Insomnia Log

This is what keeps me awake at night???

Who needs sleep? (well you’re never gonna get it)
Who needs sleep? (tell me what’s that for)
Who needs sleep? (be happy with what you’re getting,
There’s a guy who’s been awake since the second world war)

-- words and music by Steven Page & Ed Robertson

Location: Boulder, Colorado, United States

Everything you need to know about me can be found in my posts

Monday, June 26, 2006

Allard Attacks the Constitution

In his defense of my challenge to his proposed anti-gay marriage amendment, Colorado Senator Allard did not respond directly to my fundamental point. I'll try to make that point more clear here.

The position against gay marriage is a religious position. The loudest voices on this issue come from religious leaders like James Dobson, and the politicians trying to suck up to them. At the same time, there are religions in which gay marriage is celebrated. For example, in the Unitarian church several ministers have performed gay marriage (and been arrested for it!). Clearly, when leaders of one religion believes one thing and leaders of another religion believes something else, this is a matter of religious belief.

The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution says:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.
The Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as the union between a man and a woman, violates the First Amendment in two ways. First, it violates the establishment clause. It is a law passed by Congress that mandates the beliefs of a certain set of religions (in other words, establishes those beliefs as law). Second, it violates the free exercise clause, by preventing members of those religions that support gay marriage from freely exercising their religions. Arresting a minister for practicing her beliefs is in direct contradiction to this core principle laid down by our founding fathers.

What about putting the gay marriage ban into the constitution? Doesn't that get around this problem?

Well, Senator Allard and all of his peers took an oath, which reads, in part:
I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States ... and ... I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same
This means placing respect for the Constitution at the highest level. Authoring an amendment that violates the principles of the First Amendment seems to me to be the exact opposite of supporting and defending the Constitution. Attempting to change the will of our founding fathers does not seem to exhibit true faith and allegiance, but rather a religious-based attack.

In fact, I would maintain that Allard's amendment, even if it were to pass, would not be Constitutionally valid. Because the introduction of Allard's amendment to the Senate is tantamount to making a law that violates the establishment and free exercise clauses of the First Amendment, that act in and of itself is unconstitutional and should not stand.

Let me be clear here. My position is not anti-religious. It is pro-religious. I encourage Wayne Allard to believe and practice the religion of his choice. The history of mankind is full of examples of people using religion to accomplish great things. However, our country was founded on the principle that no religion can have supremacy, and that the beliefs of the minority need to be protected against the tyranny of the majority.

Senator Allard, get your religion out of my Constitution!

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Saturday, June 24, 2006

Allard Defends Anti-Gay Amendment

A few weeks ago, I challenged Colorado Senator Wayne Allard over his proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would ban gay marriage. Allard has since responded; see below for details.

I will respond to his arguments in detail over the next few days. I note now, however, that the Senator did not respond to my accusation that he is attempting to write his personal religion into the Constitution and hence violating his oath of office to protect the Constitution. My assumption is that his intern ("SK") noted the topic and that I am from Boulder, and decided it wasn't worth any more effort than sending the standard talking points on the issue.
Thank you for contacting me to express your concerns regarding the issue of marriage. I appreciate you taking the time to write on such an important issue.

Marriage, the union between a man and a woman, has been the foundation of every civilization in human history. The definition of marriage crosses all bounds of race, religion, culture, political party, ideology, and ethnicity. Marriage is incorporated into the very fabric of our society. It is the one bond on which all other bonds are built and from which families and communities are grown.

As you may know, on January 24, 2005, I introduced Senate Joint Resolution 1 along with 32 of my Senate colleagues. Known as the Marriage Protection Amendment, the resolution states that "Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this Constitution, nor the constitution of any State, shall be construed to require that marriage or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon any union other than the union of a man and a woman."

Unfortunately, traditional marriage has been under attack by those who wish to redefine marriage to be something that it is not. Activists have chosen to debate this issue not through the democratic processes such as state legislatures, the Congress, or ballot initiatives, but have instead turned to unaccountable and unelected judges.

The purpose of my amendment is two-fold: First, it defines marriage as an institution solely between one man and one woman, and, second, it ensures that the people or their elected representatives, not judges, decide whether to confer the legal incidents of marriage on individuals. This amendment would not affect civil unions as created by state legislatures, nor the ability of private employers to offer benefits to same-sex couples. This amendment simply affirms the traditional definition of marriage and allows state legislatures, and not courts, to decide the issue of civil unions or domestic partnerships.

I do not take amending the U.S. Constitution lightly. My decision to introduce a Constitutional amendment was made in direct response to the carefully coordinated campaign to circumvent the democratic process and redefine marriage through the courts.

I am pleased that on June 7, 2006, a majority of Senators voting voted in support of my amendment. Although it did not receive enough votes to end the filibuster, the progress that was achieved in the Senate and the states since the first vote on this amendment in 2004 is proof that marriage remains an important issue to the American people.

Thank you for writing to share your concerns. I look forward to hearing from you again. If you would like more information on issues important to Colorado and the nation, please log on to my website at

Wayne Allard
United States Senator


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Thursday, June 22, 2006

How Much to Admit You're Stupid?

