2nd effort to recall Gov. Jared Polis in as years stops working after team does not turn in signatures

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The long-shot bid to recall Gov. Jared Polis, the second in as many years, has fizzled after organizers didn’t turn in signatures that were due Friday to force a special election to oust the Democrat.

Recall Polis 2020 needed to collect 631,266 signatures in 60 days to force a recall election. The Colorado Secretary of State’s Office says it received no signatures by 5 p.m. on Friday, the deadline.

The group raised little money and its efforts received no backing from big-name political leaders in Colorado, making its unlikely bid even more so. No group in Colorado has ever amassed the number of signatures that were needed to recall Polis.

In a message on a private Facebook page, the organizers behind the Polis recall said they were asking for an extension to gather more signatures because of the coronavirus crisis, but didn’t say who was being asked for an extension.

Organizer Lori Ann Cutunilli didn’t respond to questions from group members about how many signatures were gathered. Cutunilli didn’t respond to phone calls or text messages from The Colorado Sun, though since Thursday afternoon she had been saying the group would be issuing a news release.

Cutunilli declined to say what the contents of the news release would be, and it had not been received by The Sun by 5 p.m. on Friday.

The 60-day deadline for signature gathering is specified in the state Constitution. Any request for an extension would have to be granted by the courts, Betsy Hart, a spokeswoman for Secretary of State Jena Griswold, said in an email.

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Because of stay-at-home restrictions at the time, a Denver District Court judge last spring extended the deadline for an abortion ban initiative to gather signatures. That group turned in its signatures on time and was given time to gather more signatures because it was only about 10,000 short.

The attempted recall was driven by allegations that Polis has overstepped his authority during the coronavirus crisis by imposing restrictions on people’s movement to try to slow the spread of the disease.

A spokeswoman for Polis declined to comment on Friday.

While Polis dismissed the recall attempt, polling has shown that his favorability numbers have taken a hit in recent weeks.

Gov. Jared Polis speaks to reporters at a news conference on Oct. 13, 2020. (Jesse Paul, The Colorado Sun)

The restrictions imposed by the Polis administration in regard to the coronavirus pandemic appear to be galvanizing opposition to the governor.

In a poll from Keating Research in October, the portion of voters who look at Polis favorably fell nearly 10 points compared with a poll in May, soon after the governor lifted his statewide lockdown mandate.

The governor’s favorability in October stood at 57%, with 38% viewing him unfavorably. Republican opposition drove the numbers downward, Keating Research said.

Staff writer John Frank contributed to this report.

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For Colorado author Jody Pritzl inquisitiveness as well as years of perseverance hit Xmas nostalgia

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Jody L. Pritzl

Jody Pritzl is the author of the book, “Immigrants, Ornaments and Legacies -A Story of American Made Glass Christmas Ornaments.” A student of the past, Jody subscribed to her first history magazine at age 11. For the 2019 published Christmas book, Jody spent hours at the Denver public libraries and at the Rakow Research Library in Corning, New York.  To tell an accurate story, the book took over 10 years to complete, including interviews with the descendants of ornament makers.               

Jody is a member of the Golden Glow of Christmas Past, a member of the Colorado Author’s League and a docent at the Molly Brown House Museum in Denver.  An ’80’s transplant from Wisconsin, Jody has a communications degree from Metropolitan State University and a master’s degree from Regis University.  

The following is an interview with Jody Pritzl.

UNDERWRITTEN BY

Each week, The Colorado Sun and Colorado Humanities & Center For The Book feature an excerpt from a Colorado book and an interview with the author. Explore the SunLit archives at coloradosun.com/sunlit.


What inspired you to write this book?

One of my favorite childhood memories is decorating my Grandmother Caty’s Christmas tree. She had these really bright and colorful Shiny Brite ornaments. They were bought shortly after World War II and packaged in a green cardboard box with a picture of Uncle Sam and Santa Claus shaking hands. 

As an adult I started accumulating a few Shiny Brite ornaments (okay, enough for multiple trees). I’m a curious person and I wanted to know when the ornaments were made, how much they cost and who was responsible for creating them. So I spent some Saturdays at the Denver Public Library. Wading through decades of Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News published during December, I found prices and some identification answers. The universe brings us what we need.

