Let Out a Big Howl for Wolves: Stop Open Fire Orders

In just a few weeks, the mass killing of wolves could begin in Idaho and Montana -- and not even newborn wolf pups and their nursing mothers will be spared.

We cannot stand by while this slaughter unfolds. On May 4, the wolf's federal protection will be lifted, and government agents will be free to open fire. After that, the states will launch public hunts, targeting wolves.

We must act now to call off the guns!

That's why NRDC is launching The Big Howl campaign to mobilize Americans everywhere to protect wolves in the Northern Rockies from the crossfire.

Add your voice now to our campaign. Tell Interior Secretary Salazar to reverse his decision to kick wolves off the endangered species list.

This is absolutely the wrong time to rip away federal protections from these struggling wolves. Over the past year, the wolf population in Yellowstone National Park has declined by 27 percent, with more than 70 percent of wolf pups succumbing to disease.

One pack alone lost all 24 of its pups!

If the federal protections are lifted on May 4 as planned, newborn wolf pups and their nursing mothers traveling outside national parks will be in the line of fire.

That's why NRDC and our partners are filing suit in federal court to block this disastrous policy. But we must do more: we must raise a nationwide outcry that the Obama Administration cannot ignore.

And so we're calling on everyone who cares about wolves to take part in The Big Howl campaign.

Please call on the Interior Department to go back to the drawing board and submit this cruel plan to the kind of rigorous scientific review the Obama Administration has promised.

Because you have always stood up for wildlife, I'm contacting you first to take part in The Big Howl campaign.

After you send your own message, I will let you know about an easy way to spread the word to your friends and family. We need at least one million messages to save the wolves -- so get ready to rally your friends and family to add their own voices to The Big Howl.


The Colorado Governor’s Energy Office said today it is establishing a competitive bid process to fund shovel-ready New Energy Economy projects with American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds.


The Energy Office also is co-sponsoring a recovery conference for utility-company officials on Tuesday, featuring Lt. Gov. Barbara O’Brien, Energy Office Director Tom Plant, Public Utilities Commission Chairman Ron Binz and many others.


“President Obama last month chose to sign the recovery act into law in Colorado to showcase Colorado’s New Energy Economy,” Gov. Ritter said. “For the past two years, we’ve attracted new companies and created thousands of new jobs by establishing Colorado as a national leader in the manufacturing, production and research of clean energy.


“The recovery act will help drive the New Energy Economy forward by creating new opportunities for families, businesses and communities all across Colorado,” Gov. Ritter said.


The Governor’s Energy Office (GEO) will issue a request for shovel-ready project proposals at the end of March or in early April, depending on the timing of guidelines from the U.S. Department of Energy.


The GEO defines shovel-ready as an energy efficiency or renewable energy infrastructure project or program that has been extensively developed and for which there is a clear path to implementation within 90 days from the time of award.


To submit questions or ideas about this process, go to www.colorado.gov/energy/recovery/inquiry.asp . For more information on shovel-ready projects go to www.colorado.gov/energy/recovery/shovel-ready.asp.


On Tuesday, the GEO is teaming with several state agencies to host an energy-related recovery conference focused on how Colorado gas and electric utilities and their customers can benefit from the recovery act.


The conference is scheduled for 1 to 5 p.m. Tuesday in the Ritz-Carlton Hotel ballroom at 1881 Curtis St. in downtown Denver.


For an agenda and registration information, click here or visit www.dora.state.co.us/puc/agendas/03-10-09ARRA-Symposium.pdf.


Other co-sponsors include the Colorado Public Utilities Commission, Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade and the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment.


For additional information and to monitor how recovery funds are being spent in Colorado, visit www.colorado.gov/recovery.


Gov. Ritter Applauds President Obama's Inaugural Address

President Obama | 1.20.09- for the Grateful Web

Gov. Ritter issued the following statement after witnessing President Obama's historic inaugural address:

"This has been a spectacular event. Everyone I've talked to has described a deep emotional connection to Barack Obama as well as a passion for the kind of hope, change and promise he represents. President Obama was extremely articulate, honest and direct about the country's economic challenges, while also noting that we are a country whose character is marked and defined by resilience. He urged us to rediscover that core just as we have found it time and again over the course of American history.

