Editorials

Vail Daily column: How does God intersect our lives?

November 22, 2014 — 

Controversy flares up over how God works in our lives. Three opposing convictions are: God works “hands-on;” God works “hands-off;” and, God is “hands-in” when he intersects life.

Divergent reasons for why rain falls illustrate the three views about how God operates in our lives. Some people are grateful their creator turns on a celestial faucet and “sends rain on the just and the unjust” (Matthew 5:45). They believe God directly intersects our lives in a “hands-on” way.

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Vail Daily column: I ‘like’ my Facebook team

November 21, 2014 — 

The advent of Facebook meant that despite siblings scattered across six states and one in another country, my family could vicariously experience a nephew’s fifth-grade graduation, a niece’s soccer championship and a sister’s 41st wedding anniversary. We became a virtually close family.

Unfortunately, Facebook did not confine itself to wholesome exchanges of positive familial information. No, we cannot have nice things because someone, somewhere, is thinking of how to make a buck off of them, or a billion bucks. What was once a vehicle for sharing important events and special moments has now morphed into an advertising fast lane, a corner preacher, a Zen master and a yard sale. Just as direct mail marketing corrupted snail mail and spam and phishing wormed their way into email, now the Facebook feed has promotional posts and ads based on creepy metadata algorithms. Visit homedepot.com and the next thing you know ads for commodes will compete on your Facebook wall with videos of dogs swimming with dolphins and kittens, well, just being kittens. Do not mention Marfa, Texas, to anyone, anywhere or tripadvisor.com will begin peppering you with destination updates.

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Vail Daily column: The whole story

November 21, 2014 — 

In today’s highly charged political environment how often do we really hear the whole story about anything?

We certainly didn’t hear it about Benghazi until well after the event; and even today, we still don’t know who ordered the stand-down that kept our Navy Seals and Marines from attempting a rescue. And as a result, four Americans including our ambassador are dead.

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Vail Daily column: A longing for the ride

November 20, 2014 — 

We sat on our boards off Pleasure Point during a lull. Suddenly the horizon humped up huge, dark, mountainous. We paddled for our lives. To meet the mountain, and whatever grew behind it.

As I swept up in the wave’s tow, a green curtain formed out of the black —translucent in the late afternoon sun — and began to curl over. I popped through and kept paddling when I landed on the backside to make sure I wouldn’t wind up dragged over the falls behind me.

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Vail Daily column: Teaching hate

November 19, 2014 — 

“You’ve got to be taught to hate ...” (Oscar Hammerstein, “South Pacific”).

The murder on Tuesday of five people and the serious wounding of several others while they were praying at a synagogue in Jerusalem is only the latest in a continuing pattern of violence and hatred directed against Israel and the Jewish people. It also replays a familiar scenario: A terrorist act is followed by condemnation (though not as strong as when Israel is perceived to be responsible for Palestinian deaths), followed by threats of retaliation.

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Vail Daily column: The last of ’em

November 19, 2014 — 

I was 9 or 10 years old, letting my arms dangle over the top of the metal gate to the corral, standing on the second or third green steel bar so I could see over the cattle already penned. It was spring in Montana, and the cold of the winter hadn’t quite worn off yet in the mornings. The low fog, typical during this time of year, was gently backlit by the rising sun and slowly fleeing the countryside. It was hard to hear over the din of the cows already inside the pens, but as another part of the herd started to rise from behind the hills, my stepfather’s cattle only got louder.

The silhouettes of the cows came first, their breath casting a dissipating cloud as they bellowed, seemingly complaining about having to get up and walk at such an early hour. They lumbered toward the corral, most of them already knowing the end goal. Occasionally one or two of the head would stop to look back, only to be lured to return in step with the rest of the herd by the never-ending mass of swishing tails and belabored hooves.

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Vail Daily column: Do we test what matters?

November 18, 2014 — 

Last week, thousands of Colorado seniors (mostly in the Denver and Boulder metro area) refused to participate in newly required state tests for science and social studies. These refusals represented an unprecedented level of resistance to the growing battery of state tests. Notably, this resistance came from an unexpected source — the students themselves.