I was at the Brass Armadillo Antique Mall and found an obscure 1977 book on glass Christmas ornaments by Maggie Rogers and Judith Hawkins. With the $5 purchase I learned about the start of the industry in Germany during the 1800’s. My love of history meshed with nostalgia and the project kept growing. I wanted to give Christmas geeks some information to identify their ornaments passed down from generation to generation. I thought it was a really cool history lesson about Christmas and the companies that created a portion of the industry. I didn’t know I’d spend 10 years on the book to get it right.  

I also grew up spending a lot of time with my very German great-grandmother who loved to tell Old Country stories. Her home was across the street from the National Tinsel Company in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. National Tinsel was one of the first companies to make tinsel and sell Christmas decorations. It was founded by a German immigrant. As I poked around on Ancestry.com I found that the firms primarily responsible for the industry of Christmas decorations were all founded by German immigrants.       

What were the biggest challenges you faced, or surprises you encountered in completing this book?

While I started out researching Shiny Brites and the story of Max Eckardt and Sons I quickly found a rival company, George Franke Sons.  I had an ah-ha moment realizing that Shiny Brite was really a generic term used to describe a style of Christmas ornaments that were hugely popular after World War II. 

All of the ornaments were made by Corning Glass Works but decorated and sold by multiple companies. The more I researched I started to see a ton of misinformation being repeated. For example, websites usually reference only Max Eckardt selling ornaments to Woolworth’s but George Franke Sons Company had the contract as well. 

Another surprise was the link between Christmas ornaments and toys. Multiple times in history, tariffs had been imposed on German toys. Lumped together in the schedules with toys were Christmas ornaments. So the story has this point of dichotomy of German immigrants arguing to end tariffs on German imports and German immigrants lobbying for tariffs against their former country. American manufacturing became critical because the Frankes and Eckardts couldn’t profitably sell ornaments imported with a 30% or 45% tariff.  

There was also information that was difficult to validate. The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan, has one of the original Corning E Machines used to make the glass bulb blanks. In collaboration with the research staff we decided to put a stake in the ground and agree that 1946 was the year the hugely popular Shiny Brite Uncle Sam and Santa Claus box was launched.   

A lot of what’s been written about Christmas ornaments made it sound like a magic wand was waved and the Shiny Brite brand was born. But there were years of backstory. There were lawsuits and patents by the Christmas firms founded by German immigrants. I just wanted to myth bust that this all happened over night. I also wanted to tell the Franke story rather than relying on regurgitating false or oversimplified generic Shiny Brite history. 

“Immigrants, Ornaments and Legacies” by Jody L. Pritzl

Place this excerpt in context. How does it fit into the book as a whole and why did you select it?

“Immigrants, Ornaments and Legacies — A Story of American Made Glass Christmas Ornaments” is a mouthful of a title. The first section tells why and how key Christmas company founders emigrated from Germany to the United States.  The second section, the ornaments, deals with product history and the backdrop of the times of World War I and II. The final section, the legacies, is what happened to the companies and what family descendants remember of their families’ Christmas business. I like knowing how stories end.    

The excerpt is really the crescendo of American-made glass Christmas ornaments. I picked the excerpt because it answers common questions I’ve been asked during book signings. It’s what many people remember of their parents or grandparents’ Christmas trees. Today, new Christmas geeks are collecting ornaments because of their mid-century feel and designs. 

Tell us about creating this book: any research and travel you might have done, any other influences on which you drew?

 It took me 10 years to research and write the book. I’ll use working full-time and finishing my master’s as excuses for the lengthy process. With time a premium, I printed out pages and edited them as I rode an RTD bus to work and back. The book went with me around the world during business trips. I got so caught up in the story I ended up taking a solo vacation to the Rakow Research Library in Corning, New York.

I got to the point of wanting to humanize all the figures and research.  So I tracked down descendants of the company founders and interviewed them. The Franke family, whom I had never met, sent me their company minute book which had incredible documents. 

The Eckardt and Protz families were so gracious to share family pictures. Finally, after finishing up a 30-year corporate gig, I published the book last year. I felt I had to. Family descendants of the ornament decorators were becoming elderly. They had trusted me to tell their story.  I had to honor that trust and give the founders a fair legacy. Plus it was just fun.     

Walk us through your writing process: Where and when do you write? What time of day? Do you listen to music, need quiet? 