"I was also struck by his message to the rest of the world. Under President Obama's leadership, we will rebuild a bridge between the United States and other nations. To our enemies, he vowed that we will not back down, and to those who wish to work with us, we will move forward together.

"I look forward to strengthening the federal-state partnership with the new Obama administration as we set about the difficult work of rebuilding our economy and overcoming the many other challenges facing America today and in the years to come

My Experience with Security at the DNC

DNC Security - photo by Mike Moran- for the Grateful Web

The Democratic National Convention came to Denver in August 2008 for the first time in one hundred years.

As a part-time reporter at KGNU last summer, I was assigned to cover the story of the Blackhawk helicopters that had been flying over downtown Denver for several days.  Special operations forces coordinated with local police and fire departments in organizing drills with Blackhawks.  Some drills were performed on the grounds of the old children's hospital.  Authorities said these drills were "routine" and had nothing to do with the Democratic National Convention, but that they were in preparation for the global war on "terrorism."  Helicopters flew low over tree tops and one Denver resident said they were so low that she could wave to the soldiers.  When residents in the vicinity of the children's hospital were questioned, they did not believe the public statement that authorities gave. 

There were reports in local newspapers of $50 million being allocated for the DNC.  A portion of the money went toward additional police officers from surrounding cities and Wyoming.  Part of the money also went to the purchase of additional equipment, including pepper spray guns.  

KGNU Associate News Director Maeve Conran, an Ireland native, said she did not recall this level of fear in Belfast.  Maeve expressed concern that the security forces covering the DNC might resort to their weapons prematurely. 

Weeks later I was offered the position to be a radio producer for Studio 08, which was the television and radio studio that was affiliated with the DNC.  The prospect of encountering the security first hand was a source of concern since I had read about the drills, the additional forces, and the millions spent on additional weaponry.  Additionally,   Maeve's comments about the possibility of weapons being drawn too soon instilled anxiety in me.

obamaDriving on Speer Boulevard towards downtown, I noticed the street getting narrower because of the barricades that were in place.  Turning into downtown Denver, I saw groups of police officers including SWAT team members walking down the sidewalk in full armor.  They looked prepared for action.

It was just after 4:00am.  I was dropped off about one mile north of the Pepsi Center, which was the site of the convention.  The barricades created a distant border around the Pepsi Center.  Police officers guarded the inside of the barricaded area.  I had my press credential around my neck. As I was wondering if I would be directed away and have to circumvent the barricade, to my surprise, an officer opened the barricade and let me in.  I had to show my credential to more officers before I crossed Speer Boulevard.  When I reached the security entrance to the Pepsi Center grounds, I had to show my credential again.  The security entrance was a tent that had detectors that resembled those of airport security.  My purse was searched and I was admitted.  Outside of the entrance to the Pepsi Center stood more people who checked my credential.  Then, in the lobby there were more people who checked my credential again.  Hence, though there were indeed several levels of security, at each point, officers were helpful and no one was hostile toward me.  

The Pepsi Center was packed with people.  Different credentials gave people clearance to different areas.  Mine permitted me to enter the hall surrounding the convention floor, but not the floor itself. 

Throughout the four days of the convention I did not witness any aggression on the part of security.  However, I read reports of tear gas and pepper spray being used on protestors, as well as of mass arrests and temporary jails and courts.  It was as though the Pepsi Center and the buffer zone created around it was a different atmosphere than that outside of the barricades.  The contrast between what I personally experienced and what I read about was stark and disturbing. 

invesoOn the last day of the DNC, Barack Obama gave his speech at Invesco Field.  There were more than 80 thousand people in the stadium.  After the speech, people emptied the stadium and there were no riots, there was no antagonism of any kind from the crowd or security.  In fact, people were in good spirits.  We all filed out in the dark, looking for the correct car or Light Rail stop.  I had never seen so many people on the streets of Denver, many of whom had come here from other cities; and yet there was an air of cooperation and unity, which brought tears to my eyes.