This past Monday, I had the chance to visit and listen with a group of high school seniors at our own Eagle Valley High School on this issue (and others). While we had no such testing revolt here in Eagle County, these students were far from complimentary of these newly added assessments.

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Vail Daily editorial: A welcome slowdown

November 18, 2014 — 

Here’s some good news:

Avon residents this week learned that enough petition signatures have been certified to force a special election about the Town Council’s decision earlier this fall to purchase The Skier Building near the town’s library and recreation center. Town officials want to spend a total of $5.7 million to buy the building and finish the interior of what’s now an empty shell.

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Vail Daily column: What’s all this beautiful white stuff?

November 17, 2014 — 

There are a few facts I know about the recent change in our collective environment.

It was sudden, for some reason completely unexpected, and is somehow directly connected to one’s ability to drive a vehicle.

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Vail Daily column: Two-term presidents’ popularity plummets

November 15, 2014 — 

When their candidate is elected president, voters act like giddy children in a toy store on Christmas Eve. A president’s support usually dwindles, however, at mid-term after re-election. On the campaign trail, he promises the moon. Once in office, some promises can’t be delivered. Voters react negatively, feeling as if they’re clutching worthless moon dust.

Historian Lynn Olson describes mid-term voting patterns after a president’s re-election. The nation’s chief executive entered office with huge support of hope and change because he pulled the nation through dire economic crisis. “They still liked him as a person, the voters made clear” writes Olson, “but they were increasingly wary of his programs, his advisers and, above all, his manner of governing. There was a particular concern about what was seen as his attempts to gain too much power, with half of those questioned in the [Gallop] poll saying they thought he should have less authority.”

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Vail Daily column: The low cost of a chairlift ticket

November 14, 2014 — 

Anyone who has ever spent more than $2.50 to buy a rope tow ticket should be very delighted at the weather report on the news Friday morning. It was 9 degrees in Billings, Montana, and expected to drop to zero today and 2 feet of snow is expected in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. That means that all of the chairlifts on Boyne Mountain in Michigan should be operating this coming weekend. At least I hope so for all those hardy skiers who are willing to take their rock skis out at the beginning of the season.

I write a lot about the price of chairlift tickets, I know. Taken alone, they seem high, but when one realizes that the chairlift ticket is the magic carpet to an amazing world of freedom, they are quite reasonable.

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Vail Daily column: Combining two little words

November 13, 2014 — 

It matters not that your particular interests gravitate you toward science, art, poetry, architecture, sports, or even chaos theory; each discipline is fundamentally subordinate to politics. In his best selling book “Things That Matter,” Charles Krauthammer opines that politics dominates everything and that everything lives and dies by politics.

Even the most advanced cultures remain hostage to this dictum — get your politics wrong and everything else can be swept away. The classic example is Germany circa 1933 when Nazi ideology exercised the finality of politics and half the world’s Jewish population was systematically brutalized while its 3,000-year old culture and language were nearly rendered extinct.

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Vail Daily column: Where did the time go?

November 13, 2014 — 

You’ll have to indulge me even more than usual today. I have an anniversary to celebrate: My 15th November at the Daily.

Plenty has changed in our world since landing here the day before Election Day 1999. I had brown hair, for one.

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Vail Daily Hits and Misses

November 12, 2014 — 

Got a quick Hit or Miss about issues, decisions or goings-on in the valley? Send yours to editor@vaildaily.com to be included.

HIT: To the military people who have put it all on the line through our history to protect our nation, which is to say … us. Question why war exists, quibble with policies, sort out the good wars from the bad all you like. We’re talking here about the souls who answer this call.

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Vail Daily column: Feel the small act

November 12, 2014 — 

These little towns have a tendency to bring out the best emotions in me. I would like to think that it does the same thing for most of us, but maybe that’s not as common as I once thought. It’s in moments when I look up at the falling snow in the aspens that I begin to have those familiar nostalgic emotions that fuel so much of what I do.

My father only really gave me one direct piece of advice. Sure, he was always supportive ... likely more so than the average dad. He came to all the events, was around when I did something right, etc. As far as life advice goes though, there is only one thing that has ever stuck with me.

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After Election Day

November 11, 2014 — 

Last week, the Grand Old Party had much to celebrate.

