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Public Eye



Go, Lance! This month's KRCC newsletter, Mouthpiece, was devoted in its entirety to radio station manager Mario Valdes and Colorado College director of college relations director Todd Wilson trying to explain, in side-by-side open letters to their readers/listeners, the recent departure of former on-air personality Jerome Davis.

It seems very important to Valdes that readers/listeners believe that the popular Davis "was not fired, dismissed, sacked, ousted, vaporized, ejected, axed or forced out."

In his open letter, Valdes suggested that, in light of Davis' departure, he and the radio station were subject to attacks by unnamed enemies "to further personal agendas and make political points."

For his part, Davis maintains he was forced out after he was warned by Valdes and Wilson not to editorialize on the air, which is a violation of station policy. Last month, Davis said he has been occasionally confused about what exactly constitutes editorializing. Was he, for example, editorializing when he paraphrased Nina Totenberg after the NPR reporter referred to the Supreme Court as "a wacky bunch"?

In his Mouthpiece letter, Wilson made an effort -- sort of -- to define what constitutes on-air editorializing.

"The [station's] policy does not prohibit tasteful quips about the weather, local events or other clever, creative expression that doesn't violate the editorial policy," he wrote.

By way of example, Wilson said that an announcer saying "Go, Lance!" in reference to Lance Armstrong's competition in the Tour de France "clearly" would not be a violation -- or constitute editorializing. However, a reference to the bicycle great's religious or political beliefs (if he has any) probably would be a violation. ... That should really clear things up.


Update on the plight of the tenacious monk parrots that have been living in Colorado Springs' Hillside neighborhood atop a utility pole for the past four years:

Last week the Colorado Springs Utilities company announced plans to capture the birds and give them to the corporate animal broker Petco for "rehabilitation" -- in other words, they'd be sold as pets.

Parrot owner and Colorado Springs resident Dan Salamone was appalled. "It's just absurd; it's like trying to take a wolf and convert him into a lap dog."

This week, CSU announced it now wants to give the birds to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo.

Salamone thinks the latest scheme is just as absurd. "What is the problem, exactly? The birds are not doing anything other than living there."


Speaking of animals, the circus is coming to town, and we're not talking Barnum & Bailey. High-powered elephants will be gathering at the Broadmoor Hotel this weekend for the sixth annual Liberty Restoration Weekend, the Republican equivalent of the so-called Renaissance Weekend where liberal policy wonks gather to solve the societal problems of the world.

By contrast, the Liberty Restoration Weekend will feature several top-name conservative acts, including Georgia Congressman Bob Barr, former Speaker of the House Bob Livingston and Colorado Gov. Bill Owens.

One of the main events is actually a panel discussion titled "What does Gary Condit Tell Us About Ourselves?" (Answer: Maybe We All Need To Get a Life?)

Organizers have indicated that attendees also plan to spend a great deal of time batting around George W. Bush's catchphrase, "compassionate conservatism."

But the most anticipated politico is Florida Secretary of State and self-made hottie Katherine Harris, who will be given a big award for grace under media fire during the ballot fiasco following last November's election.

We sure hope that naked woman from the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) who showed up to protest the circus last week plans to be on hand to get a load of this.


This week, the Bush administration followed through with threats to boycott the World Conference Against Racism in South Africa -- billed by organizers as an effort to refocus international attention to combat various abuses, including genocide and ethnic cleansing. Specifically, the president of the United States won't send Secretary of State Colin Powell to the eight-day conference in South Africa because the conference's draft document contains clauses comparing Zionism to racism and supporting reparations for slavery.

So while the rest of the world comes up with recommendations on globally countering prejudice, we Americans can busy ourselves by listening to our revered leader, George W., expound in his own way on racism. To wit, the following Bushism was recorded when the president stopped in Independence, Mo. on August 21 to talk about his education bill:

"You'll hear people say it's racist to test. Folks, it's racist not to test. Because guess who gets shuffled through the system oftentimes? Children whose parents don't speak English as a first language, inner-city kids. It's so much easier to quit on somebody than to remediate."

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