I use the writing software Scrivener but keep most of my research and ideas in three-ring binders and notebooks. Ideally, I start at 8 a.m. in my absolutely quiet office. I think, digest, type, scribble until 10 or 11 a.m. It clears my head and helps me process to take a break by riding my bike or walking.

I’m back at the computer by 1 p.m. typically until 4 p.m. If I’m stuck, authors help me. I grab a writing book like “Story Engineering” by Larry Brooks or “Your Life as a Book” by Brenda Peterson and randomly read a section. Out of the blue, words and ideas for my work come to me. It’s almost like reading about writing cuts through clutter of my thoughts, giving me clarity. 

It’s not using prompts but my brain saying, “You know here’s a thought, or try this.” After an hour of jotting things down I take another break. If it’s a good day, around 6 p.m. I add in by computer what I’ve thought about. If I’m draggy or stumped, I lower my expectations. If I’ve written one good sentence it’s been a solid day. 

I actually started keeping a writer’s log that includes good sentences I’ve written. It keeps me going. I have a quirky start and end ritual. Next to my computer is a mid-century modern wood pencil case with a sliding cover. When I start working in the morning, I slide the cover and take out my red pen, blue pen and pencil, and I know it’s time to work. At the end of the day, I put the pens and pencil back in the case and the sound of the cover sliding closed means I’m done for the day. 

I use music when I’m working on a particular scene or chapter. For one of my next projects, Queen’s, “Another One Bites the Dust” is really relevant so I listened to that song repeatedly. For another project, Arlo Guthrie’s “City of New Orleans” is the foundation for a trip a character takes. Small confession: When I was working on German immigrant chapters sometimes I did stream polka music.    

My favorite writing activity is to spend an entire day at History Colorado in the research library. I joke with the research librarians that their space is a casino for writers. If you don’t get up and look outside occasionally you don’t even know it’s raining. I’m finding my least favorite writing activity is the grinding out at the end. It’s that point for me when you’ve dumped everything in, you like it but know it still needs work. I’m hoping the writer’s log can help me fine-tune the process. I need to figure out where my time is well spent and when I’m floundering.     

What’s your next project?

I’ve got two cool things in the works. I’m working with the staff of the Molly Brown House Museum (now open again) to flesh out the story of J.J. Brown. He was the husband of Margaret (Molly) Brown. That’s why I’ve spent hours at History Colorado. 

There is a ton of myth around J.J. finding gold in Leadville, Colorado. It is another story of years of hard work rather than the Browns being an overnight success. I’d been working really hard on the project and then Covid hit. 

J.J.’s story is complicated and deep. I’ve reviewed at least 5,000 pieces of information and saved 3,500 documents from my research. There are a ton of footnotes to keep track of and so many details to meld into a story. To take a break from all the heaviness, I wrote a football book. 

In November, I’m publishing, “That Championship Year — The Story of the 1980 Washington High School Raiders of Two Rivers, Wisconsin.” I am inspired by underdogs. The town and high school hadn’t won any state championship since before Pearl Harbor. The school and coach then became the first high school in Wisconsin to win three state football championships in a row in 1980, 1981 and 1982. 

The book is as much a story of friends and childhood freedom as it is about football. But there’s a lot of football. I’ve talked to the coach, (now past 80) at least 20 times. His memory is incredible. As I’ve read the coach chapters from the book he corrects me, “No, I called the running play to the right not left.” It has been delightful to hear his stories. 

When I interviewed the football players, now middle aged, they say winning the championship set the stage for their entire lives. I wanted to honor that legacy and tell their story of grit and determination. That’s why I write. To tell well researched true stories that matter to someone even if it is just one family or individual. 

— Buy “Ornaments, Immigrants and Legacies” through Amazon.com.
— Read an excerpt from the book.

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  • For Colorado author Jody Pritzl, curiosity and years of persistence collided with Christmas nostalgia
  • “Immigrants, Ornaments and Legacies” recounts the 1950s rise of Christmas bulbs
  • Opinion: Black Americans’ trauma and courage led to Biden-Harris win
  • Second effort to recall Gov. Jared Polis in as many years fails after group doesn’t turn in signatures
  • Superintendent Susana Cordova is leaving Denver Public Schools

via Straight News https://coloradosun.com/2020/11/14/jody-pritzl-immigrants-ornaments-and-legacies/

Immigrants Ornaments and also Heritages recounts the 1950s rise of Christmas bulbs

Colorado News

Jody Pritzl is the author of the book, “Immigrants, Ornaments and Legacies-A Story of American Made Glass Christmas Ornaments.” 