Across the country, Republican candidates picked up seats in Congress, even taking control of the U.S. Senate. Here in Colorado, Republicans took over the state Senate and narrowed the Democratic majority in the House. Republican candidate Bob Beauprez came very close to taking the governor’s office, with John Hickenlooper holding him off by a slim margin as counting continued into the early morning following Election Day.

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Vail Daily column: Here we go again...

November 11, 2014 — 

Monday’s first real slam-bang snowstorm of the season brought with it everything we’ve come to expect — accidents, highway closures and stopped or creeping traffic.

In mid-afternoon, when the snow had finally started to stick over a lovely sheen of ice, Vail Daily boss Don Rogers reported that it took a half-hour to make the drive from Vail to our Eagle-Vail office. As is often the case during big storms, it took hours to untangle Interstate 70, our valley’s main street.

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Vail Daily column: These things happen, I know, but…

November 10, 2014 — 

Her name was Betty.

Betty Sue to those that knew her long ago, as her and identical twin sister, Nancy Lou, were gender products of their generation, born in the ’30s and raised during the ’40s in what was then the suburbs of North Dallas.

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Vail Daily column: Nukes are so ’80s

November 9, 2014 — 

Remember the good old days, when all we had to worry about was nuclear Armageddon from the Russians? Now for Act 2 in world destruction, enter Ebola. Visions of human extinction abound, worthy of an epic Hollywood drama. Yet, is there merit in those fears?

In truth, the fear of Ebola is not specifically about Ebola but rather a fear of that which is uncontrollable, resulting in a potential rapid death sentence, with little ability to preemptively detect the threat or, once encountered, limited resources to combat it.

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Vail Daily column: Protesting ‘cowboys’ are patriots, too

November 8, 2014 — 

The Jefferson County school board’s GOP majority skewers U.S. history. These well-off Denver suburbanites interpret the national experience as a record of mostly white guys blessed with entrepreneurial skills. Wall Street investors mixed pluck with calculated risk for rewards.

In contrast, cowboys out West, whose misfortunes mirror those of immigrants, women, laborers and African-Americans, don’t warrant equal print. Using civil disobedience to gain higher status, cowboys protested against white guys who controlled Washington and Wall Street.

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Vail Daily column: It’s been a heckuva great ride

November 7, 2014 — 

It’s been a heckuva of a great ride, really, but it is time for me to go. And, as I have learned in life, you have to make course adjustments if you are to remain true to your leadership journey.

Well, the time has come to do just that — make a course adjustment. I’m leaving the position of fire chief for Vail Fire and Emergency Services on Friday to take the fire chief position with Loveland Fire and Rescue Authority.

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Vail Daily column: Amateur skiers

November 7, 2014 — 

There is no such thing as an amateur ski racer.

In December of 1947, when Ward Baker and I were skiing at Badger Pass in Yosemite and living in our teardrop trailer, we got a part-time job working for the mountain manager, Charlie Proctor, who in the early 1930s was the ski coach at Dartmouth and he was paying us 25 cents an hour to shovel bumps on the rope tow hill. Charlie came by about 11:30 that first day and we told him, “We are going to go to Sun Valley for the winter and try and become ski racers. We think this is a good time to try it because the best ski racers in America will be on the Olympic ski team racing in Europe and we think we could do pretty well.”

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Vail Daily column: Projects represent investments in Avon’s future

November 6, 2014 — 

The town of Avon is investing in its future. The new Performance Pavilion, Main Street Mall and the purchase of a new Town Hall is creating a buzz. These great things happening in our town are intended to anchor our current businesses as well as attract new businesses while enhancing the lives of our residents and visitors. The goal is to create a vibrancy, a magnet to attract people and business.

The new Main Street Mall will be opening any day now, providing a clear vision of the direction in which our town is heading, a place where people come to gather, with future opportunities for shopping, dining and special events. The Carrie Fell painting on the wall of The Seasons building on Lettuce Shed Lane and the various bronze sculptures along the mall are indicative of the creative direction that is envisioned for Avon. The bronzes can be touched and experienced and multiple climbing rocks have been placed, making the mall an ideal spot for families.

