting her policies on the campaign trail. Her speeches embrace the same hope and optimism that her voters—and other citizens across the country—projected onto her candidacy. On the night of her victory, she gave a gleeful interview to a Somalian-American YouTube channel in her native tongue. (Among all her firsts, she will also be the first U.S. Congress member born on the African continent.) “We believe that together, we can organize around the politics of hope and make sure that not only do we have the America we believed in, but the America we deserve,” she told the exuberant crowd that night. “This victory isn’t just mine, it belongs to all of you.”In the ascendance of Tlaib and Omar to the national political stage, Mogahed sees a lesson. “One thing that bigotry really aims to do is to distract you, to do nothing but defend yourself, and prove your humanity,” she says, paraphrasing Toni Morrison. “The second thing bigotry tries to do is make you feel outnumbered and isolated. And now we’ve seen clearly that this is not the case.”
  • The Bizarre Beat of Yoko Ono’s Drum
    “People of America, please listen to your soul!” That’s Yoko Ono, telling us what to do on her new album Warzone. And what if our soul—collectively, Joseph Campbell-esquely—sounded like Yoko Ono? Which is to say: wizened, innocent, fearlessly strange, offensively artless, and rather peremptory. Warzone finds Ono revisiting and refashioning 13 of her own songs/pieces, from 1970’s “Why” to 2009’s “I’m Alive,” here stripping them down to wiry substructures of piano or guitar, there adding discreet layers of dialed-down freakout courtesy of a crack band of art-rock gnomes. (The presence of the guitar-sizzler Marc Ribot is particularly welcome.) Some of it is beautiful; some of it is bizarre. All of it has an unexpected claim on our attention.The miracle—and it really is a bit of a miracle—is that 85-year-old Yoko Ono, super-rich and a household name for most of her life, can sound so authentically dispossessed, so uninsulated, so much like a person with a little keyboard haranguing you on the subway. After all these years, hers is still the voice of the outsider, with an outsider’s warrant for prophecy and an outsider’s talent for menacing you in your aesthetics. As in: Is this crap? Is this great? How can I possibly tell?Take the aforementioned “Why.” The original Plastic Ono Band version was a gibbering, snarling swathe of experimental rock, wild but recognizable, in the vein of German pioneers like Can or Faust; now it’s pure Yoko, no band, no tune, working her totally un-rock variations on the single word why. She chirrups, she moans. Her small-aged child voice descends abruptly, as through a trapdoor, into chambers of ululation, or climbs to an uncanny scream. Why? WHY? Whyyyyyyyyy. Animals (parrots, monkeys?) hoot encouragingly in the background. Why what? Why everything.[Read: The never-ending weirdness of Yoko Ono ]She reinterprets and retackles “Imagine” (for which she finally received a co-writing credit alongside Lennon last year), and it’s still terrible, one of the least imaginative songs ever: droopy lyrics like “Nothing to kill or die for,” amnesiac theta-state chords. On the other hand, the not dissimilar “I Love You Earth,” which she last attempted with the singer Antony (now Anohni) in 2015, is gorgeous: “I love your valleys / I love your mornings / In fact I love you every day.” That’s the thing about Yoko: At her wackiest, she is really very straightforward, with a special freshness and nursery-rhyme simplicity. So she never goes out of style. A 2018 take on “What a Bastard the World Is,” for example, from 1973’s Approximately Infinite Universe, would have been right on the money. This is the song where, after slinging a full ashtray at her errant man (John?), she tells him—with a notable lack of rancor —“You know half the world is occupied with you pigs? / I can always get another pig like you.” Instead, on Warzone, we get a fuzzy refurbishment of “Woman Power,” her old feminist anthem from the same year: “In the coming age of feminine society / We’ll regain our human dignity / We’ll lay some truth and clarity / And bring back nature’s beauty.” Despite some excellent frazzling guitar from Ribot, this doesn’t have the immediacy of “What a Bastard.”Yoko on Warzone is conspicuously addressing herself to the times. To the war zone, actual and spiritual. “Men flashing their guns and balls,” she chants tonelessly on the title track over a baleful trumpeting of elephants and a clatter of machine-gun fire. “Women looking like Barbie dolls.” Those are some ghastly lyrics. Or are they? Maybe they’re radically unadorned and abrasive and punk-rock and to the point. Again, Yoko’s clarity causes confusion. I have no idea who will buy this album, or what noise it will make as it hits the quivering dome of the popular imagination. But there is awkwardness and gentleness and prophetic witness here. Listen, really attend, to this pop-mythological octogenarian telling us that she loves the Earth, that she has learned to love herself, and that we should stop driving our kids insane—right now—and you might just feel an answering tremor or shudder from within, the wet dog shake of your neglected essential being as it rattles itself awake.
  • What I Learned as an EMT at the Border Wall
    The call came in around 10:45 a.m. Over the loudspeaker, the city’s 911 dispatcher instructed Medic 1 and Engine 3 to respond to the area west of the Mariposa port of entry for a 30-year-old female with traumatic injuries from a fall. As an EMT and a paramedic, I had treated many injuries, whether from vehicle rollovers or drive-by shootings, but this was the first patient I saw as a volunteer emergency responder at the U.S.-Mexico border.This article is adapted from Threshold: Emergency Responders on the U.S.-Mexico Border WallLying supine on the strip of concrete that stretches parallel to the rusty metal fence was a young woman, whom I will call Araceli. (I agreed not to use real names as a condition of my research as an anthropologist and my care for patients as an EMT.) She had climbed a ladder on the other side of the steel border wall, but was unable to hold on to the structure and fell down from a height of about 24 feet. We were told that she had been lying there for two hours when a Border Patrol agent found her.“Ay, mis piernas!” she shouted, grimacing from pain in her legs.The rescuers acted quickly. At the direction of JLo, an energetic bilingual paramedic, they removed her sneakers and cut off the bottom part of her jeans to expose her fractured ankles; they cleaned Araceli’s feet with normal saline, and bandaged and splinted them using cardboard and tape. A cervical collar was put around her neck to protect her spine from further injury. Araceli’s injuries qualified her for trauma alert, which meant that she had to be flown directly to the University Medical Center in Tucson, the only Level I trauma facility in the region.“Se trajeron mis zapatos?” she asked in the ambulance, en route to the helipad. Did anyone bring her shoes?She had broken both legs, and months would go by before she was able to walk again. But she was thinking about her shoes—a weapon of the weak, which migrants use to walk under the light of the moon, to run from bandits who want to rob and hurt them, and from the Border Patrol agents who want to capture them and send them back to start all over again. Without her shoes, she doesn’t stand another chance. Before we left the scene, one of the firefighters collected Araceli’s bloodstained shoes and put them in a red biohazard bag.As soon as we arrived at the hospital, the flight crew got inside. JLo informed the flight nurse of the patient’s chief complaint, relayed her signs and symptoms, and described the treatment they had done. Together, they moved the patient to the helicopter, and we watched it take off.Volunteering on both sides of the border, I witnessed how the wall predictably mutilates the bodies of those who try to scale it. The adoption by the Border Patrol of the “prevention through deterrence strategy” in 1994—which involved increasing the length and the height of the border fence in urban areas—significantly expanded the number of wounded migrants. The shifting design of the border fence produces particular forms of injuries: The sharp edges on top of the previous fence, made of corrugated sheet metal left over from the Vietnam War, amputated limbs; the tall, slatted steel wall we have today fractures legs and ankles. In towns along Arizona’s southern fringe, ambulances go to pick up wounded border crossers so frequently that emergency responders refer to the cement ledge abutting the wall as “the ankle alley.” The border wall is a key component of “tactical infrastructure”—a concept that Customs and Border Patrol uses to refer to the assemblage of materials and technologies that regulate movement in the name of national security. It includes gates, roads, bridges, drainage structures and grates, observation zones, boat ramps, and lighting and ancillary-power systems, as well as remote video surveillance, which together “allow CBP to provide persistent impedance, access, and visibility, by making illicit cross-border activities, such as the funneling of illegal immigrants, terrorists, and terrorist weapons into our Nation, more difficult and time-consuming.” Such “tactical infrastructure” simultaneously produces victims and marks them as criminals.To determine the placement of tactical infrastructure, the Department of Homeland Security devised an algorithm called the “border calculus.” It was part of the Secure Border Initiative, a multiyear, multibillion-dollar program inaugurated in 2005 that combined the expansion of tactical infrastructure along more than 600 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border with the creation of a “virtual fence”—a high-tech barrier consisting of surveillance towers that monitor activity and look for incursions using radar, sensors, and high-resolution cameras. Border calculus bolstered the program’s credibility by making security appear like science, emphasizing both the spatial and temporal dimensions of enforcement. In the words of Gregory L. Giddens, who directed the Secure Border Initiative, the chart lays out “a very simple algorithm that our ability to respond to a border incursion needs to be much less than the time it takes an illegal alien to get to a vanishing point.”But smugglers and migrants can breach a barrier by passing under it through a subterranean tunnel or using a ladder to climb over it. Today, agents in Nogales, Arizona, send handheld drones to scout the tunnels extending under the international border. From Fort Huachuca military base, southeast of Tucson, the agency operates unmanned aerial vehicles, including Predator B drones, equipped with radar and sophisticated sensors that can follow movement in real time and distinguish people from animals 25,000 feet below their flight path. Dubbed VADER (Vehicle and Dismount Exploitation Radar), these systems were developed for the U.S. Army to detect enemy combatants planting roadside bombs in Afghanistan, but are now deployed to track men, women, and children who risk their lives for a chance to escape violence, reunite with their families, and join the exploited labor force. Drones work in conjunction with checkpoints. Since 2007, a system of interior roadblocks has proliferated on all northbound roads in southern Arizona, providing visual testament to the extralegal powers that CBP claims within a zone that stretches 100 miles from the boundary of the United States. Checkpoints push unauthorized migrants off the main roads and into the desert, prolonging the “time to vanishing point” not by hours, but by days. “Vanishing” acquires a different meaning here: People disappear in the desert. Aerial surveillance—the eye in the sky—may detect those still moving against the clock on this pale canvas, before the bodily fluids that keep them alive run out. But others are gone without a trace. Vanished before they reach the “vanishing point.” More than 7,000 people have died crossing the militarized region in the past two decades.A few days after Araceli was airlifted from Nogales and flown to Tucson, I drove north in the hope of finding her in recovery at the hospital. Two rescue helicopters stationed closest to the border, LifeLine 3 and LifeNet 6, can deliver a patient to the regional trauma center in about 20 minutes. It takes more than an hour to cover the 70-mile distance by car. All ground transportation halts at a massive Border Patrol checkpoint on I-19 north of Tubac. Since its appearance as a “temporary” roadblock in 2007, undocumented border crossers and long-term residents alike have been avoiding calling 911. Going north to Tucson, where all the major hospitals are located, requires them to pass the cameras, dogs, and agents at the checkpoint. If they seek medical care, they may be detained and deported. Paramedics who live and work in border communities understand this fear. Sometimes they can take undocumented patients to Holy Cross Hospital in Nogales, but it provides only basic services. Other times, no matter what they tell patients about the risk of refusing to go to the hospital—they tell them that they could die—they still won’t risk going through the checkpoint.A doctor named Hann met me in his office at the University of Arizona’s department of surgery, located on the hospital’s fifth floor. The border wall looms large in the emergency room where he works. “Most commonly we see people who are trying to cross the border by trying to climb the wall. In certain areas, the fence is up to 20 to 30 feet high. A fall from that height can be pretty serious. Very frequently we see patients with orthopedic injuries. Ankle fractures are very common, tib-fib—or lower-extremity—fractures, and spinal fractures,” he said, listing the most common injuries caused by the barrier. “When someone falls and lands on their feet, the energy is transferred from the feet all the way to the spine. We’ve had quite a few head injuries as well.”As trauma surgeons who work in a facility less than a hundred miles from Mexico, he and his colleagues get critically injured patients from both sides of the border as well as on both sides of the law. Undocumented border crossers are not the only ones receiving care here. There are Border Patrol agents who wreck their vehicles on the rugged desert terrain. There have been high-profile criminals from Mexico, including a woman who sustained a bad injury when she was shot in the head. Her recovery was difficult, remembers Hann, but despite her family’s protests, she was repatriated to Mexico. Trauma surgeons don’t always know the legal circumstances surrounding their patient’s critical condition. They focus on what needs to be done to save a person’s life: suturing arteries to stop the bleeding, lowering intracranial pressure to prevent brain herniation. “We don’t care where they are from and what their nationality is, how much money they have,” said Hann. “None of us cares about that. We just take care of them.”Under Section 1011 of the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003, the federal government designated funds to compensate ambulance companies and hospitals for emergency care of undocumented migrants, but the reimbursement program ended in 2008. The Border Patrol, however, continues to bring about 50 patients with fall injuries to the University Medical Center every year, and UMC treats anyone who needs care. Most of the costs incurred by undocumented patients are written off because few are able to pay. Financial concerns have pushed the administration to seek ways of sending stabilized patients back to their country of origin—even if doing so might pose a risk. “Where does our care end?” Hann wondered: The ones that go back to Mexico, you really wonder what’s gonna happen to them. For example, patients with spinal fractures who need rehabilitation, they can hardly move … I’m assuming most of these people who were trying to climb walls to get to the States don’t have a lot of financial resources to begin with. Now they go back to Mexico in an even worse physical condition, having suffered pretty significant injury. What’s gonna happen to them in terms of their ability to survive in their environment? What’s their follow-up going to be? If there is a surgical complication, what’s gonna happen to them? I didn’t find Araceli at the hospital. A woman at the information desk referred me to another woman in the administration who kindly agreed to look for her in the admissions log. But she was not there. Patients who arrive at the hospital through the Border Patrol are not registered under their real names. They stay at UMC for a few days, and then they are taken to the Border Patrol station for processing. Some are detained, and others are transferred to Nogales for immediate deportation. Mexican migration authorities meet them at the port of entry and transport those who need medical treatment to the Hospital General Nogales, where they stay until they are well enough to travel back to their hometown. Araceli could be anywhere now.In 2015, the Mexican Consulate registered 59 Mexican nationals hospitalized in Tucson. May was the busiest month: 11 cases. In 2016, they counted 66 people, 12 of them in March, 10 in July. Most of these were fractures caused by falling off the muro fronterizo—even the consulate calls it a border wall, not a fence. Other common reasons for hospitalization included dehydration, injuries to the feet (blisters, cuts), and GI problems from drinking contaminated water. The consulate also registered bites by poisonous animals, spontaneous abortions resulting from severe dehydration, drowning in the arroyo during the rains, sexual abuse by human traffickers, and ingestion of cactus. The numbers may seem low, but that is because the consulate only learns about a patient when either the Border Patrol or the hospital lets it know.The wall in Nogales, consisting of concrete-and-rebar-filled steel tubes, meets most of the requirements of President Donald Trump’s signature campaign promise: “the big, beautiful wall.” It may not be “aesthetically pleasing,” but at least few see the wounded. Mutilated bodies are made invisible: Some vanish in the desert and turn up years later as bone fragments reassembled in forensic labs; others are picked up by ambulances and rushed to hospitals, where doctors attend to their fractures and replenish their dehydrated bodies with fluids before ICE locks them up in detention centers. People who have been hurt by the wall live in the shadows of public spaces, with renal failure or a permanent limp, bound to a wheelchair or missing a hand. Some are afraid to seek treatment because they still don’t have documents to live legally in the U.S.; others are unable to find or afford long-term care once deported to their country of origin.Several weeks went by before I saw JLo, the paramedic who treated Araceli, again. He heard that a woman in Nogales, Sonora, complained on the radio about the ill treatment by the Border Patrol. She said that when she fell off the fence, she was left lying there for hours. She said she saw Border Patrol agents passing through, but they didn’t stop to help her.JLo was sure it was Araceli. “It seems she has been just deported back to Mexico,” he told me. There’s no way to know that it wasn’t Araceli, but it could well have been someone else. Hers is but one among many painful stories echoing back and forth across a militarized border.This article is adapted from Threshold: Emergency Responders on the U.S.-Mexico Border Wall.