A student of the past, Jody subscribed to her first history magazine at age 11.  For the 2019 published Christmas book, Jody spent hours at the Denver public libraries and at the Rakow Research Library in Corning, New York.  To tell an accurate story, the book took over 10 years to complete including interviews with the descendants of ornament makers.               

Jody is a member of the Golden Glow of Christmas Past, a member of the Colorado Author’s League and a docent at the Molly Brown House Museum in Denver.  An ’80’s transplant from Wisconsin, Jody has a communications degree from Metropolitan State University and a master’s degree from Regis University.  

The following is an excerpt from “Immigrants, Ornaments and Legacies.”

UNDERWRITTEN BY

Each week, The Colorado Sun and Colorado Humanities & Center For The Book feature an excerpt from a Colorado book and an interview with the author. Explore the SunLit archives at coloradosun.com/sunlit.


2020 Colorado Authors League winner

Bright Colors Bright Sales

Figure 12.1: Shiny Brite™ Skiing Snowman, 1950

The early 1950s continued the happy, traditional feelings of the post-war 1940s.  American boys asked Santa Claus for a Roy Rogers toy gun, cowboy clothes and Lionel train sets.  Girls hoped Santa would bring houses for their dolls.  Monopoly was a popular board game for families and both men and women joined bowling leagues.  Husbands shopped for power tools to build things with wood while wives protected their dresses with aprons while they cooked.  On Fridays, Catholics abstained from meat by dining out at local fish frys.  

Max Eckardt knew a good thing when he had it.  An astute businessman, he realized the patriotic fever of the war years still mattered to consumers.  Unless he was forced to, Shiny Brite™ of the early 1950s would still be sold as they had been since 1946.  Consumers were used to seeing the Shiny Brite™ logo, which was identical to the first one used by K and W Glass.  They trusted the Shiny Brite™ brand boxes dressed to sell with the help of Santa Claus and Uncle Sam.  

Figure 12.2: Shiny Brite™ Box, 1946 

Before Corning began mass production of glass bulbs in 1939, the market size was estimated between $1 and $2 million. By 1950 the U.S. glass bulb market was estimated at $7.5 million with 80% of the volume domestically produced.  Corning sent half of their 100 million bulbs in 1951 to Max Eckardt and Sons.  Despite a doubling of demand, there were still just the two original Shiny Brite™ decorating factories in West Bergen, New Jersey, and West New York, New Jersey.  Twenty-five million bulbs were also sent by Corning to George Franke Sons for decoration with the remaining output shipped to Coby Glass and a few other small customers.

Jody L. Pritzl

At the beginning of Corning production, Max bet Armory Houghton Senior, Corning Glass president, that Shiny Brite™ sales would reach one million dollars.  Houghton was skeptical and said, “I doubt you’ll ever reach that volume but if you do, you can have anything that Corning makes for a prize.” When Shiny Brite™ sales reached landmark sales of $1 million, Houghton paid his bet.  Delivered to Max and Dorothy Eckardt’s Rye, New York, home were Corning glass place settings with enough cups, plates and finger bowls to host 24 people.  

While sales had grown substantially, the three main Christmas bulb firms didn’t have 100% of the ornament market.  First, tree toppers were popular and Corning Glass did not want or could not produce the long and fragile 9” or 11″ objects.  Secondly, there was a market for ornaments that could not be easily produced in standard molds.  Americans still wanted Santa Claus ornaments to hang on trees but they would never be made in the United States.  Finally, the United States government somewhat assured Germany would always make Christmas ornaments.    

After World War II ended, Max Eckardt would have a disappointing business experience.  On behalf of the United States government, the Shiny Brite™ owner went to Europe to help re-establish the West German ornament trade.  Max and his wife avoided Lauscha and Sonneberg where relatives still lived.  The two cities, so responsible for developing the Christmas trade, were now part of communist East Germany.  The citizens that had carried the ornament business literally on their backs for decades were shut out of the industry post war.  It was so dire for citizens that American soldiers in 1949 held back 20,000 East Germans trying to cross the border to freedom.  

