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Imagine you’re a private in the military. You’re one of nine soldiers in your infantry squad, led by a sergeant. You’re in some godforsaken part of an unfortunate Middle Eastern country, trying your best to control an Al Qaeda-based insurgency. Rank doesn’t matter. You endure the same dangers, eat the same food, and look out… Continue Reading Do we want a ‘strong mayor,’ second-class council?

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A “Black Swan” event, according to Nassim Taleb’s popular 2007 book, has three attributes. “First, it is an outlier,” Taleb wrote, “as it lies outside the realm of regular expectations, because nothing in the past can convincingly point to its possibility. Second, it carries an extreme impact. Third, in spite of its outlier status, human… Continue Reading Southern Delivery System: A billion-dollar gambit

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“Don’t tax me, don’t tax thee. Tax that fellow behind the tree!” Thus spoke Louisiana Sen. Russell Long decades ago, neatly summarizing the dilemma that legislators face when trying to increase revenue. The lowliest elected official soon learns to his or her dismay that voters want services, but have little interest in paying for them.… Continue Reading Too much to hope for: Tax reform that is simple, fair

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Here are two views of the future of Colorado Springs, and of America. In a Facebook thread, Robert Nemanich opined that my predictions of continued growth and prosperity for Colorado Springs might be off the mark. “John,” Robert wrote, “conditions can and will change. One could say that Detroit’s growth was precipitous until the 1980s,… Continue Reading A view of our future: NORAD as a tourist destination

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If you’re a 55-year-old retiree who receives a pension from the Colorado Public Employees Retirement Association, you may be a resident of geezer heaven. That’s because assuming you started working for the city of Colorado Springs, or as a public school teacher 30 years ago at age 25, you could retire today and collect 75… Continue Reading Public pension fixes might require further tweaking

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In a notable display of uber-conservative lunacy, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert signed bills last month that set aside $3 million to fund lawsuits aimed at taking over Utah lands owned by the wicked federal guv’mint. The Feds own more than 60 percent of Utah, which many Utahans resent. Reasoning that proximity to these lands should… Continue Reading Each American has an undivided right to federal lands

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Confession: I watch a lot of TV sports. Observation: calm, cheerful, unworried coaches are about as common as short, fat models. Coaches spend their time in stressful contemplation of the future, especially on game day. Pass complete or incomplete? We gave up a short-handed goal? We’re losing at home to the Chiefs? But what coaches… Continue Reading City has one powerful weapon to enforce growth policy

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Remember multiple-choice questions? Here’s one. Our city’s fiscal difficulties are a result of: 1. Feckless, improvident decisions by city council, such as mortgaging the Police Operations Center to pay off their jock pals at the USOC! 2. Feckless, improvident decisions by local voters, who have been consistently led down the primrose path of tax reductions… Continue Reading Blame for city’s money issues doesn’t belong to Council

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One of the most memorable political images of the past year has to be that of a man in his late 60s at one of the Tea Party rallies holding a sign which read, “Keep your government hands off my Medicare!” Proponents of health care reform seized upon the sentiments thereby expressed as evidence of… Continue Reading Geezers of Colorado Springs unite — save our city

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It’s usually an easy, pleasant drive to work from my house on the west side. Right on Bijou, down 21st to Colorado, thence to Cascade, turn north and I’m there — wait a minute! Not anymore. There are now small potholes, there are big potholes, and then there are the two potholes that almost entirely… Continue Reading Colorado Springs’ potholes and Denver’s success

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