Commentary From the Mile High City

"Star of the conservative blogosphere" Denver Post

"The Rocky Mountain Alliance offers the best of what the blogosphere has to offer." -David Harsanyi, Denver Post
Joshua Sharf

 notify list
to receive email when this site is updated, enter your email address:
 recent posts
24 (2 entries)
Anglosphere (1 entries)
Biking (1 entries)
Blogging (35 entries)
Business (173 entries)
CFA (3 entries)
China (5 entries)
Climate Change (3 entries)
Colorado (20 entries)
Denver (12 entries)
Design (4 entries)
Economics (39 entries)
Education (6 entries)
Electoral College (1 entries)
Environmentalism (3 entries)
Europe (0 entries)
Flying (2 entries)
Foreign Affairs (1 entries)
General (89 entries)
Gun Control (2 entries)
Health Care (7 entries)
Higher Ed (7 entries)
History (8 entries)
Home Improvement (1 entries)
Illegal Immigration (35 entries)
Internet (4 entries)
Israel (57 entries)
Jewish (49 entries)
Judicial Nominations (12 entries)
Katrina (0 entries)
Literature (1 entries)
Media (37 entries)
Music (3 entries)
Photoblogging (32 entries)
Politics (152 entries)
Porkbusters (5 entries)
Radio (16 entries)
Religion (1 entries)
Reviews (8 entries)
Robed Masters (4 entries)
Science (1 entries)
Sports (9 entries)
Taxes (2 entries)
Transportation (6 entries)
Unions (1 entries)
War on Terror (180 entries)
my other blogs
Three-Letter Monte

Rocky Mtn. Alliance
Best Destiny
Daily Blogster
Geezerville USA
Mount Virtus
Night Twister
Rocky Mountain Right
Slapstick Politics
The New Conservative
Thinking Right
View from a Height

other blogs
One Big Swede
American Thinker
Meryl Yourish
NRO Corner
Little Green Footballs
No Left Turns
A Constrained Vision

business blogs
Accidental Verbosity
Assymetrical Information
Carnival of the Capitalists
Cold Springs Shops
Commodity Trader
Coyote Blog
Different River
Everyone's Illusion
Fast Company Blog
Financial Rounds
Freakonomics Blog
Management Craft
Trader Mike
Carnival of the Capitalists Submission

business data
Inst. Supply Mgmt.
St. Louis Fed Economic Data
Nat'l Bureau of Economic Research
Economic Calendar
Stock Charts

colorado blogs
Pirate Ballerina
Pagan Capitalist
Boker Tov, Boulder
Colorado Pols
Jeff Sherman

<-?Colorado BlogRing#->

sites, not blogs
Thinking Rock Press
 help israel
Israel Travel Ministry
Friends of the IDF
Volunteers for Israel
Magen David Adom
 1939 World's Fair
1939: The Lost World of the Fair
The New York World's Fair: 1939-1940
The Last Great Fair by Jeffrey Hart
Iconography of Hope (U.Va.)
Images From the '39 Fair
Tour the 1939 New York Fair
Powered by
Movable Type 3.2


June 2, 2009

Blog Talk Radio

This evening, we'll be interviewing Evergreen businessman Dan Maes, Republican candidate for governor here in Colorado in 2010, and businessman Cleve Tidwell, who's facing a three-way primary (so far) on the Republican side in the race to take on interim Senator Michael Bennett.

Colorado's a red state gone bad blue, and it's a pivot state for the West and the rest of the country.  We'll be talking about the candidate's plans to counter the Colorado Model and start taking the state back for the Republicans.

April 1, 2009

Electoral College

Last night Michael, Ben, and I spoke with Robert Hardaway of the DU Law School to talk about the Colorado legislature's misguided attempt to amend the Constitution without, you know, actually amending the Constitution. I've posted before (and Twittered relentlessly) about the attempt to join an interstate compact to render the Electoral College a dead letter. 

He agreed that the Supreme Court was exceedingly unlikely to permit such a compact under Article I Section 10:

No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any Duty of
Tonnage, keep Troops, or Ships of War in time of Peace, enter into any
Agreement or Compact with another State
, or with a foreign Power, or
engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as
will not admit of delay. (yes, emphasis added - ed.)

He also pointed out that there's no definition provided of the "National Popular Vote."  Apparently in 1960, the newspapers added up the popular vote and decided Kennedy won, while Congressional Quarterly came to the conclusion that Nixon had won the popular vote.  The determination of what count to use would rest in the hands of the state's top election official, presumably - but not named as - the Secretary of State.

One point we didn't get around to discussing was the question of Puerto Rico.  Puerto Rico is, of course, not a state, but its citizens are US Citizens.  Would they suddenly be eligible to hold a Commonwealth-wide referendum and have their votes counted?  At this point, I certainly wouldn't rule out the State Supreme Court ruling that way.