In East Germany, what few ornaments were made became a black market.  Bartered for razor blades, coffee, and cigarettes (all difficult to find in East Germany), ornaments were smuggled underneath barbed wire fences to West Germany.  Max and Dorothy focused their mission on the city of Neustadt, now part of West Germany.  Eckardt made an attempt to work with young glass blowers who weren’t really interested in ornaments.  With just a handful of men trained, the experiment by the U.S. government and Max was a disappointment.

While training future glass blowers failed, Max did bring mass production back to Germany in his own Shiny Brite™ factory.  He had closed his East German facility and moved the equipment to a new factory in Wallenfells, West Germany.  Once again Germany was a significant country in the Christmas glass bulb market, making 20% of the sales volume.  What wasn’t familiar to United States shoppers buying German ornaments was the box.  Instead of using the Uncle Sam box, German Shiny Brites™ were exported to the United States with an emphasis on craftsmanship, not patriotism.

Figure 12.3: Shiny Brite™ Packaging for Made in Germany Ornaments

While a $7.5 million market in 1951 may not seem large in current dollars, the market size would be an estimated $80 million. Shopping for shopping’s sake had become an industry.  While much of the world rebuilt after World War II, American jobs, particularly in union factories, were abundant.  With steady paychecks, American incomes grew by 30% from 1950 to 1955. With more disposable income, in towns like Manitowoc, Wisconsin,shopping became a hobby for women. At the turn of the century, average incomes for German immigrants were about $600.  By the mid 1950s, fourth generations of German immigrants had an average income of $4,418 a year.

“Immigrants, Ornaments and Legacies” by Jody L. Pritzl

With new found prosperity in towns like Manitowoc, Catherine and daughter Martha, the fourth-generation descended from Wernecke immigrants, wore fake fur-trimmed coats, leather gloves and perfect hair when they left the house. Women touched up their makeup and lipstick before, during and after shopping.  In the 1950s, women didn’t wear slacks or sandals or sneakers but seemed to live in high-heeled shoes.  

With more money to spend, consumers wanted different and nicer products than those offered by the dime stores of Woolworth’s and Kresge’s.  In the 1950s, women in towns across America like Manitowoc bought their shoes, hats and dresses at businesses like Schuette’s Department Store.  From 1954 to 1955 across America, department store sales for December increased dramatically.  In cities like Pittsburgh and Salt Lake City, department stores’ sales increased 25% from the previous year.  As fashionable ladies browsed for new items they also bought Christmas.    

P:\Books\Shiny Brite\Data\1955 amid soft.jpeg
Figure 12.4: Instead of Millions Spent on Christmas, Consumers Spent Billions by the 1950s

Time moved faster and product adoption far quicker than the decades when America transitioned from agriculture to manufacturing.  Christmas invaded American homes along with a new medium, television.  At the beginning of the 1950s just 9% of Americans owned a television set. Five years later, 63% of households in America had purchased a television set, and for most the device could only receive black and white images. Of the millions of television sets in existence, only a few hundred were able to receive the first transmission of color images in 1950. 

Across America, during the month of December in the 1950s it was hard to tell which was more important in family photographs, the Christmas tree or the television set.

Figure 12.5: Christmas Trees Begin to Be Shaped During the Growing Process

While Harvey Stauss proudly posed in front of the Christmas tree and television, neither prop was his. Both belonged to his mother Lilly Wernecke Stauss. Second generations of German immigrants bought televisions to entertain fourth-generation grandchildren. Max Eckardt did the same as an early adopter of television for his grandchildren Lynne, Anne and Allison.  When children came to watch television, Max would tell tales of growing up in Germany.  Lily Wernecke did the same, telling her Christmas stories of receiving a single orange as a Christmas present and decorating the family’s farm-cut Christmas tree with sugar and flour.  So much had changed in the span of 60 years.  

With television, consumer expectations rose and companies could charge more for products with no global competition.  While some Christmas decorations like icicles were still inexpensive at $.05 a package, the cost to decorate an average tree with three dozen decorated glass ornaments had risen to about $5.40. While the retail price for solid glass bulbs remained constant through the 1950s, more sales and profits were made by selling decorated balls and assorted shapes.  

