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A newsy week to remember


The news, sometimes, is a thing to behold. And it seems like lately, the world is on a roll.

There's the latest incarnation of Elvis Presley, his profile appearing on a rock found by a woman named LaDell Alexander right up in Estes Park. "Seven out of 10 people see Elvis (on the rock)," she told one reporter.

And there was Time magazine, causing quite a stir with its Aug. 20 issue featuring Billy Graham on the cover. Standing in profile, head tilted down and hands clasped in prayer, Rev. Graham was superimposed over the Time logo. And the way the points of the "M" were sticking up out of his head, well, to some it looked just like "a pair of Beelzebub horns."

Closer to home, Bob Schaffer, Colorado's presumptive Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate next year, appears to have no defined positions on any issue whatsoever except, possibly, that Ronald Reagan is a demigod. For a brief time last week, it appeared the former three-term congressman from Fort Collins didn't know for sure whether he is actually running.

Specifically, a Pueblo Chieftain reporter called Schaffer to get his take on the Army's Pion Canyon expansion proposal. It wasn't an unreasonable request; the issue is arguably one of the state's most critical, and Schaffer's presumptive Democratic rival, Mark Udall, has been publicly demanding the Army not be allowed to seize private property for its training site through condemnation.

This is what Schaffer told the Chieftain: "Next year, when and if I announce my Senate candidacy, it will be a more appropriate time to speak out on this important subject."

In the flurry that followed, Schaffer's campaign consultant said that the candidate really is a candidate, and had simply misspoken.

But don't go looking at Schaffer's Web site,, to find out where he stands not just on Pion Canyon, but global warming or health care, or civil liberties, or immigration, or stem-cell research or Social Security, or immigration or Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

Months after announcing his candidacy, the site is still in its rudimentary stages of development. It does not yet identify his positions, or his platform, or what he would seek to accomplish if elected to the Senate.

Of course the humdinger of the week was the resurfacing of Pastor Ted.

Yes, even as Ted Haggard's hopeful replacement, Brady Boyd, was trying out for the permanent slot leading the flock at New Life Church, Haggard sent out a letter, circulated via KRDO Channel 13, seeking monthly checks from people in a sort of cash-for-heaven scheme.

Haggard reported that he and his wife, Gayle, and their two sons were planning to moving into an apartment in a halfway house in Phoenix to minister to ex-cons, recovering alcoholics, drug addicts, prostitutes, and "other broken people."

"I identify," wrote Haggard, who last November stepped down as the president of the National Association of Evangelicals and was fired from New Life after admitting to buying meth and getting massages from a male escort.

In his letter, Haggard indicated he and Gayle are pursuing degrees in psychology and counseling from the University of Phoneix. They were seeking handouts for two years.

"Any help we can get with this will be greatly appreciated and, I believe, rewarded in heaven," Haggard wrote.

For some reason, Haggard didn't mention his estimated $138,000-plus salary through 2007 that New Life handed him on his way out the door. Nor did he mention that he still owns his $715,000 home in northern Colorado Springs, which is not currently on the market.

The scheme quickly fell apart when the pastor assigned to oversee Haggard reported he wouldn't be moving into the halfway house after all and the man Pastor Ted selected as his cashman turned out to be a twice-convicted sex offender.

Perhaps Haggard should consider moving back to Colorado and challenging Schaffer in a primary bid for the Senate next year.

Lord knows, he has some issues.

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