I've separated out our discussion Prof Hardaway for podcast here, or you can listen to the whole show here.

March 31, 2009

Blog Talk Radio

Join us tonight on Blog Talk Radio as we talk about the latest economic intrusions and boondoggles. We'll also be talking aith Republican Secretary of State candidate Nancy Doty, currenty Arapahoe County Clerk & Recorder, about her upcoming race. And with University of Denver law professor Robert Hardaway about the (un)constitutionality of the proposed change to the way Colorado chooses its electoral votes.

March 10, 2009

Blog Talk Radio

Join us this week as we catch up with Dick Wadhams, current Chairman of the Colorado Republican party, who's running for re-election. We'll talk about the challenges he sees ahead for the party and his plans to meet them.

It'll be a counterpart to last week's discussion with Tom Stone, who announced his own candidacy for the state party lead a couple of weeks ago.

Our second guest will be Hassan Dai, who has written extensively about the Iranian Lobby - the Mad Mullahs' Lobby - here in the United States. An emissary of that lobby breezed through Denver and Boulder this week. Mr. Dai will provide the needed antidote.

8:30 Mountain Time, Archives are Forever.

February 22, 2009

Blog Talk Radio

After a week of special events, the Rocky Mountain Alliance of Blogs returns to our normal schedule of webcasting, Tuesday nights at 8:30.

This week, we'll be talking to Evan Coyne Maloney, creator of the film Indoctrinate U, which takes on the pervasive and threatening political correctness on college campuses. Liberty on Film will be showing the film at its inaugural event this Thursday.

We'll also be talking to one of the few, the proud, the free-market Canadians, Nadeem Esmail of the Fraser Institute, about the dangers of single-payer health care, as Colorado prepares to take up HB-1273 which would start dragging us down the path to that baleful system.

Tuesday nights at 8:30, archives are forever.

February 17, 2009

Blog Talk Radio

Had a fine show this evening, picking over the Pork Bill with a couple of Roast attendees, and a caller from Canon City, John Williams, plugging his new non-profit, soon online at (Callers are always welcome.)

We also spoke at lengths with local Ron Paul-contingent leader Chris Maj, mostly about Austrian-school economics. I'm a big fan of Russ Roberts's Econ Talk podcasts, and he's got a fine one on the Austrian take on the current financial crisis.

Next week: Evan Coyne Maloney, creator of Indoctrinate U. Liberty on Film is sponsoring a screening next Thursday, so find out what all the fuss is about, and then go see the movie.

Live From The Pork Roast

The RMA will be hosting a special edition of Blog Talk Radio today at noon, Mountain Time, with me in the studio, and Randy Ketner, of both Night Twister and Red County, calling in on remote from the State Capitol.  The Independence Institute and the Colorado Republican Party are sponsoring a Pork Roast there, in honor of President Obama's signing the Stimulus Pork Bill here in Denver this afternoon.

Listen Live as we make our feelings about this Federal power grab known!

UPDATE: Well, that was an experience.  Nothing like doing a remote on a windy day without a microphone muffler.  Try again this evening as we rehash the day's events, and talk politics and economics with Chris Maj of the Colorado Constitutional Republicans, a group spawned by the candidacy of Ron Paul

February 12, 2009

Tried By War

On this, the 200th Anniversary of perhaps our greatest President - I'm still holding out for Washington, but perhaps that's on the basis of his entire body of work - it's worth considering his role as Commander-in-Chief. Not merely as described in Eliot Cohen's leadership study, Supreme Command, but his role specificallly in shaping policy, strategy, and operations. Other Presidents have had to fill that role, although none under such critical circumstances as Lincoln.

James McPherson, who is rapidly becoming one of our finest popular Civil War historians, published his Tried By War: Abraham Lincoln as Commander-in-Chief last year. In it, he follows the progress of Lincoln as Commander-in-Chief, first trying to save the Union by preventing the war, then trying to win it as expeditiously as possible. The progress of the war itself is almost background, the battles and campaigns making cameo appearances in support of the main story - Lincoln's conduct of command.

Much of the anecdotal material is well-known: Lincoln's depressions after defeats, his constamt urgings of McClellan and other generals to press forward, and his exultation after the victories at Atlanta and Richmond.

What McPherson adds is structure. About 20 years ago, Edward Luttwak famously created levels of strategy - grand strategy, strategy, theatre-level strategy, and tactics. McPherson does something similar, defining five interconnected levels in which Lincoln - indeed, all commanders-in-chief - must operate: National Policy, National Strategy, Military Strategy, Military Operations, and Military Tactics. Lincoln worked in all five, although we typically remember him more for his hectoring his general in the area of military operations.