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Vail Daily column: Ah, that’s democracy

November 6, 2014 — 

So, the Republicans rule again.

Last I looked, the Obama train had rolled ’em over, inspiring navel-gazing white papers on why the GOP was dying.

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Vail Daily column: Que sera, sera

November 5, 2014 — 

The results are in and your new elected officials have been chosen. But as I write this I have no idea who has won, as it is Election Day and the counting has yet to begin. Regardless, tomorrow after session three of my Compassion Cultivation Training, Bill, Sage and I are headed to Lake Powell. There we’ll pretend my iPad doesn’t work, and I’ll try to disconnect and readjust my frame of mind. It was eight years ago today (more or less on the date) that I was elected to be your county commissioner for the first time. And what a true honor and incredible experience it has been for me since.

I never dreamed this voyage would take me from the highs we were experiencing in 2007 (real estate sales and all-around growth) to the lowest of the lows (2010 to present with a 35 percent drop in assessed value of property overall), to what now appears to be a climb back out (this next reappraisal sees about a 12 percent improvement in values combining commercial and residential), and now with highs of a different kind the focus and front-page chatter. Who’d have thought?

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Vail Daily Hits and Misses

November 5, 2014 — 

Got a quick Hit or Miss about issues, decisions or goings-on in the valley? Send yours to editor@vaildaily.com to be included.

HIT: To Election Day finally arriving — and passing! For the candidates, there’s the thrill of victory and promise for the future. And, of course, the agony from coming up short. Mostly, though, we have sweet relief from robo-calls, nasty mailers and relentless mud-slinging over the air waves. Good riddance to all of that.

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Vail Daily column: Education is an economic driver

November 4, 2014 — 

A healthy and diverse economy pays almost innumerable benefits to a community. A few of these positive outcomes include wealth generation, job growth, economic stability, civic and cultural vitality, the creation of a stable tax base for essential public services, a better quality of life, etc. A healthy economy provides a springboard for families in our community to reach their dreams.

The link between the economy and education is critical and inseparable. While the beginnings of the American education system were premised on creating participant citizens for our fledgling republic, in reality it was the economic need for trained and skilled workers that spurred the creation of the system of public schools and universities we have across our nation and in Colorado.

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Vail Daily column: The no-name generation

November 4, 2014 — 

Born in the late ’60s, we became aware of the world in the ’70s and came of age in the ’80s. We are a downbeat generation, nestled between the Baby Boomers and Gen X-ers. I don’t even think our generation has a name.

We learned our ABC’s from “Sesame Street”, forming our perceptions of inclusion (people and monsters of all colors lived together fairly harmoniously) and exclusion (“which of these things doesn’t belong?”). We learned that it was OK for a man like Mr. Rogers to be obsessed with changing clothes. Later, we wanted to cruise on the Love Boat, look for de plane with Tattoo, and drive a Ferrari with a ball cap like Magnum PI.

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Vail Daily column: Big changes coming tomorrow

November 3, 2014 — 

When you wake up Wednesday morning, which is tomorrow for those of you not keeping track, the world as we know it today will no longer exist.

And to me that’s not such a bad thing.

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Vail Daily column: If Christians don’t vote, more Christians will be persecuted

November 2, 2014 — 

Mike Huckabee said on his show recently that only about 40 million of the 80 million evangelical Christians in America are even registered to vote. Only about half of those actually vote in presidential elections and only half of them, about 10 million, vote in midterms like the important election coming up Tuesday. His numbers seem pretty accurate according to various sources, yet nearly 80 percent of Americans say they’re Christians.

As is often observed, if you don’t vote, you can’t complain. If Christians don’t vote in this election and help turn this country back to our founders’ faith-based values, we can’t whine when the government steals more of our religious freedom like this:

• An administration and Department of Justice that sues a group of Catholic nuns called the Little Sisters of the Poor because they refuse to provide birth control and abortive drugs to employees. The Little Sisters were founded in 1839 and provide loving care to over 13,000 needy elderly in 31 countries, with 30 homes in the U.S. alone. They subsist entirely on donations; wouldn’t that money be better spent on the poor than on a government lawsuit forcing them to violate their religious beliefs?