Figure 12.6: American Made Glass Bulb Ornament Prices 

While newspapers, magazines and television were mostly black and white, the Sears catalog had expanded their content and use of color. Children and teenagers across the country combed through 462 pages of Christmas gifts in the Sears Wish Book. Female shoppers saw new purses, gloves and exotic clothing like an oriental kimono. World War II Veterans, now living in suburbs, were eager to decorate the exterior of homes with outdoor floodlights and reindeer mounted on roofs.  In cold climates like Wisconsin, a portable ice rink could be ordered from Sears for December skating.    

For Christmas inside the home, Sears sold cardboard fireplaces.  Not having to climb down a chimney, fathers of the 1950s portrayed Santa Claus in their own red-and-white suit purchased from Sears. Fathers entertained children with two favorite 1950s gifts. Powered by D batteries were Santa on roller skates and a Santa that rang a bell wearing a red-and-white fur fabric coat.  With huge market potential and the loss of the Woolworth’s account, Max Eckardt worked to establish his brand.   

Max had started using Shiny Brite™ as a trademark in the 1940s; in 1954 the brand became officially registered in time for the Christmas season.  A mass market was firmly established for Shiny Brite™ when Sears began showing branded boxes in 1948. By 1956, the new varieties of Shiny Brite™ were featured on nearly a quarter of page 291 in the Sears Catalog.

Figure 12.7: The Classic Shiny Brite™ Picture of Ornaments Everyone Remembers From the Sears Catalog

All of the Shiny Brite™ ornaments pictured on this page of the 1956 Sears catalog had two characteristics: all American made and all machine decorated. Otto Kohler’s 1940 mechanization for the first Shiny Brites™ had been updated. The new process was to first print a silk screen using light sensitive emulsion similar to anything printed with ink. The screen was then stretched across a wooden frame fastened to a semi-automatic machine. By hand, the glass Christmas ball is rotated and the screen moves at the same speed as the surface of the ball. Paint was then forced through an open area of the screen and impressed on the glass ball. 

The top and bottom of the bulb remain undecorated because the screen can only contact the area near the circumference of the ball as it rotates in this Baltimore decorating factory.

Figure 12.8: Decorating at the Henry Heidt Factory, Baltimore, Maryland

The goal of the new technology was to use most of the bulb’s surface, leaving just the top and bottom 1 inch blank for decoration. Each bulb was still made by Corning and typically each manufacturer used the same circumference for fancy images, creating a similar look and feel to the ornaments. In the future, consumers would refer to all glass bulbs with the generic reference of Shiny Brites™.   

Max Eckardt’s brand had a feeling that was imperceptible. Shiny Brite™ ornaments just felt different when they were hung on a tree. According to the Shiny Brite™ design director during the 1950s, “It would be wrong to make glass look heavy…we use bright colors like green, red and blue to convey the feeling of light and majestic.” And it was bright colors that Shiny Brite™ was known for versus price. Still decorated by hand by artists working in a labor pool were polka dot ornaments, striped bulbs and stars.  

Color was also used by the Frankes for their 1959 catalog.  Edward Junior was now just the third head of George Franke Sons in a 90-year period.  With the death of his father in 1956, Edward adopted new merchandising and marketing using color illustrations to sell boxed ornaments along with icicles and wreaths both aluminum and miniature.  He retained the tradition of selling German tree toppers and offering red honeycomb bells.  With new customers and sales fueled by a population with disposable income, George Franke Sons decorated 50 million bulbs while manufacturing five million wreaths and 36,000 miles of garland. While there were many technology advances like television and mass production of glass bulbs, some ornaments like bells were still decorated by hand at the Franke Sons Baltimore factory.

Bells were included as part of the fancy shape assortment and sold wholesale for $.34. There were two types of colors in the assortments for selection. The standard color assortment included red, blue, gold and silver.  The pastel color assortment consisted of pink, cerise, light blue, lime green and orchid.  Franke Sons sold over 60 configurations of standard size Christmas bulbs from 1¾ inches to 5 inches. Franke sold in multiples of dozens to the wholesale trade.  The popular round 2¼-inch solid color package included eight dozen red, six dozen blue, four dozen gold, four dozen silver and two dozen green.  

The Franke product line had grown to include packaging configurations for different types of retailers.  While they sold dozens packed in boxed cardboard, there were also assortments packaged for self-service stores in cellophane.  Ornament packs of six bulbs were also sold and miniatures 25mm and 14mm metric sized. The Frankes sold three sizes of tree toppers, 6¾, 9¼ and 11¼ inches, either frosted or as a standard color. It was no longer enough to have products for shoppers to buy.  Edward Junior adapted and still retained some of his legacy roots by selling boxes. A marketing gimmick of department stores was to offer free gift wrapping.  Edward Franke, just as his grandfather had done in the 1870s, sold paper boxes for gifts of lingerie, men’s shirts, silks, shoes and slippers.         