What McPherson remembers, and what Lincoln never lost sight of, is that war is also a political activity. From the outset, he set a National Policy - the preservation of the union. All else was to support that Policy, starting with National Strategy. At first, the best strategy was to ignore slavery as an issue. Later, as the war stretched on, and Southern Unionist sentiment failed to manifest itself, National Strategy changed to the liberation of the slaves and a more aggressive military posture.

Lincoln, almost before many of his generals, realized that military operations would have to be coordinated in time, to offset the South's advantage of interior lines of operation. And at the tactical level, he supported the purchase of the repeating rifle, and the eventual jettisonning of the cumbersome supply trains which slowed down Union advances.

McPherson also dwells on the political management of the war, especially during the critical election year of 1864. We all know that McClellan captured the Democratic nomination on a peace platform, from which he immediately began to pull back. Union sentiment swung back and forth, wildly over-reacting to both victories and setbacks, fanned by an equally voluble press.

Advances early in the year were tempered by defeats and stalls on both fronts, and by Jubal Early's attack on Washington from the rear. We think of the Lincoln-Grant relationship as rock-solid, but McPherson points out that:

Neither Lincoln nor Grant could have been in a good mood when they met on July 31 for a discussion that lasted five hours. No record was made of their conversation. Lincoln may have come as close as he ever did to chewing out Grant for all the failures that had occurred during the past six weeks.

Copperheads in the North were promoting reunion without victory, while the Southern leadership was selling the peace as a means to independence, after all. "The publicity surrounding these peace overtures should have put to rest the Copperhead argument that the nation could have peace and reunion without military victory. But it did not."

Even after Atlanta and Richmond, Lincoln understood that public opinion could be lost. We tend to forget how vital Sheridan's campaign in the Shennandoah and George Thomas's defeat of Hood in Tennessee were to sealing the final victory.

And in a further reminder that the more things change, the more they stay the same:

Union captives in Southern prison camps could not vote in the presidential election, of course, but most other soldiers could. By 1864 all Northern states except the three whose legislatures were controlled by Democrats - Illinois, Indiana, and New Jersey - had provided for soldiers to cast absentee ballots. Those three exceptions seemed to indicate that Democrats knew quite well which way most soldiers would vote.

Moat of these reminders and surprises come in the last 75 pages of the book. But the whole thing is well worth reading. And a reminder that a successful wartime President needs to be involved in all aspects of the conduct of the war. That it really is too imporant to be left to the generals.

The Adults Step In

Tuesday night on the Blog Talk Radio show, the RMA discussed the curious case of Marie Morrow, a senior at Cherokee Trail High School, a Young Marine in Douglas County, and a victim of the draconian zero-tolerance laws. She was first suspended, and awaiting possible expulsion over fake guns locked in her car in the school parking lot.

This is beyond absurd. The student who saw the fake rifles - used for drill team practice - did the right thing by reporting what he thought were real guns. But the suspension was meted out and the expulsion hearing held knowing that the guns weren't real

Now, the adults, in the form of Aurora City Councilman Ryan Frazier, have weighed in. Councilman Frazier, in far more diplomatic and statesmanlike language than I could have mustered, has sent the following letter to Mary Chesley, Superintendant of Cherry Creek Schools:

I've reviewed pertinent information from the Aurora Police Department as to events leading up to Ms. Marie Morrow's suspension and I've come to understand the circumstances surrounding this particular case. I am writing to express my utmost disapproval of any further disciplinary action, including expulsion, of Marie Morrow, a senior at Cherokee Trail High School.

I'm respectful of the Federal and State laws concerning firearms in and around school property and calls for mandatory expulsion of any student who carries, brings, uses or possess a dangerous weapon in and around school property. In this case, common sense must prevail as the circumstances reveal that not only were these "Drill" props, but Ms. Morrow is a member of the Douglas County Young Marines where she exercises regularly with these props. Additionally, these props are not dangerous, were not intended to be used dangerously, and further were stowed away in Ms. Morrow's vehicle. I understand that under state law they can be interpreted to meet the definition of a weapon, and that as administrators, your staff and legal counsel may feel there is little room for flexibility. However, I respectfully ask you to consider the reality and impact this will have on our community and most importantly Ms. Morrow's future.

I request that your administration and those parties to any hearing concerning this matter allow common sense to prevail. Please allow Ms. Morrow to return to school and complete her high school experience successfully.

Respectfully on behalf of myself and my constituents,
Ryan L. Frazier,
City Council Member, At-Large
Aurora, CO

It's worth noting in passing that common-sense revisions to these laws - passed or strengthened in response to the murders at Columbine - are being resisted or blocked by Democrats who are just ideologically opposed even to the appearance of guns. For a party that has just voted against making actual education spending transparent to those footing the bill, this is apparently what passes for education reform.

In the meantime, let's hope that the schools make the right decision in this case.