  • The Atlantic Daily: “Other People Don’t Want to Stand Up to It”
    What We’re FollowingRemote Control: Why does Turkey seem to be treating the release of information over the alleged murder of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi as if it were must-see television? (And if there are recordings of the murder, Turkish officials should release them, urgently, Graeme Wood writes.) Meanwhile: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s method of handling of the affair in Riyadh this week has largely been to do as President Donald Trump does.To Space: “I have no reason to dismiss the report at all,” the current NASA administrator, Jim Bridenstine, told Marina Koren, referring to a United Nations climate report released last week, one that some of his fellow Republicans in Congress have dismissed. Under the Trump administration, NASA has put a renewed focus on returning Americans to the moon, among other projects. What’s next for the agency?Read and Watch: The film adaptation of Angie Thomas’s young-adult novel The Hate U Give, now in theaters, is a complex portrait of black girlhood. In its heroine, Starr Carter, “audiences can imagine not only new possibilities for black girls, but also new visions of our collective humanity.” The Conners is back on ABC, hastily reassembled in its new iteration after its former star and co-creator Roseanne Barr was fired in May: “People die. Whaddaya gonna do?” And finally: How the creator of this beloved bear character, first introduced six decades ago, had thought of him as a mascot for the Latin American immigrant experience.—Shan WangSnapshot In New York City’s gentrifying Chinatown neighborhood, some of the children of immigrant shop owners are making a choice to stay and continue their family’s work. “It’s like multiple personality disorder,” said one 24-year-old. “You’ll become thankful and grateful to them sometimes. And sometimes you hate them, and you hate the business, right?” Their stories here, in their own words. (Illustration by Katie Martin)Evening ReadHe’s spent $120 million and signed up millions of people, assembling in a year an organization with more reach than the NRA: Tom Steyer made a billion and a half dollars as an investor. He has sunk $50 million into Need to Impeach—so far—turning him into a familiar face in TV ads and, last year, on a Times Square billboard. Along the way, he has driven most top Democrats crazy by pushing them to take out the president, which they argue only helps vulnerable Republicans keep their seats. Bring up his name with Democratic officials and strategists, and the answer is a reliable variation of “Oh God,” or an eye roll. They complain that he’s not interested in hearing what anyone else has to say, that it’s all about him, that the money could have been better spent. They point to how many operatives have come and gone from top positions on his staff. Steyer likes calling these comments D.C. cocktail-party talk from people too caught up in chasing the majority to tell the truth, and it only encourages him to go harder, with more money, for a bigger splash. “Other people don’t want to stand up to it. They want to finesse it. They think that their consultants and pollsters will give them the answer,” he adds later. “It’s not that complicated. There’s a criminal who’s attacking the American people. That’s actually what’s going on.” Read on.We want to know what you think about ...Efforts to get out the vote: As the November U.S. midterm elections approach, we’ve seen a notably politically neutral pop star with a devoted following ask her fans to register to vote. We’ve seen publications trick people on social media with (false) news about celebrities. Who is responsible for getting out the vote? What are the most effective ways to do so? Write to us at Looking for our daily mini crossword? Try your hand at it here—the puzzle gets more difficult through the week. We’re always looking for ways to improve The Atlantic Daily, and we welcome your thoughts as we work to make a better newsletter for you. Did you get this newsletter from a friend? Sign yourself up.
  • DOJ Says Russian Trolls Are Interfering Online With the Midterms   
    The Russian conspirators waging an ongoing disinformation and propaganda campaign targeting American voters directed their trolls on social media to call the late Senator John McCain of Arizona an “old geezer” and Special Counsel Robert Mueller “a puppet of the establishment.” President Donald Trump, the trolls were told to say, “deserves a Nobel Peace Prize” for meeting with the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.Those are just a few of the messages that Russian trolls were tasked with spreading on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram between 2016 and 2018 to sow discord and influence U.S. elections, according to a criminal complaint unsealed on Friday.The complaint was filed by the Justice Department in the Eastern District of Virginia against Elena Khusyaynova, a 44-year-old Russian national who allegedly managed the finances of an election-interference campaign run out of the Internet Research Agency in St. Petersburg, code-named Project Lakhta. The complaint makes Khusyaynova the first Russian charged with interfering in the 2018 midterm elections.The messaging strategy mimicked the overheated rhetoric that the St. Petersburg firm, financed by an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin and closely tied to Russian intelligence, employed to considerable effect during the 2016 presidential election. The partisan—and at times hateful—comments so artfully mimicked the daily back-and-forth on social media that they seemed to be those of real Americans. The rhetoric wasn’t necessarily sophisticated, but it did reveal a basic understanding of U.S. culture wars. At times, the messaging copied President Trump’s bombast almost verbatim.The complaint says that the Russian conspirators directed their army of trolls to “[s]tate that during past elections, namely, this mainstream media, which supported Hillary Clinton’s candidacy, disseminated fake news,” with a citation to one such article from CNN. (One of Trump’s favorite refrains, chanted by his supporters at rallies, is that “CNN is fake news.”) Another troll was allegedly instructed: “Brand Paul Ryan a complete and absolute nobody incapable of any decisiveness” because of his opposition to Trump’s immigration cuts. (Trump called Ryan a “weak and ineffective leader” in 2016.) Yet another Russian troll was allegedly told to produce an article about voter-registration numbers in California that should refer to “large-scale falsifications” that threaten to turn the Constitution “into a mockery and celebration of lawlessness … there is an urgent need to introduce voter IDs for all the states.” (Trump has claimed, without evidence, that between 3 and 5 million ballots were cast illegally in the 2016 election.) The Russians went after Mueller, too, according to the complaint, urging troll-factory employees to portray the man investigating Trump as “a politician with proven connections to the Democratic party” who is incapable of producing “honest and open results.” (Trump has attacked Mueller “and his whole group of angry Democrat thugs,” calling his investigation a rigged “witch hunt.”)The echo chamber between Trump’s election rhetoric and that of the Russian trolls was striking.Russia’s use of phony social-media accounts to spread disinformation and propaganda in the run-up to the 2016 election was heavily scrutinized following Facebook’s disclosure last September that it had shut down 470 pages linked to the Internet Research Agency that shared divisive content and then promoted it using targeted political ads. Facebook estimated that approximately 10 million people saw the ads, which targeted users in Michigan and Wisconsin—two states Trump won by approximately 10,000 votes and 22,000 votes, respectively. Twitter told Congress in November that Russia-linked accounts “generated approximately 1.4 million automated, election-related tweets, which collectively received approximately 288 million impressions” last year from September 1 to November 15.The disinformation campaign—which was bolstered by the Russians’ hack on the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman during the 2016 election—was described by Mueller in detail in February, when he indicted 13 Russian nationals, including Khusyaynova’s alleged employer, the Putin confidant Yevgeny Prigozhin.The Russians used PayPal accounts and utilized a complex network of shell companies to finance the operation, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said earlier this year, following Mueller’s indictment. The troll factory’s budget for the project, which Khusyaynova allegedly controlled, exceeded 73 million Russian rubles—or roughly $1.2 million—per month. If anyone expected Project Lakhta to shut down after the 2016 election, however, they would have been wrong: The troll factory’s budget actually grew almost monthly between January and June of 2018 as the Russian trolls targeted the midterms, according to the complaint. By July, the proposed operating budget totaled more than $10 million.That month, Mueller issued yet another indictment, laying out in extraordinary detail how Russia’s military-intelligence agency hacked Democratic organizations and timed the release of the stolen material to have the maximum impact on the election. Three days later, Trump stood on stage with Putin in Helsinki, Finland, and again refused to condemn him for Russia’s interference campaign, even going so far as to deny the conclusion of U.S. intelligence agencies that Russia was responsible. “I think we have both been foolish,” Trump said, when asked by a reporter whether he would hold Russia accountable “at all, for anything in particular.” He added: “I think we are all to blame.” Asked later whether he would denounce Russian interference and ask Putin to never do it again, Trump said he didn’t “see any reason why it would be Russia” that interfered.Trump’s critics, and even some members of his own party, were stunned by the president’s refusal to hold Putin accountable for Russia’s election meddling. “I’ve seen Russian intelligence manipulate many people in my career,” GOP Congressman Will Hurd, a former CIA official, told CNN at the time. “I never thought the U.S. president would be one of them.”
  • The Atlantic Politics & Policy Daily: Meddling: Now in 2018
    Written by Madeleine Carlisle (@maddiecarlisle2) and Olivia Paschal (@oliviacpaschal)Today in 5 Lines The Justice Department charged a Russian woman for her participation in an online disinformation campaign aimed at interfering with the 2018 midterm elections. A caravan of migrants began crossing into Mexico after a brief confrontation with Mexican police that reportedly involved tear gas. Earlier in the day, in a joint appearance with Mexico's foreign minister, Luis Videgaray, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo emphasized the “importance of stopping the flow [of migrants] before it reaches the U.S. border.” In a tweet, President Donald Trump denied that Pompeo heard recordings of the alleged murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, refuting ABC News’ reporting that he had. A federal judge set the date of Paul Manafort’s sentencing hearing to February 8. In August, Manafort was found guilty of eight counts of financial crimes. Vice President Mike Pence visited Des Moines, Iowa, to campaign for Republican Representative David Young. Trump is also hitting the trail this weekend, beginning with his rally tonight in Mesa, Arizona, in support of Republican Senate candidate Martha McSally. Today on The Atlantic An Inside Look at NASA: In a wide-ranging interview with The Atlantic, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine discussed his plans for the agency, his views on climate change, and whether America will go back to the moon. (Marina Koren) The NRA of the Left: Billionaire Tom Steyer’s Need to Impeach is the most well-funded political organization on the left. So why are so many House Democrats mad at him? (Edward-Isaac Dovere) Hitting the Panic Button: Trump’s return to endorsing violence against journalists at a campaign rally in Montana Thursday night is an attempt to “deflect negative press coverage of substantive matters,” writes Adam Serwer. ‘Not A Positive’: Trump has treated Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s death as a public relations problem, rather than a human-rights issue, writes David A. Graham. SnapshotA Honduran migrant mother and child cower in fear as they are surrounded by Mexican Federal Police in riot gear at the border crossing in Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico. Thousands of Central Americans traveling in a mass caravan broke through a Guatemalan border fence and streamed toward Mexican territory, defying Mexican authorities' entreaties for an orderly migration and U.S. President Donald Trump's threats of retaliation. (Moises Castillo / AP)What We’re ReadingThe Trail of Gun Violence: In July, Eric Shelton interviewed Lee Evans about his escape from gun violence in California. Two days later, in Jackson, Mississippi, Evans was shot and killed. (The Groundtruth Project)#HimToo?: Though conservative commentators have seized it as a rebuke of the #MeToo movement, #HimToo began to raise awareness of male victims of sexual assault, and should return to that focus, writes David M. Perry. (Pacific Standard)Turnaround on Turnout: Polls predict that Democrats, for the first time in at least a decade, will turn out in numbers that rival, and even exceed, those of Republicans. (Nate Cohn, The Upshot)A Smear Campaign: The Washington Post reports that Republicans and conservative commentators have started a “whisper campaign” to discredit missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi. (Robert Costa and Karoun Demirjian)VisualizedShow Me The Money: Democrats have raised an unprecedented amount of money this election cycle, so much so that it has thrown off FiveThirtyEight’s prediction models. (Nate Silver)
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  • Brittany Bowlen states goal of succeeding her father as Broncos’ controlling owner
    Brittany Bowlen, the 28-year-old daughter of Broncos owner Pat Bowlen, announced publicly Saturday night that she wants to succeed her father as the team’s controlling owner. “Right now, the Denver Broncos have an owner, my father; unfortunately, he can’t be involved in the day-to-day operations of the team,” Bowlen said before an event for the Global Down Syndrome Foundation in downtown Denver. “I do have ambitions and goals to one day be the controlling owner of the Denver Broncos. “I’ll keep working toward those goals. I’m not there yet. But I really believe I can get there.” In late July, Broncos president and CEO Joe Ellis said Brittany Bowlen had expressed an interest in rejoining the organization and succeeding her father, who stepped aside in 2014 because he has Alzheimer’s disease. Ellis leads a three-person trust that is running the Broncos. Bowlen, who was co-chairperson of Saturday’s event that was also attended by several Broncos players, earned degrees at Notre Dame and Duke and worked two years for the NFL in New York. She now works for McKinsey & Company, a global consulting firm, in its Denver offices. Asked if she has a schedule for joining the Broncos, Bowlen said: “I really don’t have a timetable right now. I’m working for McKinsey and right now, that’s my focus. … I think it’s going to help me a lot. It’s really important I get experience outside of the football industry.” In May, Beth Bowlen-Wallace, one of Pat Bowlen’s two children from his first marriage, expressed her desire to be the next controlling owner of the Broncos. Asked if she has had any conversations with Bowlen-Wallace, Brittany Bowlen said: “I really can’t speak for Beth. But what I do know is, the way my dad laid out this trust, all of my (six) siblings have a right to pursue this goal and I support them in pursuing that goal.” The trust acted swiftly after Bowlen-Wallace’s announcement, saying she did not fit the required criteria to be considered a replacement for her father. In a text message to The Denver Post on Saturday, Bowlen-Wallace said: “I’m still very interested in fulfilling my father’s wishes of having a family member step up. I’m very proud of the legacy he created and am blessed I was able to experience his leadership for so many years of his adult life.” Now that two of Pat Bowlen’s children have expressed their goal of succeeding him, it’s unlikely the Broncos will be for sale after his death. Asked about her father’s health, Brittany Bowlen said: “My father is doing OK. Alzheimer’s is a very hard disease. He is the most stoic Alzheimer’s patient. It is truly inspirational to see how he has carried himself with this disease.” Still unknown, in addition to when Brittany Bowlen will join the Broncos: Will Ellis remain team president to lead the transition? How many years will she be mentored before taking over the decision-making? Will any of Pat Bowlen’s other children serve in the team’s front office? Having grown up in Denver, Brittany Bowlen said she understands the passion of the Broncos’ fan base. “For me, football is about family,” she said. “I grew up in this organization. I love my family. I love the impact they’ve had on our community. I love the team and seeing how they work together. That’s why I love football. I love watching the games, but really seeing the connections people make and the lifelong friendships people make, that’s what is really important.” Related Articles Kickin’ it with Kiz: Want a meaningful prediction? Broncos Country would love it if Case Keenum vowed to kick Patrick Mahomes’ butt. NFL Week 7 Picks: Game, lock and upset of the week from the Denver Post Around the NFC: Kirk Cousins faces Jets team that offered him $90 million Bradley Roby highlights Broncos’ defensive turnaround at Cardinals Broncos Film Review: Pass rush produces best performance of season Bowlen said her time working for the NFL was beneficial. “I absolutely loved my two years at the NFL,” she said. “It was an incredible experience. I got to spend time with the (public relations) staff and with digital media, which was really awesome because I was able to see the impact my father drove with television. I also spent time with club business development, which is a group that consults for all 32 clubs.” Bowlen was involved with a leaguewide fan experience survey while employed by the NFL. “That was actually part of the reason I wanted to go into consulting because I loved working with all the clubs and help improve (their) operations,” she said.
  • Kickin’ it with Kiz: Want a meaningful prediction? Broncos Country would love it if Case Keenum vowed to kick Patrick Mahomes’ butt.