Several weeks later on Election Day I watched Barack Obama's victory speech on television, which was broadcast from Grant Park in Chicago, Illinois.  The crowd there dwarfed the one that had been at Invesco Field.  Estimates as to the number of people there ranged from 125 thousand to 500 thousand.  People were packed together like sardines standing shoulder to shoulder, waiting, attentively focused on the stage.  During his speech they showed support and when it was fished, they emptied Grant Park civilly just as had been done in Denver. 

My positive experiences and observations of the civilized behavior of thousands of people in these crowds led me to question the purpose of the additional riot police and extra weaponry in Denver during the DNC.  Was it all really necessary?

Pledge to Vote & get FREE 'People Lead (live in Seattle 2007)' download

photos by Tim Hurley- for the Grateful Web

To encourage you to vote on election day, Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals is offering up a free download of "People Lead (live in Seattle 2007)" to anyone who completes an online "Pledge to Vote" at www.HeadCount.org. To get the download, all you have to do is go here and make the pledge. History will be made on election day this year. Be a part of it and vote. 

Make The Pledge Here 


Beastie Boys - photo by Amanda Bell- for the Grateful Web

The Beastie Boys have confirmed selected dates through the crucial swing states of the upcoming election. Joining the band in various markets will be Sheryl Crow, Ben Harper, Jack Johnson, Norah Jones, Crosby & Nash, Santogold, Tenacious D, and special guests, as well as representatives from the Rock The Vote, who will be on hand to distribute information on local polling sites, including early voting locations where available.

Nov 1 St. Paul, MN - Roy Wilkins Auditorium
Beastie Boys/Ben Harper/Tenacious D
Tickets at Ticketmaster

Nov 2 Milwaukee, WI - US Cellular Arena
Beastie Boys/Ben Harper/Crosby & Nash/Tenacious D
Tickets at Ticketmaster

Plus more dates forthcoming!

Pr-O-bama Jam @ Boulder Theater

Kang & Nershi - 10KLF 2007 photos by Amanda Bell- for the Grateful Web

In this day in age it is imperative that we stand unified as a country and strive to end the political corruption that the US Citizens have endured for the past 8 years. Symbiotic Music Productions (SMP) proudly announce the Pr - bama Jam at the Boulder Theater on Sunday, November 2; just 2 days before the general election.  The Pr - bama Jam features our Nation's finest musicians and key note speakers on a variety of topics that impact our lives.

Symbiotic Music Productions truly believes that the Obama-Biden ticket offers the promise for change the US needs. We at SMP are dedicated to supporting Obama in the upcoming election and are aware of the Colorado "swing state" status. As Coloradoans, we have the ability to influence this election in a way few other states can. We are asking for your support to elect Barack Obama and further our local non-profit foundations ability to impact lives across our nation.

This event will consist of a variety of musical genres and gives unification based organizations the opportunity to reach out to our attendees in a unique, personal way. Barack Obama's Campaign for Change will be on hand to provide education about all aspects of the Obama Administration's political agenda. SMP is donating over half of the ticket price to non-profit foundations based in Colorado. The Conscious Alliance will be featured to support their mission to provide hunger relief throughout our nation. This event will also highlight the organization, Our Future Now and their dedication to promote a healthier planet through the integration of art, science and community.  In addition, the Basics Fund will be a beneficiary of the event; they are dedicated to raising funds to support local musician's heath-care insurance.

If you feel as we feel or are looking for the facts about what an Obama administration embodies. Please join us for a night of unforgettable music, a plethora of positive information about change and fund raising for non-profit organizations.