January 29, 2009

Blog Talk Radio

Tuesday night we chatted with Jan Tyler, who blogs on election integrity at her own site, and at Jan had something to say not only about her own work, but also about the trend towards paper ballots and the risks inherent therein. We also touched on the Democrats' blocking of registration and voter reform here in Colorado.

Our second guest was State Senator Greg Brophy, Assistant Minority Leader and scourge of coyotes everywhere. We talked about his efforts to forestall the hammer coming down on Colorado's energy industries, and proposed protections against eminent domain abuse. We also asked him, as we ask all Republicans who come on the show, what three core principles should the Republican party place front-and -center?

Listen here, or subscribe on iTunes.

Join us next week as we talk to Daveed Gartenstein-Ross of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies about the upcoming elections in Iraq, and where we stand in the fight against Islamist Supremacy.

In the second half, we talk with reporter Mike Saccone of the Grand Junction Sentinel about the Western Slope, the state legislature, and the state of newspapers not named "Rocky."

Listen live at Blog Talk Radio

January 14, 2009

Blog Talk Radio

We had a fun time last night, chewing over cell cell phone restrictions and other, more weighty matters in front of the state Judiciary Committee, and getting into fistfights over water, with State Rep. Ellen Roberts from Durango. And State Sen. Mike Kopp joined us for a cameo appearance for his take on the legislature from the Senate side.

You can listen here, or download the show from iTunes.

January 5, 2009

Free Us To Spend More

Tucked away in Friday's Denver Post was this little plea for flexibility from the state college presidents:

Several prominent college leaders want lawmakers to step aside and allow them to raise the price of tuition as they see fit -- especially with severe state budget cuts looming.

University of Colorado president Bruce Benson -- with presidents at other schools lining up behind him -- is urging the legislature to loosen regulations that public colleges and universities have to abide by in doing business every day.

Benson believes the schools could save money and time if they could make decisions for themselves and not have to run everything through the loop of the legislature and the state Department of Higher Education.

I'm sure they could save time, but saving money doesn't seem to be much on their minds. In fact, the one thing you almost never see is any questioning or examination of how colleges are spending their money.

Note that this is the same set of college presidents who ran as from the plague from a suggestion that they get exactly that flexibility in return for forgoing state support altogether. Translation: keep funding us, but relinquish any control or right to question how we spend or what we charge.

Yeah, that's going to go over well in a recession.

The single best description of the big business that colleges have become is still, "Higher Ed, Inc.," by James B. Twitchell, published almost four years ago.

We'll be interviewing CU Regent Tom Lucero, who's already announced he's running for CD-4 in two years, tomorrow evening on our Blog Talk Radio show, and you can bet that funding and spending at our state's universities will feature prominently.

December 16, 2008

RMA Blog Talk Radio V

Another edition of RMA's Blog Talk Radio is in the books.  Listen here or here, as Michael Sandoval, Ben DeGrow, and I talk with each other about the flux in Colorado politics, and with State Rep. Kevin Lundberg about state issues ranging from the budget, to PERA, to Medicaid reform, and education tax credits.

December 3, 2008

Blog Talk Radio

Last night, Ben DeGrow, Randy Ketner, and I interviewed Todd Bensman of the San Antonio Express-News about his work,which focuses on the border, and our relationship with Latin America. Todd's started a series about how the US is now serving as the Arsenal of Anarchy (my words, not his), the supplier of first resort for the private armies now roaming large parts of the Mexican countryside.

We Americans like to think of ourselves as Steve McQueen and Yul Brynner. It's too bad that we're arming Calvera.

Next week, we'll be joined by Aurora City Councilman Ryan Frazier to talk about Denver's neighbor to the east, Aurora, as well as state issues, and what the new president is likely to mean for Colorado.

November 25, 2008

Blog Talk Radio

Every Tuesday night at 9!

Tonight, I'll be joined by Michael "Slapstick" Sandoval, Randy "Night Twister" Ketner, and Ben "I'm here to educate you" DeGrow, as we bat around the week's news, and interview Michael Kerr, of Red County. It's not just Orange County any more!


Power, Faith, and Fantasy

Six Days of War

An Army of Davids

Learning to Read Midrash

Size Matters

Deals From Hell

A War Like No Other


A Civil War

Supreme Command

The (Mis)Behavior of Markets

The Wisdom of Crowds

Inventing Money

When Genius Failed

Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking

Back in Action : An American Soldier's Story of Courage, Faith and Fortitude

How Would You Move Mt. Fuji?

Good to Great

Built to Last

Financial Fine Print

The Day the Universe Changed


The Multiple Identities of the Middle-East

The Case for Democracy

A Better War: The Unexamined Victories and Final Tragedy of America's Last Years in Vietnam

The Italians

Zakhor: Jewish History and Jewish Memory

Beyond the Verse: Talmudic Readings and Lectures

Reading Levinas/Reading Talmud