For brands to succeed there had to be a good product, sold for a good price, available when the customer wanted to purchase it and active promotion.  For a time, Max Eckardt advertised Shiny Brite™ ornaments on television.  But the main venue for product promotion remained the old media of newspapers and magazines. Each of the rival ornament firms aligned with two popular magazines. Through advertising, their products were associated with the magazine’s content, which was typically thought trustworthy.

The magazine that had been trusted for war news, Life Magazine, became George Franke Sons’ venue for marketing.  Max Eckardt and Sons received the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval for Shiny Brite™ to use in magazine advertising. Consumers trusted the seal that meant the product had been tested in Good Housekeeping laboratories and was backed with a two-year warranty. Both firms used the credibility of Life and Good Housekeeping magazines to increase their sales, each including a reference on the packaging.

With a multi-million dollar opportunity each year, the ornament firms would not give up but they would copy.  With shopping now a leisure hobby, the ability to capture impulse purchases grew more important.  Ornaments, once only sold by Woolworth’s and Sears, were now available at department stores and discount stores. All of the bulbs were the same — it was a matter of convincing customers to buy when they saw them. Both George Franke and Max Eckardt created colorful displays to feature their products and entice shoppers to buy.     

Figure 12.9 Shiny Brite™ Merchandiser
Figure 12.10 George Franke Sons Company Merchandiser

It was the exact same Corning blank bulb from the 1940s with modernized packaging.  Still, some Franke heritage elements were retained. When the founder George Franke built his Baltimore factory on Eutaw Street, he carried the crest forward from his European heritage. The Frankes proudly carved a large decorative capital “F” into the building. Franke ornament boxes repeated the crest elements featured on the Franke building.

P:\Books\Shiny Brite\Franke\Franke F with box.jpeg
Figure 12.11: The F Logo of George Franke Sons Company Brought to the United States From Germany

When the 1950s drew to a close, some of Christmas was the same as it had been for fifty years. Trees were not shaped and trimmed during cultivation so they displayed more naturally. Tinsel was still carefully draped on branches. Ornaments were now brightly decorated with more colors and designs. As the 1950s drew to a close, Christmas memories were preserved in color photographs or in black and white as they had been since the turn of the century.

Figure 12.12: A 1950s Christmas Photograph

— Buy “Immigrants, Ornaments and Legacies” through Amazon.com.
— Read an interview with the author.

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The latest from The Sun

  • For Colorado author Jody Pritzl, curiosity and years of persistence collided with Christmas nostalgia
  • “Immigrants, Ornaments and Legacies” recounts the 1950s rise of Christmas bulbs
  • Opinion: Black Americans’ trauma and courage led to Biden-Harris win
  • Second effort to recall Gov. Jared Polis in as many years fails after group doesn’t turn in signatures
  • Superintendent Susana Cordova is leaving Denver Public Schools

via Straight News https://coloradosun.com/2020/11/14/immigrants-ornaments-and-legacies-jody-pritzl/

Opinion: Black Americans trauma and courage led to Biden-Harris win

more news https://northdenvernews.com

All over the country,  people felt joy and relief on Saturday morning when they learned that former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris had beaten President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence. Many other people felt the opposite: Rage and fear and distress. 

One dynamic is fairly universal, however, and that is the experience of trauma. It is likely that we will look back at this time as an era of injury and wounding for great numbers of people in this country. And for some, the harm will be much more substantial than for others.

As we plummet deeper into the pandemic crisis, there will be unspeakable loss and distrust and perhaps accelerating social unrest.

Diana Bray

As a psychologist, I have explored the experience of trauma and its confounding contradictions. How we each respond to trauma is one indicator of how we will or will not survive its debilitating effects.

People going through the exact same experience or event will respond differently, based on their own personal and collective histories, and what they have experienced generationally, through their families and their communities. 

And that brings me to a point about the work of the Black community and communities of color in general, and their impact, in Georgia and all over the country. 