Musical Performances By: Michael Travis, Michael Kang, Bill Nershi (String Cheese Incident), Joey Porter, Scott Messersmith, Dominic Lalli (Motet), Patrice Blanchard (Panjea), Plus Very Special Guests Appearances TBA!!
Supporting performance by: Dubskin
Key Note Speakers: Iraq War Veteran Lee Gerry, Zero Hero's John Long and a special guest speaker TBA

Sunday; November 2, 2008 at the Boulder Theater- Boulder, Colorado
Doors at 7:30 P.M. / Show at 8:30 P.M. This is an ALL AGES SHOW for $17
Tickets can be purchased at www.bouldertheater.com or Box Office: 303-786-7030

Michelle Obama Speaks in Boulder

photos by Sam Holloway- for the Grateful Web

Earlier this afternoon (Editors Note: 10.1.08), several thousand people gathered on Farrand Field at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and it wasn't even to get together and smoke pot (like they do on 4/20).  Today, it was because future First Lady Michelle Obama was coming to speak on behalf of her other half, presidential hopeful Barack Obama.  Gates to the field opened to the public, who was allowed in on a first come, first served basis, at 10 am, with Michelle being due to speak at 11:45.  I got to the field at 11, and it was already starting to fill up, no way could I bustle my way through to the front at this point.  I decided to make a go at the press platforms, but all I had in terms of press creds was my camera and a Grateful Web business card.  But transparency is the name of the game for the Obama campaign, and after I put my name down on a sign-in sheet, they gave me a wristband and let me in.  They're not in the business of turning the press away, any press is good press after all, but I can't help but feel that if it had been a McCain event, I would have been beat up and had my camera taken away, and possibly destroyed.  That's just the feeling I get from Johnny Boy, he doesn't really seem to like anyone anymore, and I'm certain he wouldn't like me.

By now you've probably realize that I'm not a typical member of the so-called Liberal Media, whose definition of fair and balanced has turned into pathetic and cowardly.  I understand why it's necessary to avoid taking sides, people trust the media after all, and when opinion is presented as fact, that's when there is serious trouble.  But is it not also biased when you fail to point out when someone, especially a political candidate, is lying through his or her teeth?  Is in not biased to cover that lie simply by saying that the other side disagrees?  I think so, and I won't do it.  Certainly both candidates are guilty of stretching the truth, but only one candidate is guilty of out and out lying, and that candidate is John McCain.  Doing your homework on the subject is no where near as difficult as it used to be, thanks to the Internet, you just have to make sure your sources are credible.  Skip the McCain and Obama website for fact checking and go to a site like factcheck.org, a non-partisan database that has closely scrutinized both candidates over the last year.  What you will find will astonish you.

But enough about Mr. McCain.  Today was about Barack Obama, and what change really means for this country.  Change is Obama's main talking point, but unlike McCain, who co-opted the term and consistently fails to clarify what he means by it, Barack Obama presents an actual plan for HOW he means to bring about change, and at least in my state, is the only candidate with a television commercial talking about his plan rather than simply badmouthing the other guy.  Obama's got ads like that too, make no mistake, but when there is so much there to badmouth, who can blame him?  And as far as McCain's ability to change Washington Politics, well, as he's said many times, he's been doing it for years, but he must not be very good at it, because Washington politics have been getting worse and more corrupt over the last few decade, and the "change" that McCain and those like him have supposedly been enacting on The Hill has brought us to where we are today: to the verge of economic collapse, and mired in not one, but two seemingly wars.  Maybe McCain should steal a line of Kang and Kodos's political playbook (these are the slimy green aliens on The Simpsons, in case you were wondering): "The politics of failure have failed! Its time to make them work again!"

But seriously, enough about McCain.

Boulder-based band Meniskus opened the ceremonies, entertaining the ever-growing crowd, and probably picking up a few new fans along the way as well.  The political portion of the rally on the University of Colorado began with a brief address by the university's democratic candidate for regent, Joe Neguse, who himself graduated from CU several years ago.  He, like many others who would come after him, stressed the importance of voting, and the youth vote in particular.  Neguse was followed by democratic congressional candidate Jared Polis, who won the congressional primaries in Colorado largely because of the youth vote.  "Change doesn't come from Washington," Polis said, echoing Obama's sentiments almost exactly, "change goes to Washington, and it's our job to send it there!"