    Von Miller’s prediction of kicking butt against Arizona was pretty meaningless. Why? If the Broncos won, he would be proved correct. And if the team failed, the season would have been pretty much over. Nothing against Miller. But if predictions win the day, then with the upcoming game against Kansas City, predict on, Von! Frank, Arvada Kiz: OK, after watching Miller dismantle Arizona, can we say general manager John Elway was correct to select Bradley Chubb instead of quarterback Josh Rosen in 2018 NFL draft? But Elway doesn’t have his Patrick Mahomes. That’s going to be a problem for the Broncos not only next weekend in Kansas City but for the next 10 years. If Case Keenum vows to kick Mahomes’ butt, then we’d really have something to talk about. I was wondering if or when Chubb would get going for the Broncos. The NFL can be difficult to absorb between the ears as a rookie. But along came your column in The Post, and voila! There’s nothing like a little “questionable press” to motivate athletes. Too bad it was necessary, as I believe the job of motivation should fall to the coaches. Keep that pen warmed up, Kiz. G.I., Longmont Kiz: That’s Coach Kiz to you, my friend. Life coach. Second-guesser. Bon vivant. Available to work corporate retreats for a nominal fee. But irritating Elway? That’s always free. Your debate with colleague Ryan O’Halloran about booing the Broncos was interesting. I particularly liked your comments regarding the Broncos being treated as family in Denver. In some ways, our Broncos are quite ill, teetering on being placed in hospice. If a family member is gravely ill, one does not boo or condemn them, even if that condemnation is well-deserved. We should make allowances for past transgressions, as we wait for that last day. Mike, football philosopher Kiz: Hospice? Easy now. I know football is serious business in Broncos Country. But it’s not a matter of life and death. I wasn’t so sure if Nuggets coach Michael Malone was deserving of a contract extension after last season’s failure to make the playoffs. But he has increased the team’s win total each year and developed the young players well. So he deserves the extension. Tanner, stoked for the future Kiz: If the Nuggets win 50 games and a playoff series, some grumpy old fans might even forgive Malone for not being George Karl. And today’s parting shot disses me, which is cool. But make fun of my trusty old typewriter? Now them’s fighting words. Do you actually think the Broncos give a flying flip what you think, Kiz? If you want to play general manager all the time, why don’t you apply for the job? Pretend wanna-be GM, you just complain and whine. If you were the general manager of the Broncos, you would be the worst GM in the history of sports. Typewriter know-it-all. You are a complete jinx and scourge. As long as you write about Denver sports, local teams have no chance of winning a title. P.B., edited for family newspaper
  • Isaiah Thomas making early impression on teammates, but Nuggets offer no return timeline
    It didn’t take long for Isaiah Thomas to ingratiate himself to his teammates. First he gifted them all retro boomboxes and then he surprised them each with a pair of Beats headphones. “That’s it as of now, but those are two pretty good gifts,” Nuggets guard Gary Harris said. “I’m looking forward to whatever else he has in store.” Thomas, who came to the Denver Nuggets this offseason on a veteran’s minimum contract, is doing everything he can to rehab his surgically repaired hip. He came back too early last season while with the Cleveland Cavaliers and then was unceremoniously dealt to the Los Angeles Lakers at the trade deadline. An arthroscopic procedure on his right hip in March ended his season prematurely. Related Articles Nuggets stress 3-point defense ahead of Suns, Warriors Nuggets’ Gary Harris on clutch win over Clippers: “There’s a different vibe right now” Nuggets rely on defensive effort to pull out season-opening win in Los Angeles Nuggets vs. Clippers live blog: Real-time updates from Denver’s season opener Michael Malone, Denver Nuggets agree to contract extension As of right now, the Nuggets are offering no timeline for Thomas’ return. The team’s medical staff is hesitant to put a specific date on it and add pressure on his return, cognizant of how coming back too soon hampered Thomas with the Cavs. “I definitely know he’s making improvements, whether it’s stuff he’s able to do on the court with our coaches, stuff he’s able to do in the training room and when they test him to see the strength of that hip, everything is definitely moving in the right direction,” Nuggets coach Mike Malone said. “What does mean? When is he back? That remains to be seen but all I care about is that he’s making progress and he’s feeling pretty good about that.” Though Thomas hasn’t participated in practice yet, he’s still been a vocal presence throughout preseason and practice. It was Thomas who got on his teammates during an exhibition against Australia’s Perth when the rest of the team wasn’t giving enough effort. “Like you said, he’s been in the league a long time,” Harris said. “He’s seen a lot. Just being able to implement some of the stuff he did on some of the better teams he was on. … Y’all know how he plays, y’all know our offense. I think y’all can do the rest. I think he’ll be very powerful in our offense.”
  • CU Buffs’ upset bid comes up short against No. 15 Washington
    SEATTLE — Colorado came to Husky Stadium on Saturday without Laviska Shenault and three other starters. To many, the Buffaloes also came with no shot to win. Related Articles Colorado at Washington live blog: Real-time updates from the Buffs football game Former Buffs assistant coach Joe Tumpkin offered misdemeanor plea deal CU Buffs secondary aiming to bounce back against UW Colorado Buffaloes receiver Laviska Shenault honors late father with play, dreadlocks “Carruth” series provides in-depth look into a reporter’s 21-year coverage of CU Buffs’ Rae Carruth Despite being shorthanded, CU battled with the No. 15-ranked Washington Huskies for most of the afternoon before losing its second game in a row, 27-13. Jake Browning’s 26-yard touchdown pass to Aaron Fuller with three minutes, 50 seconds to play gave the Huskies (6-2, 4-1 Pac-12) the cushion they needed to hold off the Buffs (5-2, 2-2). CU has now lost 29 consecutive road games against ranked opponents, dating back to a 31-17 win at No. 20 UCLA on Sept. 21, 2002. Read more via BuffZone
  • Lakota language gets boost at DU conference
    People such as Gwen Holmes are basically doing triage work in a desperate attempt to keep the Lakota language and culture alive in the United States. “I wouldn’t say it’s extinct, but it’s definitely endangered,” the soft-spoken Holmes said Saturday during a Lakota Language Weekend at the University of Denver. Nearby about 60 students of all ages were getting crash courses on the Lakota alphabet and pronunciation, basic grammar and how to use practical sentences for everyday life. Instructors were from the world-renowned Lakota Summer Institute and organized by the Lakota Language Consortium. Organizers of the two-day event said the classwork is part of the Native American language revitalization movement, which is working to keep indigenous languages from dying, said Wilhelm Meya, chairman of The Language Conservancy, based in Indiana. “Indigenous languages are already disappearing at a rapid pace, and it’s an unknown but growing crisis,” Meya said. At least 99 percent of existing Native American languages will vanish within our lifetimes, Meya said. There are about 150,000 Lakota left in the United States, and only about 1,500 are fluent speakers, making the training of new Lakota speakers pivotal to preserving the language, he said. And by saving it, the Lakota culture survives, said Viki Eagle, director of Native American Community Relations & Programs at DU. “The Lakota language especially tells the tale of the culture. Every word has a special meaning and context,” Eagle said. The workshop was open to people of all backgrounds and geared toward beginners. Besides the basics, the courses also talked about cultural values and using traditional songs to demonstrate how consistent spelling supports pronunciation and comprehension, Meya said. The push to revive Native American languages, including Lakota, isn’t meant to supplant English, he said. Rather it gives native peoples a choice in pursuing a second language. But if that language vanishes, so does the opportunity to lean about the culture, he said. “What we are doing today is stabilizing the free fall,” Meya said. Lakota Language Weekends are held throughout the country, including New York and Chicago, Meya said. People are attracted to the romantic legacy of the tribe, which includes Sitting Bull, a Hunkpapa Lakota leader who led confederated Lakota tribes with the Northern Cheyenne to defeat the 7th Cavalry under Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer on June 25, 1876, at the Battle of the Little Bighorn. “For a lot of people, the Lakota are a special group,” Meya said. Like most Native American tribes, the Lakota didn’t write down their language but passed it down through songs and stories. And many of the tribe’s youths don’t see it as something they need to learn, said Alexis White Hat, an 18-year-old DU student who attended Saturday’s session. Her grandfather, Albert White Head Sr., wrote a book about the Lakota language and tried to teach it to her and her cousins. but they weren’t interested. Related Articles Elizabeth Warren ancestry highlights how tribes decide membership Elizabeth Warren’s DNA claim inflames some Native Americans Members of the Arapaho tribes return to their home in the Boulder Valley “We were kids and didn’t want to listen to that stuff,” Alexis said. “Only later did I realize, ‘Oh, wow, I really missed out.” Holmes said her mother, a Lakota, attended a boarding school for tribal children, and they were told not to speak their native tongue or they would be harshly punished. “So they grew up refusing to speak Lakota, and they passed that reluctance along to their children,” Holmes said. Holmes, however, learned it from her grandparents, and now she possesses a master’s degree in linguistics. She teaches Lakota at the Denver Center for International Studies, which teaches multilingual skills to high schoolers preparing  for college. “I think it’s great these weekends are held,” Holmes said. “It gives a me a little hope that this language will stay alive.”
  • Elizabeth Warren ancestry highlights how tribes decide membership
    FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — Jon Rios traces his ancestry to the Pima people of Arizona, but he has no tribal enrollment card and lives hundreds of miles away in Colorado. He has no interest in meeting any federally imposed requirements to prove his connection to a tribe. If anyone asks, he says he’s Native American. “I’m a little bit like Elizabeth Warren. I have my ancestral lineage,” Rios said, referring to his affiliation with the Pima, also known as Akimel O’odham. The clash between the Massachusetts Democratic senator and President Donald Trump over her Native American heritage highlights the varying methods tribes use to determine who belongs — a decision that has wide-ranging consequences. Some tribes rely on blood relationships, or “blood quantum,” to confer membership. Historically, they had a broader view that included non-biological connections and whether a person had a stake in the community. The 573 federally recognized tribes have a unique political relationship with the United States as sovereign governments that must be consulted on issues that affect them, such as sacred sites, environmental rules and commercial development. Treaties guarantee access to health care and certain social services but they can be treated differently when involved in a federal crime on a reservation. Within tribes, enrollment also means being able to seek office, vote in tribal elections and secure property rights. For centuries, a person’s percentage of Native American blood had nothing to do with determining who was a tribal member. And for some tribes, it still doesn’t. Membership was based on kinship and encompassed biological relatives, those who married into the tribe and even people captured by Native Americans during wars. Black slaves held by tribes during the 1800s and their descendants became members of tribes now in Oklahoma after slavery was abolished. The Navajo Nation contemplated ways Mexican slaves could become enrolled, according to Paul Spuhan, an attorney for the tribe. Degree of blood became a widely used standard for tribal enrollment in the 1930s, when the federal government offered boilerplate constitutions to tribes to promote city council-style governments. The blood quantum often was determined in crude ways such as sending anthropologists and federal agents to inspect Native Americans’ physical features, like hair, skin color and nose shape. Related Articles Elizabeth Warren’s DNA claim inflames some Native Americans Warren DNA analysis points to Native American heritage “It became this very biased, pseudo-science racial measurement,” said Danielle Lucero, a member of Isleta Pueblo in New Mexico and a doctoral student at Arizona State University. Many tribes that adopted constitutions under the Indian Reorganization Act, and even those that did not, changed enrollment requirements. Blood quantum and lineal descent, or a person’s direct ancestors, remain dominant determinants. A 1978 U.S. Supreme Court case, Santa Clara v. Martinez, upheld the authority of tribes to define their membership based on cultural values and norms. Some tribes also have used that authority to remove members. “Historically, we have very fluid understandings of relatedness,” said David Wilkins, a University of Minnesota law professor who is a member of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina. “It was more about your value, orientation and whether or not you acted like a good citizen and a good person, and if you fulfilled your responsibilities. It didn’t matter if you had one-half, one-quarter or 1/1,000th, whatever Elizabeth Warren had.” The Navajo Nation, one of the largest tribes in the Southwest, has a one-fourth blood quantum requirement. The Lumbee Tribe requires members to trace ancestry to a tribal roll, re-enroll every seven years and take a civics test about prominent tribal leaders and historical events, Wilkins said. DNA alone is not used to prove a person’s Native American background. The tests assess broad genetic markers, not specific tribal affiliations or connectedness to a tribal community. The Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma uses a roster of names developed near the start of the 20th century to determine membership, regardless of the degree of Indian blood. In that era, federal agents also ascribed blood quantum to Native Americans for purposes of land ownership, Spruhan wrote. Warren, who grew up in Norman, Oklahoma, and is seen as a presidential contender in 2020, recently released results of a DNA test that she said indicated she had a distant Native American ancestor. The test was intended to answer Trump, who has repeatedly mocked her and called her “Pocahontas.” She has said her roots were part of “family lore,” and has never sought membership in any tribe. Patty Ferguson-Bohnee works to protect sacred sites, culture camps and language immersion for her small Pointe-au-Chien Indian Tribe in southern Louisiana. The tribe also is seeking federal recognition. “It’s not just about money, it’s about how do we protect our cultural heritage?” said Ferguson-Bohnee, who oversees the Indian Legal Program at Arizona State University. Nicole Willis grew up hours away from the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Reservation in the Pacific Northwest, which she calls home. She traveled often from Seattle for cultural events and to spend summers with her grandmother. To her, being Native American means her family is part of a distinct, interconnected community that has existed since ancient times. Her tribe requires citizens to be one-quarter Native American, with a grandparent or parent enrolled in the tribe, but she said “theoretically, it shouldn’t matter.” “We should identify with the nation that we feel a part of,” she said. “Because of the way the government dealt with us, we don’t have the benefit of ignoring the numbers aspect.” Back in Greeley, Colorado, Rios tries to maintain traditions passed down through his father’s side and his identity by gathering medicinal plants, giving thanks for food and to his creator, sitting with family around an open fire and passing knowledge on to his daughters. “It’s important for me and especially our people, always being respectful and trying to maintain that balance,” he said.
  • Chambers: Maple Leafs holdout William Nylander on the move
    The Toronto Maple Leafs are in a position of power with young holdout winger William Nylander. The Leafs began the season 6-1 without Nylander, 22, and they have no shortage of young and exciting forwards, beginning with NHL goal-scoring and points leader Auston Matthews, who is in the final year of his entry-level contract. Matthews will soon get extended and make Connor McDavid money — league-high $12.5 million cap hit — and Toronto already has high-priced forwards in veterans John Tavares ($11 million cap hit) and Patrick Marleau ($6.25 million). Nylander’s three-year career in Toronto appears over, because of his salary demands and the fact the Leafs need to bolster their blue line. Nylander, the eighth selection in the 2014 draft, likely will be traded by Dec. 1, the deadline for him to sign with an NHL team and play this season. The standoff will end, and all signs point towards a trade to a team in need of a top-six right winger with salary cap space to work with. The Avalanche, which is more than $12 million under the salary cap, is that team. But Nylander probably won’t be coming to Colorado. The Avs need a second-line right winger to fit in with second-year forwards Alex Kerfoot and Tyson Jost. But unless Colorado considers trading 2017 No. 1 draft pick Cale Makar, the sophomore defenseman at the University of Massachusetts, Nylander won’t be that guy. The Avs aren’t likely to trade either of their top two young defensemen in Makar, 19, and second-year Sam Girard, 20, and similar-style D-man Conor Timmins remains out with concussion-like symptoms. Colorado finally has a blue line to be proud of and additions of Makar and Timmins figures to make it stellar. The Avs also aren’t likely to throw a ton of money at Nylander, who reportedly wants a long-term deal in the $8.5 million-annual range. Colorado isn’t likely to pay anyone more than star center Nathan MacKinnon, who is “stuck” with a relatively modest but team-high $6.3 million cap through the next four seasons. The Avs have their own concerns with resigning pending restricted free agent Mikko Rantanen, MacKinnon’s right winger who produced 29 goals and 84 points last season. Nylander is coming off consecutive 61-point seasons, with 22 and 20 goals, respectively. He’s a good young player who likely will land in Nashville, Arizona or Columbus, assuming he doesn’t agree to a short-term “bridge” deal with Toronto. But however badly the Avalanche could use him as its second-line right winger, it won’t happen. Friday night lights. The Avs need to win a big game on Friday. They need to defeat the Ottawa Senators at the Pepsi Center. Remember, the Avs have the Sens’ first-round draft pick next June, and Ottawa has been the overwhelming pick to finish with the league’s fewest points this season and put Colorado in position to win the draft lottery. The Avs need to help their cause in “earning” the right to draft generational American forward Jack Hughes with the 2019 No. 1 pick, by beating Ottawa in the first of two meetings between the teams. Hughes, 17, is widely regarded as the next Auston Matthews, who previously was considered the next Connor McDavid. Colorado obtained Ottawa’s No. 1 pick from the three-team trade involving Matt Duchene in November. Duchene, who played more than eight seasons and 586 regular-season games for the Avs, is healthy and on schedule to make his Denver reunion Friday,  
  • NFL Week 7 Picks: Game, lock and upset of the week from the Denver Post
    Game of the week New Orleans at Baltimore Strength vs. strength when the 4-1 Saints visit the 4-2 Ravens. New Orleans, a 2 1/ 2-point underdog, leads the league in scoring at 36 points per game. Baltimore paces the league in scoring defense (12.8 per game). Give the Saints the advantage because they are coming off a bye week. Saints 34, Ravens 28 Lock of the week Cleveland at Tampa Bay Like the Broncos, Tampa Bay started 2-0 but hasn’t won since (now 2-3). Defensive coordinator Mike Smith took the fall for a putrid defense (34.6 points per game), and was replaced by linebackers coach Mark Duffner. A change always produces an instant spark. The Bucs are a 3 1/2-point favorite. Buccaneers 17, Browns 13 Related Articles Kickin’ it with Kiz: Want a meaningful prediction? Broncos Country would love it if Case Keenum vowed to kick Patrick Mahomes’ butt. Around the NFC: Kirk Cousins faces Jets team that offered him $90 million Bradley Roby highlights Broncos’ defensive turnaround at Cardinals Broncos Film Review: Pass rush produces best performance of season Broncos Briefs: Early lead allowed Von Miller to climb to top of NFL sack standings Upset of the week Detroit at Miami Why are the Lions a 2 1/2-point home favorite after Miami beat Chicago last week in overtime?  We get that Miami quarterback Ryan Tannehill (shoulder) is out again, but Brock Osweiler threw for 380 yards last week. The difference, though, will be Frank Gore, who will torch the Lions’ 30th-ranked rush defense. Dolphins 27, Lions 21
  • PHOTOS: Giant spiderwebs cover lakeside in Greece
    A unique 1,000 m long spider-web coves tees and bushes, near Xanthi, northern Greece, on October 18, 2018. – Warmer weather conditions in Greece and an increase in the mosquito population are thought to have contributed to the rise in the number of spiders. The spiders are from the genus Tetragnatha, known as stretch spiders due to their elongated bodies. They are known to build webs near watery habitats, with some species even said to be able to walk on water.