• The lesbian mayor of Houston directing city lawyers to subpoena pastors’ sermons and their private communications with parishioners because they oppose a new “equal rights” city ordinance that would allow gender-confused men to enter women’s bathrooms and vice versa.

• Ordained ministers like Donald and Evelyn Knapp, owners of Hitching Post Wedding Chapel in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, are at risk of being sued by the government and possibly face up to 180 days in jail or $1,000 in fines for each day they refuse to perform same-sex wedding ceremonies.

• The government threatening to court-martial soldiers who talk about their faith and military chaplains who pray “in the name of Jesus.” Court martial could mean that soldiers who share the gospel or even discuss their faith with their friends could face criminal punishment such as imprisonment or be dishonorably discharged.

• Fresh from their success in stifling liberty and Tea Party groups (where Christians predominate) prior to the 2012 election, the IRS and the militant atheist Freedom from Religion Foundation reached an agreement in July to monitor churches and other houses of worship for “electioneering.” This is a twofer for the renegade IRS and the atheists: a violation of First Amendment freedom of speech plus freedom of religion. But “political” issues like same-sex marriage, abortion, sanctity of life and even taxes are also biblical and religious issues. And should the IRS be telling us how to talk about these issues in our churches?

• Continued government persecution of Christians living their faith, like the Colorado cake baker prosecuted and fined for refusing to bake a wedding cake for a “gay” wedding and the couple who runs Elane Photography ordered to pay $6,637 in fees because they refused to photograph a same-sex ceremony with which their religious faith disagrees. In the photography case, New Mexico Supreme Court justice Richard C. Bosson claimed that requiring the couple to relinquish their religious convictions was “the price of citizenship.”

• Schools that cave to threats of expensive lawsuits from atheist groups and are intimidated into telling students not to mention God or Jesus in graduation speeches, banning Christian clubs from meeting after class, forbidding prayer before football games and other activities, and scrubbing every mention of the baby in the manger from “Winter Solstice” events.

If Christians voted in greater numbers for principled Christian leaders, from school board to senator, these abuses of our religious liberty would cease. Here’s what George Washington had to say about it: “I earnestly pray that the Omnipotent Being, who has not deserted the cause of America in the hour of its extremist hazard, will never yield so fair a heritage of freedom a prey to ‘anarchy’ or ‘despotism.’”

Washington and the founders had had enough of despotism; it’s the reason they revolted against England. From the beginning, ours is the only nation in the world ever to declare in its founding documents that the fundamental rights of man come from God, not government or any king.

Anyone who doubts America’s foundation as a Christian nation has only to read the Declaration of Independence, written by Jefferson who liberals actually claim as an nonbeliever. The Declaration calls upon the deity three times and at the end declares upon “a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence,” another word used for God at the time.

I wonder if some Christians have a “conscientious objection” to voting because they see Jesus as more involved in the next world than this one. But Jesus said he came into the world to change it, and that required some aggressive worldly action such as taking a whip to the corruption of the money lenders in the temple. Jesus was a very political guy — he boldly confronted the “government” of his time, the Jewish religious leaders of the Sanhedrin ruling council. He engaged in civil disobedience and strongly criticized these rulers for ignoring the people and caring only about their self-interest. If he could have voted, he would have voted to throw the Sanhedrin out.

Many Christians may think there’s no need to vote because the Lord is coming soon through the clouds to sweep us out of here and into his holy presence. But Christians have believed that ever since Jesus departed through those same clouds, over 2,000 years ago. Christ himself told us that “nobody knows the day or hours,” but the guessing game continues.

Other Christians believe that since “God is control” we should stand passively by and let God work things out. But if the Christian founders of this nation would have believed that misinterpretation of scripture, they would never have revolted against England, the mightiest power of their time.

They did it in order to establish a new nation, one that would give its citizens unique privileges: freedom of religious belief, freedom of thought, freedom to worship and freedom to speak out against rulers’ oppression. All of these are under fire today. Keeping those freedoms means being “the light of the world” as Jesus instructed his believers; it means voting Tuesday.

Joy Overbeck is a Colorado journalist and author published in The Washington Times, Townhall, The Daily Caller, American Thinker, Breakpoint.org, mycoloradoview.com and elsewhere.

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