smithRod Smith, former Denver Broncos wide receiver, was the next to speak, and next to Michelle's speech, his was the highlight of the rally.  He stressed what an honor and a privilege it is to vote, especially for him, since his ancestors fought and died so that he would have the right.  Smith recounted how in all the years he's been eligible to vote, he never had until the 2004 presidential election.  "I'm ashamed of myself," he said, "but now I know that I don't have any right to complain if I don't vote."  Here here!  "For many of you, this might be your first opportunity to vote in a presidential election," he said, appealing directly to the student population in attendance, which was huge, incidentally (who says young people don't care about the issues?).  "My daughter just turned 18, and she will vote this year, I guarantee it!"  Smith went on to say that he had put off registering to vote this year specifically so he could do so then and there, at the voter registration table set up on the north side of Farrand Field.  "I hope anyone out there who isn't registered will come and join me."  Leave us not forget that the last two presidential elections have been devilishly close, and the youth vote could have made all the difference in those few states that ultimately decided the outcome.

Maggie Fox, the wife of Senatorial candidate Mark Udall, spoke at the rally as well, encouraging people not only to vote for Barack Obama, but also to vote Mark Udall into the U.S. Senate.  "My husband has been working to change Washington since he was elected to congress in 1996," she said, "and was working to pass renewable energy legislation since before it became popular to do so."  The bill she was referring to passed the House when it was introduced, but fell one vote short in the Senate, a mistake that would not be made again, she said, after her husband was elected.

By the time Michelle Obama came on stage, the crowd filled the field, and spilled out in all directions – into the streets and onto the steps of the dormitories that surround the field.  Mothers, fathers, and students of all creeds and colors were in attendance, sporting more varieties of Barack Obama tee shirts (Editor's Note:  Grateful Web Make Love Not War tshirts on sale now!), buttons, and stickers than there are hipsters at an Indie Rock music festival.  Blue signs reading "Change We Can Believe In," filled the air directly above the heads in the crowd, and there were more than a few homemade banners in hand as well.

michelleMichelle is, in my opinion, as good a speaker as her husband, but while Barack's speeches are lofty and filled with rock star energy, hers are based on a deep and emotional connection between herself and the audience, drawing the eye to the similarities between all of us.  Not that a rock star speech is a bad thing, anything that gets the populace excited about being involved in the political process is a good thing in my opinion.  I would much prefer to elect a rock star than a maverick, someone filled with positive energy, hope, and intellectual charisma rather than a fear-mongering John Everyman whose intellect goes no farther than the battlefield.  But maybe that's just me.

Pushing once again the importance of the youth vote, Michelle said it was her goal to register 4100 new voters on the CU campus.  "We're half way there," she said, and reminded everyone that registering to vote is only half the battle, the other half is to actually get out there and vote.  And Michelle Obama gave us every reason to vote, and to vote for Barack Obama.

Connection was the main theme of Michelle's speech, that and change for the better, but that's almost a given by this point in the campaign.  Michelle spoke to the audience as a mother who wants only what's best for her children and all other children too.  She spoke as a wife who knows more about Barack Obama than anyone else in the world, and who believes in his abilities down to her very core.  She spoke as a daughter who knows how bad it can be when a parent, her father, is diagnosed with an incurable disease and is unable to pay the sky-high medical bills, while her mother selflessly shouldered the burden, working all her life to support the children.  She spoke as a student, swimming in a sea of student loans, who was only able to pay them off because her husband happened to write and publish two best-selling books.  Most of all, she spoke as a patriot, someone who believed in her country so much that she was not afraid to criticize those who were ruining it.  She charged that change should be more than just a slogan, and there is only one candidate who has it in him bring it about.

CUAs far as Michelle Obama is concerned, there is only one candidate for president.  To paraphrase: There is only one candidate who knows what it is like to grow up in a single parent home, and to see a loved one survive off food stamps and welfare.  There is only one candidate who knows what it means to be working class.  There is only one candidate who knows what it is like to be over your head in student loan debt, and only one candidate who knows that public service is more rewarding than having your future planned out for you, only one candidate who knows what it's like in the inner cities where families can barely make ends meet.  There is only one candidate who "gets it," and that candidate is Barack Obama.  "Don't we want a president who brings perspective?" Michelle asked the crowd.  Roughly 8000 people screaming an enthusiastic "yes!" greeted her.  By providing the context behind Obama's goals of helping the working class, Michelle was directly tackling one of the biggest criticisms of Barack Obama levied by those who cannot be bothered to get to know him – that he is nothing more than a stuck up elitist.  By showing the people that Barack is more like them than they may have known, she sought to build up the sort of mutual empathy that Barack Obama's campaign thrives upon.  I think she succeeded.