  • BP’s Rocky Mountain high threatened by $39 million oil vote
    By Catherine Traywick BP’s new U.S. onshore oil headquarters in Denver serves as a testament to Colorado’s regal mountains, its expansive forests, its nature-loving culture. Aspen trees line the BP club room, newly installed beer taps await local craft brews, multiple stone fireplaces invite cozy discussions about ski conditions, and a 52-foot pine tree, sliced in half, serves as a conference table. Whether Coloradans want the tribute is another matter. On Nov. 6, voters may spoil BP’s welcome. That’s when Colorado decides whether to limit drilling in an initiative that has drawn almost $39 million in campaign finance contributions. If passed, the proposition would cut the state’s oil output by more than half and, perhaps, act as a potential blueprint for blocking development elsewhere. BP moved its office from Houston weeks before the proposition hit the ballot. Colorado has been drawing drillers whose interest has been piqued by production that’s climbed 10-fold since 2001 to a record 450,000 barrels a day in April. Along with Noble Energy Inc., Anadarko Petroleum Corp. and others, BP is now in the midst of a multimillion-dollar war over the state’s environmental future. “The long-term impact is quite significant,” said Matt Andre, an energy analyst at S&P Global Platts. “It’s about the precedent being set, and it working its way to other states.” At issue is Proposition 112, which requires that new drilling sites, processing plants and gathering lines be more than 2,500 feet from homes, schools and other “vulnerable” areas. In effect, it makes 54 percent of surface land inaccessible to producers. If the measure passes, production could fall 55 percent by 2023, according to an S&P analysis. But Andre sees that as just a best-case scenario: “It assumes that people who can drill will drill,” he said. “But you have to imagine that some people will move to other plays.” The stakes are extraordinarily high. By July, Colorado overtook Alaska to become the nation’s sixth-largest oil producer. In 2016, the government estimated that the state had 1.3 billion barrels of proved oil reserves. The vote’s in a few weeks. In the meantime, the latest campaign filings show opponents to the proposition have put $37.8 million into defeating it, including $300,000 contributed by BP on Oct. 2, and about $6 million each overall from Anadarko Petroleum and Noble Energy. That compares with just $921,000 raised by proponents. The latest polling by Height Securities showed support for the measure at 43 percent and opposition at 47 percent, based on a survey conducted Oct. 15 and Oct. 16. These companies “don’t just have to win,” said Ethan Bellamy, a senior analyst at Robert W. Baird & Co Inc. “They have to win by a mile to take the risk overhang out of the stocks. If Proposition 112 wins, the stocks will get torched.” BP isn’t the only company to show renewed interest in Colorado, even amid efforts to restrict development in the state. Wyoming gas producer Ultra Petroleum Corp. in September moved its headquarters from Houston to Denver, part of a plan to consolidate operations. Even Noble, which last year shifted operations to Texas, has reallocated activity back to the Denver-Julesberg basin amid pipeline bottlenecks expected to slow growth in the prolific Permian Basin. For Denver-based companies with operations outside the state, such as BP, opposing the ballot measure is a matter of principle. But for pure-play producers the proposition could be a significant blow. Independent explorers Extraction Oil and Gas, PDC Energy and SRC Energy all saw their shares fall after Colorado put Proposition 112 on the ballot. Other heavily exposed companies include Highpoint Resources Corp., Bonanza Creek Energy Inc., Whiting Petroleum Corp., Anadarko and Noble, according to an analysis by Bloomberg Intelligence. Some companies are doing what they can to mitigate the impact of the measure. Highpoint, for instance, is evaluating the drilling of longer laterals, Chief Financial Officer Bill Crawford said. Others are rushing to secure drilling permits ahead of the vote. Extraction Oil & Gas anticipates having more than three years of drilling inventory permitted and “ready to go” if the measure passes, Chief Executive Mark Erickson said on a second-quarter earnings call. Anadarko, which holds 400,000 acres in the D.J. basin, has already announced plans to trim new production in the region, even before the measure made it onto the ballot. “There’s uncertainty,” said Bloomberg Intelligence analyst James Blatchford. “Anadarko might reduce activity in the DJ basin, but aren’t likely to leave entirely.” A BP spokesman declined to comment on what impact if any, the measure might have on that company. BP opposes the proposition, like its fellow producers, and its Lower-48 unit plans to increase its share of oil production, amid low gas prices. But it hasn’t announced new exploration in the state. The company now operates more than 1,300 wells in the Colorado portion of the San Juan basin but is weighing selling those assets following its $10.5 billion acquisition of most of BHP Billiton Ltd.’s onshore U.S. fields. It also owns and operates a natural gas plant near the New Mexico border that can process as much as 280 million cubic feet a day. Politically, BP is trying to straddle both sides. While the company opposes the ballot measure, it casts itself as broadly supportive of Denver’s environmental goals. “This is a city and a state that cares about the environment — we see ourselves as a partner in that,” said Dave Lawler, chief executive of BP’s Lower 48 unit, in an interview last month. “This is one of the many steps of how we’re transforming the company.” Lawler insisted that the Denver office is here to stay, regardless of the referendum’s outcome or the potential sale of BP’s holdings. The decision to relocate to Denver rested largely on the state’s “entrepreneurial mindset,” he said. “And in Denver, certainly, a technology emphasis that we want to be part of the company long-term.”
Editors' Picks and Don't Miss stories | The Denver Post
  • Attention Denver flyers: United is going to tweak its DIA schedule next year
    United Airlines will shake up its scheduling at Denver International Airport next year in order to provide more morning flights to both coasts. The new schedule begins in February, United announced. The key change is the airline is getting rid of one of the 10 “banks” of flights it employs at Denver International Airport now. Banking is a practice carriers use to cluster flights at similar times to smooth out connections and reduce wait times. United is going from using 10 banks to nine at DIA. The first bank of each day will begin at 7:50 a.m. and include more flights than before. The goal is to get more business travelers to more destinations earlier in the day, according to the airline. The second bank of the day, beginning at 9:20 a.m., will feature only flights going west, while the third bank, staring at 10:50 a.m., will be flights headed east, the opposite of the existing schedule. United averages about 400 flights out of DIA daily, officials say, and continues to expand offerings. This year, it added direct service to London among its new destinations. Related ArticlesOctober 18, 2018 TSA officers buy shirt for boy traveling to Denver October 14, 2018 Westbound lanes of Interstate 70 reopen outside of Georgetown; Denver roads remain wet and slippery October 9, 2018 United Airlines celebrates upgrade at Flight Training Center in Denver, aims to keep growing October 5, 2018 Denver International Airport no longer scolds passengers about “delaying the departure of this train” October 4, 2018 Denver’s 10 most popular destinations for people who share Lyfts
  • Don’t understand blockchain? Denver Startup Week events will provide deeper understanding of new technology.
    Heaven help the indecisive. The seventh annual Denver Startup Week gets underway Monday and will offer more than 350 free programs covering just about all elements of entrepreneurial business by the time it wraps on Friday. Those consulting Monday’s schedule might notice a bundle of events covering the recently ubiquitous technology known as blockchain. Blockchain — a decentralized, digital ledger capable of tracking bitcoin and other cryptocurrency transfers and, potentially, a whole mess of other stuff — is so hot right now the governor appointed a special council this summer to explore legal frameworks necessary to push the technology forward in the state while protecting consumers. Startup Week co-sponsor/co-organizer the Downtown Denver Partnership certainly wouldn’t mind seeing the city and state grow its rep as a blockchain hotbed. “Denver Startup Week has become a bit of a platform for introducing new technology. Last year we had a couple of sessions around blockchain that were really well received,” Randy Thelen, the partnership’s vice president of economic development, said Friday. “How do we continue to foster an environment that attracts the businesses, the talent and the customers –the business community that will use the technology?” This year, Startup Week will have nine blockchain-centric events on Monday alone, most of them centered around a “Blockchain Hub” being set up at Booz Hall RiNO, 2845 Walnut St.  A big attraction there will be a “food trucks and libations” station, a marketplace where hungry and thirsty consumers will need to visit an ATM to change their cash into bitcoin if they want to eat or drink. Thelen, for one, is all for it. “I think this is an opportunity for people to go and attend this and get a little more hands-on experience and a deeper understanding,” he said.  Bill Sinclair is the chief technology officer and interim president and CEO of Salt Blockchain Financial Technology, a Denver-based company that since 2017 has been providing traditional loans leveraged against cryptocurrency holdings. He will host a blockchain-focused keynote talk at Booz Hall Monday with Stephanie Copeland, head of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade and Erik Voorhees, CEO of crypto exchange company Shapeshift. “The entire day Salt is sponsoring educational events, trying to break down those barriers” to people using cryptocurrencies, Sinclair said. “We’ll have everyone there from developers to marketers. It’s all hands on deck to make people as comfortable as possible and help them understand how it works.” State Sen. Angela Williams, D-Denver, will be at the hub helping visitors set up digital bitcoin wallets that, with the help of an app, will allow them to make purchases without any cash or cards. The way Sinclair describes it, blockchain is a technology that adds transparency and security to our existing system of database-tracked money. Instead of using a debit card at a grocery store and trusting that the private bank database holding your money is transferring the right amount to the right destination, blockchain verifies via its public ledger that a consumer did in fact have $20 and that $20 was conferred on the store. “I think we could see all types of ownership moving to blockchains,” Sinclair said, using a home or vehicle title history as examples.  Related ArticlesSeptember 18, 2018 Arrow Electronics to build “Open Lab” dedicated to smart city tech in Centennial May 9, 2018 Colorado politicians approve — and then reject — bill to distinguish blockchain tokens from securities September 20, 2018 Denver startup proposes mining funded with cryptocurrency, not mining for cryptocurrency It not just startups embracing cryptocurrency and blockchain transactions. It has accepted bitcoin since 2014, but Denver’s own Dish Network announced in August it would now allow customers to pay in the derivative Bitcoin Cash. The company is also using BitPay, a blockchain payment service provider. “We have a steady volume of customers paying with cryptocurrency each month, and BitPay will allow us to continue offering more choice and convenience to our customers,” Dish COO John Swieringa said in a statement at the time. Speaking of Dish, CEO Charlie Ergen will be at Startup Week on Wednesday, serving as a judge for a pitch competition focused on another hot industry topic: internet of things technology. For a full list of Denver Startup Week’s free events, visit
  • PHOTOS: Inside the eye of Hurricane Florence, images from space
    Images from NASA’s camera on the International Space Station and NOAA satellite images show powerful Hurricane Florence as she churns towards the east coast. Highways clogged with people fleeing North and South Carolina early Wednesday as Florence rumbled toward the eastern US as the biggest storm there in decades. While many coastal residents heeded mandatory evacuation orders, others boarded up homes and businesses and chose to brave the storm, which is forecast to trigger severe flash flooding as it dumps as many as three feet (almost a meter) of rain in some areas. Life-threatening storm surges of up to a staggering 13 feet in some places were also forecast.
  • PHOTOS: Denver Broncos fans through the years
    Since the Denver Broncos were originally formed in 1960 they’ve had loyal fans — and we have the photographs to prove it. Broncos fans stood on ladders and peered over fences when they couldn’t get tickets to sold-out games. They braved all kinds of Colorado weather, even shoveling snow off their seats before the game. Four hundred Broncos fans waited outside all night on Christmas Eve in 1977 for a chance to get tickets to a postseason game. They cheered their team and its orange crush defense to the 1987 Super Bowl, where the broncos lost to the Giants 99-20. Broncos fans have cheered their team to thick and thin.
  • From the archive: When a 1968 crowd trashed Red Rocks over a canceled Aretha Franklin concert
    Aretha Franklin, the “Queen of Soul,” is known for inspiring awe, motivating listeners to dance, and — on at least one occasion in Colorado — sparking a riot. On Aug. 4, 1968, Franklin was scheduled to perform a Sunday night concert at Red Rocks Amphitheatre. But she went on stage to announce that she would not be performing because she hadn’t been paid by the program’s impresario, according to Denver Post archives. About 200 people in the audience stormed the stage, destroying chairs, music stands, a grand piano, footlights, electronic equipment and anything else they could get their hands on. Bottles and rocks were thrown onstage. Metal trash barrels were rolled down the grandstand. As police moved in, people went into the surrounding park, setting fire to trees, bushes and trash. Despite the chaos, there was little fighting and no one was injured. Three people were arrested, and that was because they were suspected of stealing electronic equipment. The riot resulted in a one-year ban on rock shows at the venue, according to the Denver Public Library. According to Franklin’s contract, she was to be paid $20,000 before the performance, according to the original Post story. The New Yorker reported that Franklin always demanded to be paid in cash on the spot or she would not go onstage. The cash would go into her handbag, which would either stay with her security team or come on stage with her. The reason: She grew up in an era when Ray Charles and B.B. King would get ripped off, according to The New Yorker. Franklin, the woman behind classics “Think,” “I Say a Little Prayer” and “Respect,” died Thursday morning in Detroit at the age of 76 after battling advanced pancreatic cancer. Read more about historic shows at Red Rocks over the last 100 years. The Denver Post needs your support. Subscribe now for just 99 cents for the first month.