Psychic Natalie -- Soul Mate Specialist
Timothy Strating of Montana is suing the psychic Natalie Roberts. It seems that over the course of about a year he paid her about $170,000 to fix his love problems. Well, his problems weren't fixed (in spite of the guarantee posted on her website), and now Tim wants his money back.

My question to this man: Is it really worth that much money to inform the entire world of how stupid you are?


Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Who's Number One?

The Boulder Valley School Board is considering getting rid of high school class ranks. It turns out that the formula for calculating GPA counts core classes higher than electives, which means that an A in a college prep class counts more than an A in an elective. What this means is that the student taking the "more well-rounded" curriculum may pay for it in their ability to meet college entrance criteria, or in the super-competitive race for valedictorian.

I think they are dancing around the real issue here. The trouble is, it is hard to determine class rank among all the students with an A grade-point average. But why are so many students getting straight As? Don't grades mean anything any more?

Apparently not. Today, well over half the students going to college have straight A high school GPAs. This is almost double the number from when I went to school. [Exercise for the reader: When did this lunatic graduate from high school?] This is while SAT scores have fallen by an inflation-adjusted 140 points.

There is a simple solution to this problem. Start giving Cs, Ds, and Fs again. Make students work hard for that A, and even for the B. When I was in high school, I had to walk uphill in the snow to get an A, and today's students should have to do the same. [Ok, let them bring their iPods.] Students (and their parents) should not expect automatic As. The average student should get a C.

When it comes down to it, colleges don't count grades and class ranks very much in their entrance criteria anyway. They just don't mean anything. And you don't need a 4.0 average to figure that out.

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Monday, June 12, 2006

Springtime Conflicts

It's spring, and that can only mean one thing. That's right: cars vs. bikes. Cyclists are out in force here in Boulder and tempers are starting to go up.

For example, Claudia Putnam of Jamestown wrote a letter to the Daily Camera editor complaining about the gang of cyclists that slowed down her commute. [Note: the accepted pejorative would be "pack".] Apparently the cyclists riding at 35 MPH down the canyon doubled her commute time and made her son miss his school bus. Of course, this means that she normally drives 70 MPH down that steep, windy canyon road, but best not to think about that.

She also suggested that cyclists ride in groups no larger than five. I'm not sure where that came from, but clearly she's not making many cyclist friends by telling them to not ride with their friends.

However, the most frustrating thing about this letter is the tone. Clearly, the writer believes that bikes are less important than cars, that anybody riding a car is doing something unimportant, and that they are just there to get in the way of responsible people doing responsible things.

John Flynt wrote a guest opinion published in yesterday's Camera. I'm not sure I follow his logic. However, cyclists are one the one hand the equivalent of vagrants and homeless people, while on the other hand they are no different than leaders of soulless corporations. Cyclists make too much money, shop in the wrong places, and of course dress in a manner showing their conspicuous consumption. Cyclists are chastised for throwing trash on the road, but anybody doing a trash survey along Lefthand Canyon would clearly see that the vast majority of it is of the type spewed by passing motorists. No cyclist I know throws cans, bottles, or cigarette packs by the road.

From what I can tell reading between the lines, John Flynt feels personally threatened in his artistic, non-consumer-based lifestyle by people who are not like him and do not share his values.

Lest you think I condone the behavior of thoughtless cyclists, consider that the most important value on the road is sharing the road. This means, cyclists, don't be road hogs, be predictable, and don't throw your trash on or by the road. Keep as far right as is safe and practical. Motorists, be patient, pass at a safe distance, and realize that cyclists have just as much right to be there as you do. Just as you wouldn't want some cyclist telling you what roads to ride on, you shouldn't tell a cyclist where he or she can ride. If you see a bicycle not all the way to the right, trust that there is a reason and be extra careful. There may be road debris, a pothole, high winds, or something else you can't see.

And for crying out loud, I thought judging people based on how they dress went out with high school!

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Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Allard Violates His Oath of Office

The U.S. Senate voted today on an amendment to the Constitution that would ban gay marriage. This amendment was authored by Colorado's own Senator Wayne Allard.

Senator Allard: How dare you!? You took an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States. And here you are attempting to write your personal religion into the Constitution. This is the height of arrogance.

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Attracting Attention Is Not Always Good

Paul Brekus of Denver wants to ride his antique high wheeler bike in the 5430 Sprint Triathlon on June 18, to attract attention to the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Therapy Development Foundation. Race director Barry Siff has shot down the idea.

I say kudos to Barry! I plan on being in the race, and the last thing that is needed is a bike that is hard to control and doesn't even have a full complement of brakes. In fact, Brekus has admitted to several hospital visits from falling off his bike. Not only is this bike and rider prone to accidents, this particular race is targeted partly to beginner triathletes. A very bad mix indeed.

Barry, as he should, is focusing on the safety of the people participating. This is his number one concern. Keep up the good work!

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Monday, June 05, 2006

He's Got Your Number

Tomorrow is 6-6-06. To most of us, this doesn't mean much. However, I'm betting that tonight will be Stephen Colbert's last show. You know, the number of the beast, the rapture and all that. Us heathen folk will be left behind with nothing to watch but Jon Stewart. I wonder who's going to fill that time slot.