"We can change our future," Michelle Obama said to immense applause, "and perhaps we can change the world!"

Yes we can!

To see more photos from the Obama rally in Boulder, please visit the Gallery, and check out my Flickr page too!

Colorado School of Mines Faculty Senate Endorses Amendment 58

Colorado School of Mines- for the Grateful Web

The Faculty Senate of the Colorado School of Mines (CSM) has passed a resolution endorsing Amendment 58, which proposes to create the Colorado Promise Scholarship by eliminating a tax credit for oil and gas companies. The initiative would double the amount of need-based scholarships available to resident students attending public institutions of higher education if approved by Colorado voters in November.

The resolution, proposed by J. Thomas McKinnon, professor of chemical engineering and president of the CSM Faculty Senate, notes the scholarship program would help maintain the affordability of college by offering more aid to lower and middle income families in the state. Roughly two-thirds of Colorado families could qualify opening the doors of college opportunity to many new students. "During my 18 years on the faculty, I've seen a number of heroic students working nearly full-time jobs while trying to study engineering; some have succeeded but many have not," McKinnon said. "By providing better financial aid, we can help students concentrate on their studies and become more productive members of society. A well educated work force is clearly a prudent long-term strategy for ensuring the health of our economy."

By creating the Colorado Promise Scholarship Fund, Amendment 58 will more than double the state's financial aid funding. The scholarships would follow a "shared responsibility" model, taking into consideration how much a family is expected to pay for college, how much the student can contribute, and what is available from Pell and other federal grants.

The measure proposes to repeal a tax credit enacted in the late 1970s to help the energy industry become established in Colorado. The credit allows energy companies to subtract 87.5 percent of their property tax bills from the severance taxes they owe on oil and gas extracted in the state. The credit currently amounts to roughly $300 million a year. According to the Consumer Federation of America, Colorado produced $6.63 billion worth of oil and gas last year, or about 6.2 percent of total U.S. production.

It is estimated the Amendment 58 would raise $250-$325 million a year, with 60 percent going to the Colorado Promise Scholarship Fund. Of the remaining funds,10 percent would be funneled to renewable energy projects, 15 percent to wildlife habitat, and 15 percent to water quality and transportation projects in communities where oil and gas producers operate.

The Faculty Senate at CSM joins a long list of Amendment 58 supporters,  including the Colorado Commission on Higher Education, the presidents of the University of Colorado, University of Northern Colorado, Colorado State University system, Western State College, Metro State College, and the Colorado Community College System, the Associated Students of Colorado, Adams State Board of Trustees, Mesa State College Board of Trustees, Metropolitan State College of Denver Board of Trustees, the University of Northern Colorado Trustees, the Natural Resources Defense Council, Trout Unlimited, the National Wildlife Federation, and the Colorado Renewable Energy Society.

The CSM Faculty Senate represents the academic faculty at CSM and not the institution as a whole.

Gov. Ritter Statement on Interior Dept Investigation

Big Oil & The GOP: screwing us literally & figuratively- for the Grateful Web

Gov. Bill Ritter (Colorado) issued the following statement today in response to the federal investigation into allegations of gross misconduct by Interior Department and oil industry employees:


"This is obviously an extremely serious revelation. It warrants a thorough investigation, and if appropriate, the prosecution of anyone who has broken the law.


"The investigation also must closely examine how much this type of corruption has cost American – and Colorado – taxpayers. The oil-and-gas industry already benefits from taxpayer-funded subsidies, so the question is: how much has this scandal cost us in lost revenue?


"This is exactly why we need a federal government that partners with states like Colorado to craft a responsible energy policy for the future, not a federal government mired in corruption."