  • Masterpiece Cakeshop owner sues Hickenlooper, claiming religious persecution despite Supreme Court ruling
    The owner of a cake shop sued Gov. John Hickenlooper and other state officials late Tuesday, reigniting a debate over religious freedoms in the public square. Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cakeshop claims in his lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Denver, that the state has renewed its “crusade” against him for refusing to create a cake that would have violated his religious beliefs. According to the suit, the Colorado Civil Rights Commission ruled that he once again violated the state’s nondiscrimination law when he refused to bake the cake. This time, it was for Autumn Scardina, an Arvada woman celebrating her birthday and the seventh anniversary of her gender transition. The commission’s June opinion came despite Phillips’ earlier win at the U.S. Supreme Court over his refusal to make a cake for a gay wedding, the lawsuit says. “The state of Colorado is ignoring the message of the U.S. Supreme Court by continuing to single out Jack for punishment and to exhibit hostility toward his religious beliefs,” said Kristen Waggoner, legal vice president of Alliance Defending Freedom, the organization representing Phillips. However, the justices’ 7-2 decision in the cake maker’s earlier case was a narrow ruling that kept the state’s nondiscrimination laws intact but said the state commission did not appropriately weigh Phillips’ religious rights. Hickenlooper told reporters Wednesday that he was not involved the commission’s most recent ruling, but said the issue is one of the most thorny he has seen during his public service career. He said he expects the issue to return to the U.S. Supreme Court. “The first ruling from the Supreme Court did not address the basic issue,” he said, referring to the religious freedom issue, “and that’s what I think the U.S. Supreme Court will have to address this time.” The Civil Rights Commission and attorney general’s office declined to comment Wednesday. Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, a Republican, has long been a supporter of the LGBTQ community. Tuesday’s lawsuit reignites years of legal debate over how religious beliefs should be considered under Colorado’s public accommodation law. The 2008 state law forbids businesses from discriminating against customers on a variety of grounds including sexual orientation and gender. Phillips and his cake shop first made national news in 2012, when he declined to make a wedding cake for a gay couple because of his religious objections to same-sex marriage. The years-long legal fight ended at the U.S. Supreme Court this June in a decision written by Justice Anthony Kennedy. Kennedy, who has authored a number of landmark rulings expanding gay rights, indicated that the decision was not all-encompassing. At the time, observers on both sides of the case said the limited decision meant the broader debate would continue to be litigated. Related Articles Timeline: Masterpiece Cakeshop, LGBTQ rights and the courts “We’re just human beings”: Gay couple at center of Masterpiece Cakeshop case reflect after U.S. Supreme Court ruling “It’s not about being anti-gay”: At Masterpiece Cakeshop, hugs and brownie sales follow landmark Supreme Court ruling Key points from Supreme Court ruling on Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission Rally at Colorado State Capitol calls for “pro-equality” candidates after Supreme Court’s Masterpiece Cakeshop ruling On June 26, 2017, Scardina, a lawyer, filed a complaint with the commission claiming that the cake shop denied her request for a cake — blue on the outside and pink on the inside to represent her transition. A store employee declined the request because the custom cake would have expressed messages about sex and gender identity that conflict with Phillips’ religious beliefs, according to Scardina’s complaint with the Civil Rights Commission. “The woman on the phone did not object to my request for a birthday cake until I told her I was celebrating my transition from male to female,” Scardina wrote in her complaint. “I believe that I was not allowed to order a birthday cake because I requested that its colors celebrate my transition.” Scardina on Wednesday did not return requests to comment. In a June 28 decision letter, the commission wrote that there was probable cause to believe Masterpiece violated a state law by denying Scardina “equal enjoyment of a place of public accommodation.” The letter ordered the bakery and Scardina to attempt an amicable resolution by compulsory mediation, according to Phillips’ legal team. Jim Campbell, another lawyer for Phillips, said in a statement that Phillips shouldn’t have to fear government hostility when he opens his shop for business each day. “We’re asking the court to put a stop to that,” Campbell said. “The arbitrary basis on which the state is applying its law makes clear that its officials are targeting Jack because they despise his religious beliefs and practices.” One Colorado, the state’s largest LGBTQ advocacy organization, said the new lawsuit was one of several filed in an effort to legalize discrimination. “All people — including LGBTQ people — deserve to be served equally in public spaces, and no religious belief gives anyone the right to pick and choose whom they serve and what laws they want to follow,” Daniel Ramos, One Colorado’s executive director, said in a statement. “This is another attempt by the ADF to undermine laws that protect Coloradans in the areas of public accommodations, employment, and housing.” Earlier this year, the state’s civil rights commission became a political flashpoint during the state’s regular legislative session. Some conservative lawmakers attempted to shut down the commission in part because of its role in the Masterpiece cake controversy. Ultimately, Hickenlooper signed a bipartisan compromise that extended the commission through 2027 and changed the makeup of the commission, requiring it be more bipartisan. On Wednesday, the governor denounced discrimination, saying “it’s not what America stands for.” He also stressed that he understood the value of a person’s religion freedom. “This is a difficult question. When you’re talking about people’s religion, it doesn’t matter what religion, it’s one of the most tightly held American freedoms that we have,” he said. “It’s why millions of people fought and lost their lives.”
  • Local sake brewers eager to take advantage as classification changes in Colorado
    With more than 330 craft breweries operating in Colorado, home brewers have a lot of examples to follow if they want to get their beer in front of the drinking public. As local sake brewers can attest, the path has been far cloudier for those trying to bring the traditional Japanese spirit to the masses. Thanks to a law passed by the Colorado General Assembly this spring, the road map gets much clearer Wednesday.  Sake, a rice-based beverage brewed like beer but noncarbonated and higher in alcohol like wine, has been added to the state liquor code as a “vinous liquor.” “As of Aug. 8, sake will be regulated like a wine in the state of Colorado,” state department of revenue spokesman Lawrence Pacheco said. “That means that residents will be able to buy sake in winery sales rooms.” If things go according to plan, Colorado Sake Co. will open the state’s first sake tasting room in Denver’s RiNo district in September. The business, a self-financed operation based in a 1,000-square-foot brew space behind Wine & Whey at 3559 Larimer St., was a major driver behind the law change. Now, it hopes to be at the forefront of a sake wave. “We’ve always loved sake and we wondered why don’t more people drink sake,” Heather Dennis, one of the company’s co-owners said last week as she and her partners worked to stockpile inventory in advance of the new sales rules. “We realized it was an issue with access or lack of access. That’s why we want the tasting room. To introduce and educate people.” Colorado Sake Co.’s origins date back to 2016. That’s when co-founder William Stuart went to an event where he tasted sake made by Denver-based brewer Gaijin 24886. “I said, ‘I can do that,’ ” Stuart recalled. He went home, found a recipe online and kicked his roommates out of the fridge so he could ferment his creation at the requisite 50 degrees. Sake has four ingredients: rice, water, yeast and koji, an Asian culinary ingredient made of steamed rice that has sprouted mold spores. Unlike beer, where yeast is added to malted grain after it cooks to produce alcohol, all the ingredients in sake brew simultaneously in a process called multiple parallel fermentation. Stuart said it took him a year to master making koji. From there, he experimented until developing a sake recipe he was pleased with. In May 2017, he and his partners went to the state to get a limited winery license. They were rejected. “We were told, ‘You’re manufacturing beer and you’re selling wine,'” Stuart said. Because of narrow definitions in the state liquor code, a rule change was needed to include and regulate sake. While it is well-known to consumers —  often served hot, or in the form of a shot dropped into a beer, much to the chagrin of its advocates and aficionados — it is only produced by about 20 brewers in the Unites States today, according advocacy group the Sake Education Council.  Shaban Athuman, The Denver PostHeather Dennis talks to William Stuart in their office on Aug. 2, 2018 at Colorado Sake Company in Denver. On Aug. 8 sake tap rooms will become legal in Colorado. After being denied a license, the Colorado Sake Co. team embarked on a journey through the state lawmaking process that included talking to legislators, dealing with lobbyists and fielding questions from wineries and big-time beer makers, Stuart said. Finally, with the help of primary sponsors state Sen. Lucia Guzman, D-Denver, and Rep. Dan Pabon, D-Denver, the change was signed into law on April 11.  Related ArticlesApril 10, 2018 Two Colorado craft breweries land on list of nation’s 50 fastest growing December 7, 2017 Molson Coors is brewing its next big thing: A tastier nonalcoholic beer August 6, 2018 Guest Commentary: Craft beer is booming but the last beer bust may repeat itself “Ever since the days of Hakushika Sake in Golden, sake has kind of occupied this sort of gray area in the liquor code,” said Doug Caskey, executive director of the Colorado Wine Industry Development Board, an offshoot of the state department of agriculture dedicated to marketing local wine, cider, mead and, now, sake. “It was really great we got this law changed.”  Hakushika Sake USA Corp., a private Japanese company, shut down in 2001, state records show.  Gaijin 24886 lost its space because of the new law, founder and brewer Marc Hughes said. The facility was licensed for beer production, not wine. But Gaijin is focused on the positives. It is working on finding a new location with aims to open a tasting room by next summer. In the meantime, a few varieties of Gaijin can be purchased at Divino Wine & Spirits at 1240 S. Broadway.  “There is a lot of interest in experimentation with different things in town,” Hughes said of sake’s prospects in a crowded Denver liquor market. “It’s just about finding the right way to capture it.” Colorado Sake Co. isn’t being distributed in liquor stores at the moment, but its flagship varieties, American Standard and the cinnamon and vanilla flavored Horchata Nigori, are on tap at Mizu Izakaya in Highland. The restaurant, at 1560 Boulder St., carries at least 50 sakes per season. Colorado Sake Co. is the only American brand it stocks. “I think that it’s just incredible that we are going to have the opportunity to get sake into more and more consumers’ hands,” Mizu beverage director Jerrica Ash said. “My goal is to make sake a spirit that in every restaurant not just in Asian restaurants.”
  • Investigation into 1984 serial murders with hammer in Aurora and Lakewood reaches critical stage, police say
    Authorities have reached a critical stage in the investigation of a string of infamous rapes and murders a few days apart in 1984, including the home-invasion murders of three members of an Aurora family and the bludgeoning of a Lakewood grandmother, Lakewood police say. A joint news conference about the case involving Aurora and Lakewood police and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation is planned for Friday. A killer used a hammer to kill Patricia Louise Smith, 50, in Lakewood on Jan. 10, 1984, and a different hammer to kill Bruce and Debra Bennett and their 7-year-old daughter, Melissa, six days later in Aurora. Only one family member, then-3-year-old Vanessa, survived, but with severe facial injuries. The Colorado Bureau of Investigation previously submitted a DNA profile taken from frozen evidence from Smith’s murder to the FBI’s Combined DNA Index System. A match was found with evidence submitted by Aurora in 2002 from the Bennett case. The killer had sexually assaulted Smith and days later Debra Bennett and her young daughter. On Tuesday morning, The Denver Post received a tip that a DNA match had recently been made between the suspect in the Lakewood and Aurora killings and a prison inmate in Nevada. The tip included the prison booking number and the name of the offender serving a lengthy prison term for attempted murder and use of a deadly weapon. Brooke Santina, spokeswoman for the Nevada Department of Corrections, said she could not comment on any link between the Nevada inmate and the Colorado murder cases. Santina confirmed that an inmate matching the name and prisoner number The Post provided is incarcerated in Nevada and is eligible for parole in 2021. When asked whether authorities had made a DNA match between the specific Nevada inmate and DNA taken from Colorado murder victims, Santina said she had been in contact Tuesday with Arapahoe County authorities and was awaiting their approval before commenting. Denver TV station 9News reported Tuesday that multiple law enforcement sources confirmed that they are looking at a suspect who is being held in another state. Aurora police spokesman Bill Hummel declined to comment Tuesday. The alleged suspect in the case has been convicted of previous crimes, including attempted murder, use of a deadly weapon, burglary and aggravated escape. The description of the Nevada inmate matches some aspects of a genetic snapshot of the 1984 suspect produced by Parabon NanoLabs, a Virginia company that created a profile using DNA predictions of the suspect’s ancestry, eye color, hair color, freckling and face shape. Related Articles Defense for Chris Watts asks for hearing on coroner request to seal autopsies Scott Ostrem sentenced to life in prison for murdering three in 2017 Thornton Walmart shooting Judge orders mental evaluation in Larimer County roadside shooting case Morrison man tells police “I did it” after 61-year-old woman shot dead in their home, documents state Weld County coroner asks judge to keep autopsy reports sealed in Christopher Watts murder case In June 2002, then-Arapahoe County District Attorney Jim Peters obtained a John Doe arrest warrant in the Bennett killings based on the DNA. Peters charged John Doe with 18 counts, including three counts of first-degree murder, two counts of sexual assault, first-degree assault and two counts of sexual assault on a child and burglary. The same killer is believed to have first struck Jan. 4, 1984, when he slipped inside an Aurora home and used a hammer to beat James and Kimberly Haubenschild. James Haubenschild suffered a fractured skull and his wife had a concussion. Both survived. On the same day, a man using a hammer attacked flight attendant Donna Dixon in the garage of her Aurora home, leaving her in a coma. Dixon survived.
  • Tiny home village for homeless thriving in Denver’s RiNo district
    From the start, supporters have hoped Beloved Community Village would help people beyond the 13 residents who moved off Denver’s streets and into its 8-foot-by-12-foot tiny homes last July. The village, 11 homes, a bathhouse, two portable toilets and a circular common building bounded by a brightly decorated chain-link fence at the corner of 38th and Blake streets, was meant to be a pioneer. It’s a pilot project designed to demonstrate tiny homes, arranged in a community where rules are set by the residents themselves,  should be part of the solution to combating homelessness in Denver. It’s had its challenges. Two of the original residents returned to the streets after their neighbors asked them to leave for violating village rules. The village had to move about 200 feet in January — from one side of its lot to the other — at a cost of $25,000 because of now-changed city rules governing temporary residential structures. The city chipped in $10,000. But Beloved has persevered. A year after opening, supporters are touting the results of a University of Denver study of the village as proof it is improving lives, both for its residents who were chronically homeless and in the surrounding community. “Unfortunately, the residents here have had to be the guinea pigs, but they have helped us sort out some of the issues that will help improve the model as we scale into the future,” Cole Chandler, a member of the Colorado Village Collaborative, said. “We intend to see dozens of these villages across the metro area.” The study assessed the village from its opening on July 21, 2017, through April. Among the key findings: Of the 12 original village residents who participated in the study — one person declined — 10 remained housed through April. It goes beyond the scope of the study, but those 10 people are still in stable housing today, Chandler said, Three residents moved out of the village into housing of their own. Two of them, a couple, saved up for their own apartment, Chandler said. A third person was approved for Section 8 rental assistance. And all villagers — nine of whom were already working when they moved in — were either employed, in school or collecting disability, as of April. That fact also holds true today. To read the full findings of the study, visit There were 5,317 people experiencing homelessness in Denver and seven surrounding counties in January, according to a point-in-time report compiled by the Metro Denver Homeless Initiative. For Chandler, whose organization was created to help establish and support tiny home villages in Denver, the study demonstrates that more communities like Beloved should be built in the metro area and soon. “The idea was to build low-barrier housing for people with barriers to accessing the existing system” he said, noting each tiny home cost $22,000 to build. “With traditional housing-first scenarios, there are a lot of overhead costs with all of the support systems that they create, which are very helpful for a large portion of the population. We can do things at a lower cost.” AAron Ontiveroz, The Denver PostNew construction rises behind a row of tiny homes in the Beloved Community Village on Tuesday, July 24, 2018. The study was performed by the DU’s Burns Center on Poverty and Homelessness. It was commissioned by the Barton Institute for Philanthropy and Social Enterprise, also a part of DU. The institute has invested a combined $91,725in building and assessing the Beloved village and a proposed second village that Chandler’s group is seeking to build in Denver, director Rebecca Arno said. Arno suspects the village’s self-governing model, with residents setting guidelines for behavior and other aspects of community life, has empowered the people living there. Cersilla Wolf, one of the village’s charter members, has enrolled in college classes, opened an shop selling her own crocheted wares and began working at nearby Bigsby’s Folly Winery & Restaurant in RiNo, which reached out to the Colorado Village Collaborative about hiring a villager. Wolf also has taken on the mantle of resident finder. She built a second, lofted bed into her home and brought in two other people struggling to find stable housing to live with her. Freddie Martin has been Wolf’s roommate since March after meeting her on the Metro State University campus. A history major who takes notes during village meetings to “create a historical record,” Martin said he hasn’t had a secure home in about a decade. He’s paid rent to live with friends but hasn’t been able to raise the money — including a security deposit and first and last month’s rent — to move out on his own. Now housed, he hopes to finish his degree in the fall. “This place has been a godsend,” Martin said. AAron Ontiveroz, The Denver PostKim Grier speaks about her road to Beloved Community Village on Tuesday, July 24, 2018. Beloved Community Village –the collection of 11 tiny homes built to accommodate chronically homeless people and get them on the path to permanent housing — is about a year old. A recent DU study shows that it is not having a negative impact on the surrounding community, and is helping most residents build more stable lives. Wolf’s first roommate, Kim Grier, lives next door now. The 27-year-old is trying to get a photography business off the ground while working at King Soopers. “When I got this house, this was the first place I ever had to live that wasn’t dependent on my emotional relationship with another person,” she said. “It’s a place that’s yours, where you can think.” Related ArticlesJuly 29, 2017 Formerly homeless residents move into crowdfunded tiny home community as city monitors pilot project March 19, 2018 Denver sold bonds to reduce the human and financial costs of homelessness. The results so far are promising. October 30, 2017 Denver initiative to move chronically homeless people into housing shows “promising” early results The DU study also examined the village’s impact on the surrounding neighborhood. Combining responses from a random sampling of nearby residents and a selective sampling of business owners, researchers found 78 percent of people in the area believe the village either didn’t hurt community safety or helped it — a perception supported by crime data. “Even the people who at the beginning of this process told me this will never work, this will be a disaster, have come back and said, ‘Wow, were we wrong,’ ” said RiNo Art District president Jamie Giellis. “It’s been awesome.” The Village won’t be behind its colorful fence at 38th and Blake much longer. Chandler said an agreement is in place with a new property owner host, but he’s not ready to say where until more community outreach can be done. Colorado Village Collaborative hopes to raise $90,000 for a new commons building for the village when it does move, one with running water, three bathrooms and a full kitchen. Urban Land Conservancy, the nonprofit that owns the land Beloved sits on today, is moving forward with plans to develop the lot. The Walnut Street side will be turned into 66 affordable apartments in partnership with Medici Communities, conservancy president Aaron Miripol said. The Blake Street half will be sold to local developer McWhinney, which expects  to build a 16-story mixed-use building that will also house Urban Land Conservancy’s office. Colorado Village Collaborative was dealt a setback this month when Denver’s Landmark Preservation Commission voted that it could not proceed with building an eight-home women’s village on the property of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church at 2015 Glenarm Place because it didn’t fit with the surrounding historic district. The vote was a temporary setback in Chandler’s view. He plans to meet next week with another property owner who he says has offered to host the women’s village for three years. He hopes to get it built before winter. Miripol, who has been involved with efforts to provide stable housing for people in need for decades, said he has been frustrated by the barriers that have cropped up and prevented the tiny home concept from growing in Denver and beyond. He hopes the results of the DU study will help turn the tide. “You can have a successful community like this. You can have an impact on people’s lives and you can do it in a way that is not harming the community, but in fact is very positive,” he said. “It’s important other folks step up and do this too.”
