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Remember when you got your first credit card? OMG — plastic money! Pretty soon, you reached the card’s credit limit. No problem — you just got another credit card, and another, and another … and all of a sudden, you owed Visa, Master Card, American Express and a host of department stores more than 10… Continue Reading Mutual fund’s forecast calls for ‘half-sized’ asset returns

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There are few spectacles in nature as beautiful as that of a herd of pronghorn antelope in full flight. Here’s an account of a day spent with pronghorns by Arthur Einarsen, a wildlife biologist who studied Oregon pronghorns 60 years ago. “On August 14, 1936, I was with a group that paced many pronghorns (while… Continue Reading Separating illusory threats from those that are real

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Many years ago, in a moment of youthful weakness, I decided to run for city council. I asked my friend Tom Fischer for help. Fischer, a conservative Republican stalwart who had once run for Congress, was brief and to the point. “John,” he said “you come across as a Saks Fifth Avenue guy, and this… Continue Reading Springs folks aren’t the Saks Fifth Avenue types

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“Trends, like horses, are easier to ride in the direction they are already heading.” — Bradley Rotter We had finally reached the engine room floor of the Jeremiah O’Brien, after descending three steep metal companionways, and inching our way along spidery catwalks surrounded by steam lines, ventilators and machinery. The boilers were making steam, and… Continue Reading On Liberty Ships, U.S. currency and other fading icons

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Let’s see whether I understand this. We have a city-owned municipal utility which has invested billions of in the construction of systems which divert, store, transport and distribute water from many sources to Colorado Springs. We have one of the greatest park systems of any city in America, including landscaped medians, neighborhood parks, major parks,… Continue Reading Greater accountability needed at Colo. Sprgs. Utilities

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What do you do when you run out of gas in the middle of the desert? You could be out of luck, especially if you’re out of cell-phone range. With a bit of fortune, a kindly motorist will stop, give you a lift to the next gas station, and you’ll find your way back to… Continue Reading After all these years, still pining for critical mass

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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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