  • Overburdened sewer system prompts Westminster City Council to ban new development for 12 months
    A Westminster sewage collection network in so overtaxed and outdated, the City Council has enacted a year-long moratorium on new development that would feed into it. The health and well-being of city residents is believed to be at stake. The 22-mile-long Big Dry Creek Interceptor Sewer system collects sewage and wastewater from about two-thirds of the city of more than 110,000 people. It serves nearly all of Westminster north of West 92nd Avenue and south of 124th Avenue. After being briefed about the sewer’s capacity, age and condition issues last week, the City Council on Monday night unanimously adopted an emergency ordinance that freezes acceptance of new, large-scale development proposals in the area served by the Big Dry Creek network for up to a year. “The (sewer) system is now at a trigger point of risk that warrants both near-term mitigation measures, as well as longer-term expansion to support continued development,” a staff memo recommending the emergency ordinance read.  “Not addressing these system constraints is believed to compromise the health, safety, and welfare of the community with a level of risk that is not acceptable.” The moratorium, which went into effect at noon on Tuesday, is designed to allow a consultant to inspect the sewer, collecting information that will be put to use in a project to fix, expand and replace portions of it, according to a city memo. City staff are expected to work simultaneously to pinpoint spots for where incremental or innovative fixes could be employed and make plans for easements and land acquisitions that might be required by future repair and replace projects. One idea floated at Monday’s meeting was reactivating decommissioned sewer lines in the area to help with capacity. The Big Dry Creek system was first assessed in 2012, then again in 2015, according to the city staff. Those studies found “several segments” of the system were nearing the end of their lifespan or were not large enough to handle all of development and growth in the city. The city made plans to overhaul the system starting in 2019  director of public works and utilities Max Kirschbaum said Monday. But an assessment done earlier this year — when factoring in projects in the city’s pipeline and flows those could contribute to the sewer system — painted a dire picture. Kirschbaum said the system is already running the risk of a sanitary sewer overflow, an event where raw sewage escapes from a sanitary sewer. Westminster’s sewer flows have increased by 40 percent since 2008, city officials said. The Big Dry System was dates back to the 1970s, before the city went through several waves of population growth. Related Articles Some breweries are making point to cater to kids – much to the delight of parents In era of online shopping, does Boulder’s retail-saving strategy make sense? Google Pixel 3 aims to automate more daily tasks Home sales slid across Colorado in September Even tech execs fret about their kids’ smartphone addictions The moratorium applies to new development applications that would increase flows into the Big Dry Creek network. Home renovations or projects that will not add to the sewage flows will not be subject to the freeze, officials said. Applications and pre-applications submitted prior to the moratorium taking effect will be honored. But developers who fail to follow up a pre-application meeting with more complete planning documents within six months will see their projects expire, according to the city. Even if a developer has city approval to move forward with plans, they may not be given access to the sewer system. Westminster’s municipal code dictates wastewater service commitments do not take hold until a building permit is pulled. That means builders in the affected area who goes in for building permits may be told the sewer network does not have the capacity to serve their projects. Access to the sewer system will be assessed and awarded on a first-come, first-served basis to ensure fairness, city officials say. Jenni Grafton, the city’s acting economic development director, estimated there are between 30 and 40 projects in the affected area that could be in line to pull permits. Some of the city’s premier mixed-used neighborhoods and shopping areas will not be impacted by the development freeze. The Downtown Westminster project, rising where the Westminster Mall once stood, and the Westminster Station transit-oriented development going up around the city’s B-Line train stop, are served by a separate sewer network. The same is true for its north Interstate 25 and Huron Street business district. Those areas include the St. Antony North Health Campus and the Orchard Town Center shopping area.  Several developers that have projects on tap in Westminster came to Monday’s meeting to urge the council to move along their projects. Council members sought to assuage fears. Councilwoman Shannon Bird said, “We are not closed for business.” The city will lift the moratorium before 12 months if possible, but its sewer contractor is expected to need nine months to assess the system. Mayor Herb Atchison preached patience. “We need to get the study done first,” he said. “How big is (the problem) and how long do we think it will take us to fix it? That’s not going to happen in 12 months.”  It is unclear how much it might cost Westminster to address the emergency, but city staff did say where they expect much of the money to come from: sewer rate hikes and municipal debt.
Technology news, startups, reviews, devices, internet | The Denver Post
  • Google Pixel 3 aims to automate more daily tasks
    NEW YORK — There’s not much about the physical details of Google’s new Pixel 3 phone that you can’t find elsewhere. That bigger display and curved design? Apple and Samsung phones already have that. But the Pixel doesn’t intend to wow people with its hardware anyway. It’s really a showcase for Google’s latest advances in software, particularly in artificial intelligence. Google wants to help you manage daily life, from screening unwanted phone calls to predicting what you’ll type. The software underscores how Google is tapping its strengths in personalization — and perhaps make money through ads in the process. You get free services in exchange for letting Google deeper into your life. The Pixel isn’t likely to work for anyone uncomfortable with that trade-off. As impressive as Google’s ambitions are, though, AI is still new at the job of saving us from meaningless tasks. That may not come until an eventual Pixel 9 or Pixel 13. The Pixel 3, out Thursday starting at about $800, is for those who can’t wait. Call screening No doubt you’ve gotten an automated call from a telemarketer pitching lower interest rates or vacation shares. Google now lets you fight back with an automated response. When a mystery call comes in, just hit “Screen call.” Google’s voice assistant takes over and asks for a name and purpose of the call. Transcribed responses appear in real time, so you can decide whether to pick up. You can even request more information by tapping buttons such as “Tell me more.” It’s a good concept, though it’s not clear that it really saves time. You still need to follow the voice assistant’s chatter; taking the call and hanging up would often be faster. Perhaps Google’s assistant could one day handle all that for you without even ringing the phone, then decide based on the response whether to interrupt your game of “Fortnite.” But legitimate callers would still find this annoying. It didn’t help that I kept tapping “I can’t understand,” forcing friends to repeat themselves over and over to a robot. Related Articles Colorado’s “Strong Arm” law firm suing another web giant — this time it’s Google Even tech execs fret about their kids’ smartphone addictions Colorado’s largest esports arena to open next month in Lakewood Colorado utilities turning on to battery power, thanks to dropping prices, advances in technology Colorado town approves $8M to build fiber optic network Text recognition Point the camera at a business card, flyer or other printed text, and Google will try to extract phone numbers and addresses. It also works with QR and bar codes. If this sounds familiar, it’s because it is. Last year’s Pixel phones had this Google Lens feature, while Samsung has a similar feature called Bixby Vision. The difference: Before, you had to tap something to activate a feature. Now, it’s automatic. The feature is most useful if you have a business card or flyer handy when you’re ready to make a call, visit a website or get directions through Google Maps. You still need a few extra taps to add the information to your contact list. Then there’s the task of tagging which is number is for home, work or cell, and what context you met that person in. That much management might incline you to let those piles of business cards keep stacking up. A smart stand-in Place the phone on an optional $79 Pixel Stand charging station, and it can display a rotating set of images from an album you choose. Or you can trust Google to select the best shots. Soon, you’ll be able to let Google’s facial-recognition technology just pick out photos of your family, including new shots as you take them (though not in the European Union, where privacy regulations are tighter.) The photo display will take you down memory lane, as images from past trips, weddings and family events come up. (If only Google was smart enough to remove the party shots never meant for public, sober viewing.) The stand works well as a bedside companion. Before bed, it offers to set your alarm. In the morning, one tap gets you the weather, upcoming calendar events and details about traffic on your commute. It’s not perfect, though: Google still hasn’t figured out that I don’t own a car and have no use for driving directions. Or that I don’t need commute information on weekends. Smart snapping Just smile or make a funny face for the selfie camera to automatically take the shot. For regular photos, Google captures extra shots as alternatives, in case someone blinks or blocks the view, though Google’s recommendations aren’t always spot on, as even humans can disagree on what looks best. The camera also uses software to combine multiple versions of images, essentially filling in some gaps so that zoomed-in shots come out sharper than they normally would. It starts to cross the line of digital manipulation, but pictures do look nice. It’s still no replacement from a real zoom, which the latest Apple and Samsung phones offer via a second lens. Google turns to software to make up for what it lacks in hardware. A note on privacy Google executives emphasize that much of the AI analysis is taking place on the phone, not Google’s servers. When screening calls, for instance, all interactions stay private unless you report the number as spam, in which case it gets added to Google’s database as a warning to others. The basic text recognition for the Google Lens feature and the camera’s image processing also are done on the device. But more advanced Google Lens features, such as recognizing museum paintings, require sending data to Google’s servers. So do most of the requests you make on the Pixel stand.
  • Colorado’s “Strong Arm” law firm suing another web giant — this time it’s Google
    The Colorado law firm that is taking on Facebook over a data breach that affected millions of users is taking aim at another internet giant — Google Plus. Franklin D. Azar & Associates, which advertises as “The Strong Arm,” filed a lawsuit this week in U.S. District Court of the Northern District of California over a breach that potentially exposed the personal information of hundreds of thousands of users. The firm, which is seeking class-action status for the lawsuit, claims Google knew for months about a software glitch in its social network Google Plus that exposed the data before making a public announcement Oct. 8. In a blog post, Google said the data leak potentially affected up to 500,000 users and that “up to 438 applications may have used this API,” or application programming interface.  The company said it found no evidence that any developers were aware of the glitch or that any information was were misused. However, the lawsuit by Azar & Associates says Google’s records are insufficient to confirm whether any misuse occurred. The data breach has caused significant harm to the two Colorado residents listed as plaintiffs and others by allowing third parties to access their personal information without their consent, the lawsuit says. “Google has been on notice of deficiencies regarding its policies involving the retention of user data since 2010” and agreed to a proposed settlement in March 2011 after that contained a consent decree with the Federal Trade Commission, according to the lawsuit. Google plans to shut down the social network. The lawsuit says the data breach violated laws in Colorado and California, where Google is based, regarding invasion of privacy, unfair business practices and breach of contract. The firm is seeking unspecified damages. Related Articles Google Pixel 3 aims to automate more daily tasks Even tech execs fret about their kids’ smartphone addictions Facebook hopes Quest widens virtual reality’s appeal Iron Ox thinks robots are farmers of the future Colorado commuters can get discounted or free rides as Google’s Waze carpool service goes national The claims are similar to those made by Azar & Associates in a lawsuit filed Oct. 11 against Facebook for a recent breach of its system that potentially exposed the personal information of about 30 million users. Facebook has said hackers exploited a vulnerability in its “View As” feature, which lets people see what their own profile looks like to someone else. Attackers were able to steal Facebook access tokens, the equivalent of digital keys that keep people logged on so they don’t have to re-enter their Facebook password. Both Facebook and Google have come under fire from Congress, which recently summoned social-media executives to testify about breaches of personal information.
  • Even tech execs fret about their kids’ smartphone addictions
    SAN FRANCISCO — Like a lot of parents, Mike Herrick occasionally sees his 13-year-old daughter getting lost in her smartphone and wonders: Is technology messing with children’s brains, even as it enlightens and empowers them in ways that weren’t possible when his generation grew up? What sets Herrick apart is his job. He is a product and engineering executive at Urban Airship, a company in Portland, Ore., that makes online tools that send the kind of relentless notifications that can make people act like bears near a honey pot. The tensions between the pride Herrick takes in his profession and his parental qualms about technology tug particularly hard when he sees his daughter, Lauren, and her friends texting each other instead of talking — when they’re sitting 5 feet apart. Or when he hears a friend jokingly describe him as a “mobile arms dealer.” In those instances, Herrick worries that technology may be having a corrosive effect on society, even though he feels no regrets about his job because he unequivocally believes that Urban Airship’s tools are a net benefit to people. “You can’t help but feel the juxtaposition,” said Herrick, 44. “The power of this age we live in is that it has given everyone access to all this information and the ability to stay connected to people, but how do we manage it better?” It’s a question besetting other technology executives, too. Many say they’re trying to reconcile their fulfillment from working in a financially rewarding industry that they say has made life more efficient, enjoyable and affordable for people with their misgivings as parents about the addictiveness of devices and social media that now define much of daily life. Technology “can be like opening your refrigerator door when you are hungry and just staring into the abyss,” said Keith Messick, chief marketing officer for Dialpad, a specialist in phone systems that incorporate voice controls and other artificial intelligence. “That’s when I recoil just a little bit.” He is especially troubled when he sees his own 13-year-old son mindlessly thumb at his screen. Messick also worries that the ease of texting and posting on social media is turning kids into poor communicators who write things they’d never say in person or in a phone conversation — on the rare occasion when they use their devices to make a call. Urban Airship product and engineering executive Mike Herrick poses at his office in Portland, Ore. The tensions between the pride Herrick takes in his profession and his parental qualms about technology tug hard when he sees his daughter, Lauren, and her friends texting each other instead of talking when they’re sitting 5 feet apart. Don Ryan, The Associated Press “This is the world we live in,” Messick said. He says he still believes that technology’s “positives far outweigh the negatives.” Most parents have similarly mixed feelings about technology, whether or not they work in the industry. About two-thirds of U.S. parents worry that their teenage children spend too much time immersed in a screen, according to a survey released in late August by the Pew Research Center. Nearly three-fourths of parents said they thought their teenagers were sometimes distracted by their phones during conversations with them. Yet 86 percent of the parents say they’re very or somewhat confident that they have determined an appropriate amount of screen time for their teens. Slightly more than one-third of parents acknowledged spending too much time on their phones themselves, the survey said. Related Articles Some breweries are making point to cater to kids – much to the delight of parents In era of online shopping, does Boulder’s retail-saving strategy make sense? Google Pixel 3 aims to automate more daily tasks Home sales slid across Colorado in September Colorado unemployment rate up slightly, moving closer to national average The concerns about children’s rising dependence on technology extend beyond parents. They sometimes also vex other relatives, such as aunts and uncles. One of them is Apple CEO Tim Cook, who revealed in a public appearance this year that he tries to keep his nephew off social networks. Apple is trying to address some of the problems it helped create with the 2007 introduction of the iPhone by offering more features for parents to monitor and control how much time they and their kids spend on the devices. The new tools, part of the latest version of an iPhone operating system released last month, can even be deployed to keep kids off distracting apps such Facebook, Snap and Instagram completely — or just at certain times of day. Google included similar controls in its latest version of the Android operating system, which powers most of the world’s smartphones. Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom thinks that is a good idea. He is already vowing to limit his now-10-month-old daughter’s eventual exposure to devices and social media as she grows up. At the same time, Systrom, 34, is hoping his daughter will embrace technology as he did when he began using computers and surfing the internet as a boy. He credits his own early fascination with technology for inspiring him to create Instagram — an app with more than 1 billion users whose success has rewarded him with an estimated personal fortune of $1.5 billion. “Obviously, like anything — whether it’s food, or drink — moderation is key,” Systrom said. “I think we are in a world where we have to develop opinions on what that moderation is and how to do it.” Brian Peterson, Dialpad’s co-founder and vice president of engineering, loves his job and technology, too — so much so that gave both his daughters iPads around the time they were 2. It seemed fine at first, because they were using the tablets on instructional apps that helped them learn things such as playing a virtual piano. But then he started to notice that the girls, who are now 6 and 4, seemed to be spending most of their iPad time watching YouTube videos of other kids playing with toys or doing something else that he and their mother wished they weren’t. “That is when we had our freak-out moment and said, ‘Hold on a moment, no more of this drug,’ ” Peterson said. Now, he has decided to hold off on getting his daughters smartphones until they reach middle-school age — or, even better, as presents when they graduate from high school and are ready to head off to college. “I am just praying by the time that my kids really need a smartphone, they have really good parental controls,” Peterson said.
  • Colorado’s largest esports arena to open next month in Lakewood
    Gamers, ready? Fire up the controllers and flat screens. Localhost Arena opens in Lakewood in November to house esports and gaming — a global industry valued at more than $900 million, according to a Newzoo Global Esports Market Report. Philadelphia-based N3rd Street Gamers — an amateur esports pipeline — will occupy the 18,000 square-foot space at 1882 S. Wadsworth Blvd., next door to Slammers Bingo. The company aims to attract marquee names in the esports world to the Rocky Mountain region and provide a community setting for casual and competitive gamers. Efforts from the Denver esports community enticed N3rd Street Gamers to expand to Colorado. Localhost Arena Hours of operation:  Noon-2 a.m., Wednesday-Sunday Announcement video: Localhost Denver Twitter: @localhostdenver Facebook: N3rd Street Gamers, LocalhostDenver Website: “Denver is close to my heart as a place I have traveled to annually for decades,” said John Fazio, founder and CEO of N3rd Street Gamers. “More importantly, it is a strategic location that provides access to one of the country’s strongest and oldest gaming communities.” The universities of Colorado, Colorado State, Northern Colorado, Colorado Mesa and Colorado College have esports clubs. UNC competes in four games throughout the collegiate scene: League of Legends, Overwatch, Counter Strike and Rocket League. “As a competitive program, we strive to become the best collegiate gamers in the nation. As a casual program we aim to create a social structure for gamers of all kinds,” UNC’s campus recreation web page reads. Esports’ popularity has grown to the extent that ESPN signed a multi-year deal in July for TV rights to the Overwatch Esports League and broadcast its playoffs and finals on ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 and Disney XD. It was the first time esports aired on ABC and a first for ESPN to place the event in primetime. “The Overwatch League Grand Finals is by far our most comprehensive television distribution for an esports event over a single weekend,” Disney and ESPN Executive Vice President Justin Connolly said in a statement. Last year 60 million people worldwide watched the “League of Legends” championships — nearly 40 million more than the 2017 NBA Finals’ five-game average. Esports also reached the Olympics radar. The International Olympic Committee held a forum in July to discuss its inclusion in the Games. The IOC added skateboarding, surfing and sports climbing to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. As for Localhost Arena in Lakewood, the space that holds about 1,000 people will feature 120 custom-built gaming PCs equipped with i7-8700K processors, GTX 1080 graphics cards and 240Hz BenQ monitors. Console gamers can choose among Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch. And the best part: full gigabit internet fiber connection. “It’ll be a go-to location for competition, casual gaming, live events and local meet-ups,” said James Love, director of communications for N3rd Street Gamers. A full-service bar and lounge and a permanent 60-foot long event stage will allow the arena to host esports-related events and tournaments nearly every weekend. Pricing is $3 an hour, $20 day passes, monthly membership passes, and periodic discounts and perks. Some esports events will charge an entrance fee. Work on the space is ongoing so the hard open date in November is to be determined. “Localhost Arena will be our largest and most advanced facility,” Fazio said. “And we are excited to push forward innovation in our industry while being a home to developing esports athletes in Colorado.”
  • Colorado utilities turning on to battery power, thanks to dropping prices, advances in technology
    For longtime proponents of renewable energy, figuring out how to keep the lights on when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine has been a key challenge. Harnessing the excess energy from a turbine or solar panel to use later was the “holy grail” or “golden key,” as one Colorado utility executive calls it. Times have changed. Xcel Energy-Colorado, the state’s largest electric utility, will add a total of 275 megawatts of large-scale battery storage to solar arrays in its newly approved Colorado Energy Plan. The three separate clusters of batteries — two near Pueblo, one near Commerce City — are part of Xcel Energy’s overall push to increase its use of renewable energy sources to 55 percent by 2026 and cut carbon dioxide emissions by nearly 60 percent. The storage projects, among some of the largest in the country, are scheduled to go live in December 2022. “Building a 200- to 300-megawatt project, that’s real stuff. That’s a real deal,” said Paul Denholm, a principal analyst at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden. And the pace and extent of the changes that have made it possible for utilities like Xcel Energy and United Power, a Brighton-based electric cooperative, to start using batteries has surprised even industry experts. “It’s big. We used to talk about individual battery installation,” Denholm said. “Ten years ago, we weren’t talking about (large-scale projects) at all.” As with solar and wind power, faster-than-expected declines in prices and advances in technology have produced results sooner than anticipated. “We saw some extremely competitive pricing for these projects, frankly,” Jonathan Adelman, Xcel Energy’s vice president of strategic resources and business planning, said of the battery facilities. Outside contractors will install and operate the solar and battery projects. The cost of large-scale battery storage installations has dropped more than 70 percent since 2010, according to the Energy Storage Association, an advocacy and trade organization. “Costs of grid battery storage are half of what they were four years ago, and in another five to six years, costs will be half of what they are now,” Marissa Gillett of the association said in an email. At end the of 2017, storage projects with a total capacity of 800 megawatts were in place nationwide. The technology of stationary storage batteries has benefited from advances in automotive batteries, Denholm said. “Cell phones and other consumer electronics have driven the scale of the lithium-ion battery market. Electric vehicles are riding the wave, and grid batteries are the next in line. So, we have our device addiction to thank for how cheap the batteries are today,” said Mark Dyson, a principal at the Rocky Mountain Institute, a research organization that focuses on making the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy. When Xcel Energy installs the full 275 megawatts of storage, the batteries will help it meet about 5 percent of its peak hourly load on a summer day, when demand is typically the highest, according to the utility. Until Xcel Energy’s new plan is fully implemented, United Power might have bragging rights for the largest lithium battery in Colorado. The electric cooperative, whose territory forms a kind of horseshoe around Denver to the north, is working with Chicago-based SoCore Energy to install a module of batteries manufactured by Tesla at a substation east of Longmont. The facility will have a capacity of 4 megawatts. Construction at the 7,000-square-foot site is expected to be completed next week and the facility should be up and running in early November. “Storage is almost considered like the golden key” to expanding  the use of renewable energy, said Jerry Marizza, the cooperative’s new business director. However, United Power is not pairing the battery with a solar or wind facility. It will store energy generated by all sources overnight, when demand is low, and discharge the energy when demand is high, typically in the afternoon to early evening. And United Power doesn’t plan to use the battery every day. In fact, Marizza expects to rev it up fewer than a hundred days a year. AAron Ontiveroz, The Denver PostUnited Power is installing Tesla batteries at their battery station near Longmont on Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2018. Related Articles Concern about costs, push for more renewables fuels utility’s possible exit from Tri-State Black Hills Energy launches two solar projects in southeastern Colorado Englewood-based Westmoreland Coal files for bankruptcy Sponsored: Green Homes Tour of 12 homes from Denver to Golden aims to reduce fossil fuel use Guest Commentary: Work to save the climate took a big step forward in Colorado — without a march “The primary business case for this is peak shaving — lower our peak demand on hot summer days, really any time,” Marizza said. The battery, which would run for up to four hours, will help United Power offset roughly the equivalent of power for 600 to 700 homes. United Power expects the facility to save about $1 million a year by storing energy that otherwise couldn’t be used, allowing the utility to cover the project’s cost in seven to eight years. United Power is fielding questions from other rural electric associations in the state and beyond as it gets ready to start using the battery, Marizza said. The utility was in a similar situation when it started a community solar program, which allows customers to pay for a solar panel in a central array in exchange for credit on their bills. “As a utility, we have to keep our hands in the mix,” Marizza said.
  • Colorado town approves $8M to build fiber optic network
    BRECKENRIDGE, Colo. — The town of Breckenridge is set to become one of the first mountain resort communities with a town-owned fiber optic network. The Summit Daily News reports the Breckenridge Town Council has approved spending $8 million for the network. Fiber optic cables operate on light signals rather than the electronic impulses carried by traditional wire-based communications, allowing fiber optics to produce much higher transmission speeds and bandwidths than their copper-wire counterparts. Local officials say the $8 million investment will help cover design and construction costs for the network designed to provide new opportunities for high-speed internet service, better cellular service and coverage, public Wi-Fi assets, real-time water metering and more. Related Articles Google Pixel 3 aims to automate more daily tasks Colorado’s “Strong Arm” law firm suing another web giant — this time it’s Google Even tech execs fret about their kids’ smartphone addictions Ask Amy: New mom feels no love for her firstborn Denver tech firm SendGrid accepts $2 billion buyout offer ___ Information from: Summit Daily News,
  • Proposition 112: Dissecting the science behind the oil and gas setbacks initiative
    “The OEHHA chronic benzene REL considers several studies published after USEPA’s 2002 benzene assessment, which found increased efficiency of benzene metabolism at low doses, decreased peripheral blood cell counts at low doses (800−1860 μg/m3)…” It takes another 20 words — with terms like “metabolic enzymes” and “benzene detoxification” — to close out this sentence from a recent University of Colorado study that looked at the potential health impacts of Front Range oil and gas operations. Thousands of equally abstruse passages fill hundreds of other studies from around the world examining the effects of drilling and hydraulic fracturing on human health. Welcome to the science behind Proposition 112, the oil and gas setbacks measure that will likely be among the most complex ballot issues to ever go before Colorado voters. The initiative aims to increase the required distance of any newly drilled wells from homes, schools and water sources to 2,500 feet. The current setback is 500 feet from homes and 1,000 feet from densely occupied buildings, like hospitals and schools. Opponents say the measure will block off so much acreage to drill rigs — it’s estimated that 85 percent of non-federal land in Colorado would be off-limits — that the $31 billion industry in Colorado would virtually collapse. Backers of 112 say without bigger buffers, Coloradans will continue to be exposed to noxious emissions from well sites, like toluene, formaldehyde, xylene, and cancer-causing benzene, to say nothing of the environmental harm from potent greenhouse gases, like methane. What is the average voter supposed to do with the reams of data, some in conflict with one another, in deciding whether Proposition 112 is critical to public health or ruinous to Colorado’s economy? “It’s hard when we ask voters to vote on technical issues like this,” said Tanya Heikkila, a professor at CU Denver’s School of Public Affairs who focuses on environmental policy, management and law. She said few voters have the time, patience or expertise to navigate through the copious scientific research that has been done on energy extraction. As such, she said, they’ll likely turn to the people they know for advice on which box to check on the ballot — their friends, their neighbors, their doctor. “I don’t think people’s decision on this will come down to what the science says — it will come down to who they trust,” Heikkila said. It’s also likely, she said, that voters will employ “motivated reasoning” or be swayed by “confirmation bias” to make their choice on Proposition 112. “Cognitive research has shown that when people are emotionally attached to an issue, it’s easier to reason away or dismiss the information that contradicts those beliefs — or conversely use information that supports their beliefs to confirm those beliefs,” Heikkila said. Arguments from each camp are compelling, she said, and voters may find virtue on both sides of the issue. “No one wants to be exposed to carcinogens, to noise, to (truck) traffic,” she said. “At the same time, when people say 112 is going to cost them their jobs and ruin the tax base, that resonates too.” “Something is happening here” Anne Lee Foster, who is with the pro-112 group Colorado Rising, knows she can’t fight the oil and gas industry on the financial front. As of the most recent reporting period from late September, the anti-112 group Protect Colorado had dropped just over $20 million on its battle against the measure, while Colorado Rising had spent less than $650,000. Foster hopes science speaks louder than cash. She and her allies point to a compendium of studies — now numbering more than 1,300 — that are assembled and updated on the Physicians for Social Responsibility website. The studies have examined one aspect or another of fracking’s harms and risks, pointing out connections to cancer, low birth-weight babies, asthma, headaches and bloody noses for families living near oil and gas wells. Fracking involves injecting at high pressure a mixture of water, sand and chemicals into a well to fracture rock and allow minerals trapped underground to flow back out. An assortment of toxic and combustible gases and compounds often rise to the surface as well. Joe Amon, The Denver PostA worker inspects a drill pipe at the Precision Drilling rig 462 on the Lincoln Pad west of Windsor last week. The danger of oil and gas activity close to neighborhoods was thrown into stark relief last year, when a leaking flowline filled the basement of a home in Firestone with gas. The gas ignited and exploded, killing two men and injuring a woman. Scrutiny of Colorado’s oil and gas sector has picked up in the last few years as production has ramped up, much of it near fast-growing communities north of Denver. The state produced 132 million barrels of oil last year — four times its 2010 volume. There were more than 55,000 producing wells in Colorado as of the end of 2017, according to the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, with nearly half located in Weld County. The COGCC has received more than 2,200 complaints from residents between January 2015 and May of this year regarding oil and gas activity, ranging from odor to air quality to noise to flaring. “Something is happening here,” Foster said. “This is about health and safety — this is about keeping an explosive industry away from our homes and keeping benzene away from our playgrounds and children.” But exactly what the health hazards are — and more specifically what distance from wells is required to avoid them — is the confounding question at the heart of Proposition 112. “No bright line” In April, the former head of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment criticized a CU study that found that those living just outside the 500-foot oil and gas buffer faced an increased risk of developing cancer. Then-CDPHE Executive Director Dr. Larry Wolk said the study’s data conflicted with the state’s own monitoring, which hasn’t detected worrying levels of benzene or other chemicals. He called for further study. John Adgate, a professor in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health at the Colorado School of Public Health, said one of the big challenges in the field is trying to pinpoint the source of pollution. How much is the oil and gas industry to blame, as opposed to other sources like highways or emissions from industrial activity wafting in from other states, he asked. Add in topography, weather conditions, the size of the well pad, and people’s lifestyles and genetic predispositions — and determining an optimum setback distance that protects public health is a tough call. “There is no bright line between safe and unsafe,” Adgate said. “It’s hard to do the causal attribution the public would like to see.” Even the CDPHE, which released a report in 2017 that found “the risk of harmful health effects is low for residents living near oil and gas operations,” noted there is a need for more research. The agency analyzed 10,000 air samples for 62 substances associated with oil and gas activity and estimated that for those living just outside a 500-foot buffer from a well pad, exposure to those substances was in a safe range. However, the agency suggested levels of hazardous benzene, formaldehyde and acetaldehyde “are a high priority for continued monitoring.” “We couldn’t conclusively say there were no problems from the existing data, but we didn’t find anything that was elevated risk from that data,” said Tami McMullin, state toxicologist with CDPHE. Colorado Oil and Gas Association President and CEO Dan Haley criticizes the proposed 2,500-foot setback as arbitrary and unscientific. “I have seen no credible science that indicates that the current setback distances need to be increased,” he said. The fact that Proposition 112 would place so much of Colorado’s land surface off limits to new drilling, Haley said, means companies would likely pick up and leave the state. The Colorado Legislative Council calculated that a 2,500-foot buffer would designate 450 acres surrounding a protected point as a no-drill zone; under a 500-foot setback, 18 acres is off-limits. A study from a local business consortium that 112 opponents often cite calculated that the greater setback would jettison up to 147,800 jobs in Colorado by 2030 and slash state and local tax revenues from oil and gas activity by up to $258 million in 2019 alone. Both candidates for governor have come out against Proposition 112, as has Gov. John Hickenlooper. “We can have a healthy economy and a healthy environment,” Haley said. “We can and we do.” The precautionary principle But if there’s even a modicum of doubt about how volatile organic compounds and other pollutants associated with fracking are affecting people living nearby, why not err on the side of safety? That’s the question that Sandra Steingraber, a biologist with the Concerned Health Professionals of New York, asks. “The science of public health errs on the side of protecting people,” Steingraber said. “It comes down to how you want to look at uncertainty and the burden of proof.” The precautionary principle was invoked by Howard A. Zucker, acting state health commissioner for New York, when that state banned fracking five years ago. “We cannot afford to make a mistake,” Zucker said in December 2014, as reported by The New York Times. “The potential risks are too great. In fact, they are not even fully known.” Steingraber said the resistance to larger setbacks for oil and gas wells reminds her of the early opposition that was mounted by industry when it came to acknowledging the hazards of lead paint or secondhand smoke. Related Articles Colorado’s economy vs. residents’ health? Sides battle over what’s at stake with oil and gas well setbacks Colorado oil and gas ballot initiative would bar extraction on more than 80 percent of non-federal land, state regulators say Colorado oil production rises as prices rebound Does living near an oil and gas well increase your risk of cancer? A new Colorado study says yes. A dozen fires and explosions at Colorado oil and gas facilities in 8 months since fatal blast in Firestone West Greeley gas leak forces evacuation of football stadium during prep game Colorado Health Department finds little evidence of health harms from living near oil and gas sites State cites Crestone Peak Resources for improperly plugging oil and gas wells near elementary school Colorado health officials mull tougher rule for oil and gas facilities to cut smog Colorado, failing to meet smog standard, faces tougher limit As it stands, the science — both in quality and volume — is firmly on the side of those pushing for Proposition 112, Steingraber said. She criticized the 2017 CDPHE study for a lack of rigor, saying it didn’t consider local geography or weather events and didn’t feature continuous monitoring, meaning any “conclusions about short-term impacts will be invalid.” If recent fires and leaks at oil and gas facilities on the Front Range are any indication of the sudden and severe danger a highly industrialized facility like an oil and gas pad can pose, many say caution is the recommended course of action. A Denver Post review of state records found that at least a dozen explosions and fires occurred along Colorado oil and gas industry pipelines in the eight months after the April 2017 Firestone tragedy. Two of those explosions killed workers. Less than half a year following Firestone, a crowd at a football game in Greeley had to be evacuated after an equipment failure on a compressor resulted in a high-pressure gas leak. Last November, state regulators cited Denver-based Crestone Peak Resources after workers improperly vented volatile organic compounds at a well pad next to Aspen Ridge Preparatory School in Erie. “We found leaks and contamination at every step of the process,” Steingraber said of oil and gas sites across the globe. “If you have bigger setbacks, you’ll save lives.” Fracking: The “f-word” How big matters to Mike Eberhard, chief operations officer for SRC Energy. The company’s 8-acre fracking site, known as the Greeley Rothe pad, has nearly 40 employees and contractors working there on any given day. The drilling of 12 wells began in the summer and fracking those wells will continue through the rest of 2018. He said the pad, which features horizontal wells that extend two miles underground toward downtown Greeley, wouldn’t have been allowed under Proposition 112’s 2,500-foot setback. Colorado has some of the strictest regulations on the industry, Eberhard said, but even so fracking has become the “f-word” in the larger conversation about energy development — politicized to the point where no matter what environmental controls are put in place by oil and gas operators, it won’t satisfy the anti-drilling contingent. “Hydraulic fracturing has become a synonym for so much,” he said. Joe Amon, The Denver PostWorkers watch the progress of the wire line (right) on one of the 12 wells being fracked at SRC Energy’s Greeley Rothe Pad west of Greeley last week. The improvements the industry have made in the last few years are substantial, Eberhard said. At the Greeley Rothe pad, he pointed to sound walls with lights mounted inside the walls, an arrangement designed to cut down on noise and light pollution. SRC uses a Sandbox system to deliver sand to the site, which greatly reduces the amount of particulates escaping and blowing off site, he said. The pad also has water piped in off site, which sharply reduces truck traffic and accompanying emissions across Weld County, Eberhard said. The industry points to its use of pollution-reduction technology, like methane capture, leak detection cameras and remote monitoring equipment, for helping make drilling and fracking a cleaner process than it once was. “These are some of the things we’ve done to minimize impacts,” Eberhard said. “We take it very seriously. We live here.” But claims of improved operations at Colorado’s oil and gas sites are of little solace to those who feel like they are under siege in their own homes, suffering from unexplained health ailments. Stacy Lambright, who lives near a producing well pad in her North Creek Farms neighborhood in Thornton, said she and her children began experiencing nose bleeds and headaches right around the time a subcontractor found a leaking flow line at the site nearly three years ago. That discovery triggered a remediation effort that resulted in the excavation and treatment of 3,500 cubic yards of soil and the removal of 3,000 barrels of groundwater, which contained elevated levels of benzene. A children’s playground sits just a few hundred feet away from the well pad. Joe Amon, The Denver PostStacy Lambright with her goldendoodle Teddy walks along the South Fork Preble Creek Trail near her home in the North Creek Farms neighborhood in Thornton. The trail passes an oil and gas site near her neighborhood that she thinks is harming her family’s health. “We are guinea pigs,” Lambright said. “I really think in so many years from now we’ll look back at this and say we were wrong. There are too many unknowns.” Susan Noble, a Commerce City resident, says energy companies are seeking permits for nearly 200 wells at multiple well pads within just a mile or two of her Reunion neighborhood. “Parents are especially concerned about their children’s and future children’s health — kids are most susceptible to the VOC emissions from these sites — and are talking about moving away,” she said. “Heavy petrochemical activity doesn’t belong near or in residential areas.” Just a year ago, state regulators were putting pressure on the industry for more controls to cut Front Range air pollution and smog. Ozone levels in the metro area haven’t met limits set by the federal government in years. “A political mistake” Pat Quinn, Broomfield’s former mayor who served on the state’s 19-member oil and gas task force a few years ago, is no fan of Proposition 112. At the same time, Quinn thinks a 500-foot setback is insufficient. That’s largely because today’s well pads can have up to 30 or more wells, he said. While the multi-well approach limits impacts to the land surface, it boosts industrial activity at a well pad to a much more intense level. “Once you’re 500 feet away, they are practically in your backyard,” said Quinn, who has worked for the oil and gas industry as an accountant. “I don’t believe that even the industry believes 500 feet is acceptable for a 40-well pad.” Broomfield established a 1,320-foot buffer — one-quarter mile — that oil and gas firms are asked to comply with if they want to drill in the city. It’s a compromise that addresses the desires of both sides in the debate, he said. “Had the industry addressed this issue five years ago when they started coming into these urban and suburban areas — letting local governments have a say about where the locations would be — it would have taken the pressure off of the industry,” Quinn said. “It was a political mistake.” COGA’s Haley admits that the industry didn’t do a good job in the last few years of communicating with homeowners and city officials when it came to the issue of compatibility of drilling and fracking with fast-growing communities. But he said Proposition 112 is not the answer. “What I know doesn’t work is inserting blunt instruments into state law that don’t allow for dialogue, waivers or nuance,” he said. “COGCC is a better place to address this issue than the ballot box.”
  • Denver tech firm SendGrid accepts $2 billion buyout offer
    Denver-based email manager SendGrid has accepted a $2 billion buyout offer from San Francisco-based cloud-based software provider Twilio Inc., the two companies announced on Monday afternoon. “Our two companies have always shared a common goal –- to create powerful communications experiences for businesses by enabling developers to easily embed communications into the software they are building,” said SendGrid CEO Sameer Dholakia in a news release. In a deal approved by the boards of each company, Twilio will offer 0.485 shares of its stock for every share of SendGrid stock. That equates to a share price of $36.92 for SendGrid, a significant premium to the company’s closing share price of $30.93 on Monday. But the offer is below the $38.66 high that SendGrid shares hit Sept. 11. That gap caused at least one law firm, Johnson Fistel, to announce it was investigating whether shareholders were getting a fair shake. SendGrid was Colorado’s best hope of hosting a publicly traded and nationally recognized technology company of size and scale. But as has happened so often before with the state’s most promising tech startups, a larger firm from northern California claimed it. Related Articles Some breweries are making point to cater to kids – much to the delight of parents In era of online shopping, does Boulder’s retail-saving strategy make sense? Google Pixel 3 aims to automate more daily tasks Home sales slid across Colorado in September Even tech execs fret about their kids’ smartphone addictions SendGrid got its start in 2009 in the Boulder Techstars Accelerator and won backing from big-name venture capital firms, including Bain Capital, Bessemer Ventures Partners and Foundry Group. The company processes more than 45 billion emails a month on behalf of its clients, who include well-known brands like Uber, Spotify, Yelp and Airbnb. The company in 2016 relocated its headquarters from Boulder to downtown Denver to better accommodate its growing staff, which numbered 433 on June 30. It raised $131 million in November of last year in a successful initial public offering. The acquisition is expected to close in the first half of 2019, pending regulatory approval.
  • Colorado’s “Strong Arm” law firm sues Facebook, seeks compensation in latest hack attack
    A Colorado law firm is suing Facebook over a recent breach of its system that potentially exposed the personal information of about 30 million users. Franklin D. Azar & Associates, which advertises as “The Strong Arm,” said Monday that it is seeking class-action status for the lawsuit whose plaintiffs include two Colorado residents. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court of the Northern District of California, claims the security breach discovered in September has left users’ personal information vulnerable “for unsavory and illegal purposes.” “The incident is the latest data scandal to rock Facebook, which has been scrambling to repair its reputation after a political consulting firm gained access to the personal data of millions of Facebook users and revelations about other ventures that resulted in sharing user data with outside entities,” Azar & Associates said in a statement. In March, it was revealed that Cambridge Analytica, a British affiliate of a U.S. political data firm, gained access to private information on more than 50 million Facebook users. Facebook has said it routinely gives researchers access to data for academic purposes, but that a researcher violated the company’s policies by passing information to Cambridge Analytica, whose clients included the 2016 Trump campaign. The researcher has said it was clear the information would be used broadly. Earlier this year, Facebook officials, including founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, sat for hours of questions from members of Congress fired up about releases of users’ information. The lawsuit by Azar & Associates said the latest case “involves the continuing and absolute disregard with which Defendant has chosen to treat the (personal information) of account holders.”  The breach violates laws in Colorado, California and New Jersey, where the four plaintiffs live, that are meant to protect consumers and their personal information, the lawsuit states. Facebook learned of the breach as early as Sept. 16, but didn’t publicly release details until Sept. 28, according to the lawsuit. The company began logging users out Sept. 27 without letting them know why and still hasn’t determined if accounts were misused, the law firm said. As a result, Facebook users have had to take additional security measures, some at their own expense, including canceling credit cards associated with their Facebook accounts, according to the lawsuit. “However, due to Facebook’s ongoing and incomplete investigation, Facebook Users have no guarantee that the above security measures will in fact adequately protect their personal information,” the complaint said. When asked about the lawsuit, Facebook referred to its public statements about the security breach. A statement issued last week said hackers exploited a vulnerability in its “View As” feature, which lets people see what their own profile looks like to someone else. Attackers were able to steal Facebook access tokens, the equivalent of digital keys that keep people logged on so they don’t have to re-enter their Facebook password. The tokens allow hackers to take over people’s accounts. Facebook said the hackers used an automated technique to move from account to account to steal the access tokens of friends, and friends of friends, totaling about 400,000 people. They then used a portion of those lists to steal access tokens for about 30 million people. The sets of information accessed included name and contact details, birth dates, hometown, religion, education, work, relationship status and the types of devices used to access Facebook. Related Articles Colorado’s “Strong Arm” law firm suing another web giant — this time it’s Google Even tech execs fret about their kids’ smartphone addictions Colorado’s largest esports arena to open next month in Lakewood Facebook apologizes for showing parenting ads to bereaved mother in U.K. Anti-fracking activists sue Thornton, claiming breach of free speech rights over deleted Facebook comments The information for about 1 million of the users wasn’t accessed, the company said. Facebook users can check whether they were affected by going to Facebook’s Help Center. The company said it will send customized messages to the 30 million people in the coming days to explain what information might have been tapped. “We’re cooperating with the FBI, which is actively investigating and asked us not to discuss who may be behind this attack,” Guy Rosen, Facebook vice president of product management, said in an Oct. 12 statement. The lawsuit against Facebook is seeking actual and compensatory damages and asks that the company provide credit monitoring services to users. The law firm needs to determine the extent of the data that was compromised and the financial ramifications before specifying the amount of damages sought, Ivy Ngo of Azar & Associates said in an email.
  • Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen dies at 65
    SEATTLE — Paul G. Allen, who co-founded Microsoft with his childhood friend Bill Gates before becoming a billionaire philanthropist who invested in conservation, space travel and professional sports, died Monday. He was 65. His death was announced by his company, Vulcan Inc. Earlier this month Allen announced that the non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma that he was treated for in 2009 had returned and he planned to fight it aggressively. “While most knew Paul Allen as a technologist and philanthropist, for us he was a much-loved brother and uncle, and an exceptional friend,” said his sister, Jody Allen, in a statement. Allen, who was an avid sports fan, owned the Portland Trail Blazers and the Seattle Seahawks. Allen and Gates met while attending a private school in north Seattle. The two friends would later drop out of college to pursue the future they envisioned: A world with a computer in every home. Gates so strongly believed it that he left Harvard University in his junior year to devote himself full-time to his and Allen’s startup, originally called Micro-Soft. Allen spent two years at Washington State University before dropping out as well. They founded the company in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and their first product was a computer language for the Altair hobby-kit personal computer, giving hobbyists a basic way to program and operate the machine. After Gates and Allen found some success selling their programming language, MS-Basic, the Seattle natives moved their business in 1979 to Bellevue, Washington, not far from its eventual home in Redmond. Microsoft’s big break came in 1980, when IBM Corp. decided to move into personal computers and asked Microsoft to provide the operating system. Gates and company didn’t invent the operating system. To meet IBM’s needs, they spent $50,000 to buy one known as QDOS from another programmer, Tim Paterson. Eventually the product, refined by Microsoft — and renamed DOS, for Disk Operating System — became the core of IBM PCs and their clones, catapulting Microsoft into its dominant position in the PC industry. The first versions of two classic Microsoft products, Microsoft Word and the Windows operating system, were released in 1983. By 1991, Microsoft’s operating systems were used by 93 percent of the world’s personal computers. The Windows operating system is now used on most of the world’s desktop computers, and Word is the cornerstone of the company’s prevalent Office products. Microsoft was thrust onto the throne of technology and soon Gates and Allen became billionaires. With his sister Jody Allen in 1986, he founded Vulcan, the investment firm that oversees his business and philanthropic efforts. He founded the Allen Institute for Brain Science and the aerospace firm Stratolaunch, which has built a colossal airplane designed to launch satellites into orbit. He has also backed research into nuclear-fusion power. Allen later joined the list of America’s wealthiest people who pledged to give away the bulk of their fortunes to charity. In 2010, he publicly pledged to give away the majority of his fortune, saying he believed “those fortunate to achieve great wealth should put it to work for the good of humanity.” When he released his 2011 memoir, “Idea Man,” he allowed 60 Minutes inside his home on Lake Washington, across the water from Seattle, revealing collections that ranged from the guitar Jimi Hendrix played at Woodstock to vintage war planes and a 300-foot yacht with its own submarine. Allen served as Microsoft’s executive vice president of research and new product development until 1983, when he resigned after being diagnosed with cancer. “To be 30 years old and have that kind of shock — to face your mortality — really makes you feel like you should do some of the things that you haven’t done yet,” Allen said in a 2000 book, “Inside Out: Microsoft in Our Own Words,” published to celebrate 25 years of Microsoft. His influence is firmly imprinted on the cultural landscape of Seattle and the Pacific Northwest, from the bright metallic Museum of Pop Culture designed by architect Frank Gehry to the computer science center at the University of Washington that bears his name. In 1988 at the age of 35, he bought the Portland Trail Blazers professional basketball team. He told The Associated Press that “for a true fan of the game, this is a dream come true.” He also was a part owner of the Seattle Sounders FC, a major league soccer team, and bought the Seattle Seahawks. Allen could sometimes be seen at games or chatting in the locker room with players.
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