Traditional political campaign activities fell off tremendously in the spring of 2020 because of people’s fears of covid exposure, and Democrats did not caucus and canvass in the way that they had for decades, because of the pandemic. 

READ: Colorado Sun opinion columnists.

Though Republicans tended to continue their face-to-face campaigning, Democrats did not. Many isolated themselves and tried to protect their families, avoiding risky outings and limiting non-essential engagement with others.

The brutal killing of George Floyd changed that. Floyd’s murder mobilized the Black Lives Matter movement’s secret weapon: courage.

Enraged and shattered, people of color intensified their efforts and increasingly engaged in nonviolent direct action, and also activated an enormous grassroots election effort on behalf of Democrats. The Black population decided, consciously and unconsciously, that the work that was required at this very moment in history was essential, and that they were the ones who would be required to do it. 

Why? Well, because no one else was going to do it.

Through the Black population’s extraordinary self-sacrifice and grassroots mobilization, they took to the streets, and the phones, and every community network they had, and got to work. 

Their collective horror and frustration and fear fueled their labor. They did what they did because they had to. Their lives, and the futures of their children, depended on it.

Their efforts were a sacrifice because to be effective, they had to put their lives on the line. There was no end-around. Sacrifice seems to be another major ingredient in all life and death social uprisings.

The Black population mobilized the effort to tip the scales and bring about the Biden-Harris win. Just take a look at Detroit, Philadelphia and Georgia for a few examples of this dynamic.

In doing this work, they expanded their energy, became stronger, and consolidated collective power, because if a group survives trauma, there is the possibility that the individuals within the group will become more resilient. 

The Black population conjured up courage to shape their efforts into a masterful prescription which was exactly the medicine that was required. They did this work on the shoulders of their own families and those whose sacrifices came before. 

By doing the work in the middle of a pandemic, they also sacrificed their own individual safety for the collective good.

George Floyd’s daughter said her “daddy changed the world,” and we didn’t realize at the time how prescient her words were.

It was Black people who mobilized their grief into a winning formula.

And to them we must be grateful.


Diana Bray is a psychologist, mother of four, climate activist, mask-maker, beekeeper, and former Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate.


The Colorado Sun is a nonpartisan news organization, and the opinions of columnists and editorial writers do not reflect the opinions of the newsroom. Read our ethics policy for more on The Sun’s opinion policy and submit columns, suggested writers and more to opinion@coloradosun.com.

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The latest from The Sun

  • For Colorado author Jody Pritzl, curiosity and years of persistence collided with Christmas nostalgia
  • “Immigrants, Ornaments and Legacies” recounts the 1950s rise of Christmas bulbs
  • Opinion: Black Americans’ trauma and courage led to Biden-Harris win
  • Second effort to recall Gov. Jared Polis in as many years fails after group doesn’t turn in signatures
  • Superintendent Susana Cordova is leaving Denver Public Schools

via Straight News https://coloradosun.com/2020/11/14/black-americans-biden-opinion/

Whats Working: COVIDs most recent damages to joblessness; Colorado base pay mosting likely to $12.32.

get headlines https://thecherrycreeknews.com

The number of new weekly unemployment cases has been inching higher for weeks with the latest number now double what it was in late September. That tracks to the rising number of COVID-19 cases in Colorado and resulting local business restrictions.

But the sudden uptick has the state Department of Labor and Employment wondering whether there’s more fraud going on within Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, which is the federal help available to gig workers, the self-employed and independent contractors. The PUA program was heavily targeted by scammers this summer, with the state agency preventing $1 billion from being paid but still needing to recover $40 million.

“Given the large increase in PUA initial claims in recent weeks, CDLE is conducting a review to determine what issues may be contributing to the increase, including a deep-dive fraud analysis,” the agency said in a statement. The state said it will share the analysis next week.

Don’t miss the next Colorado Sun update on jobs and pandemic unemployment, Sign up here to get What’s Working in your inbox.

If this is anything like what happened in the summer, people with new PUA claims could see a delay in getting paid or other issues. The state typically does not notify users if there’s a suspicion that the claim is fraudulent. But as soon as I learn more, you can read it in a future What’s Working column.

As for the doubling of new claims? The number of new PUA claims increased to 7,281 last week, up 100% from 3,625 the week before. Overall unemployment claims were up 37% in a week to 14,764 for the week ending Nov. 7. 

Another notable increase: people who had exhausted their 26 weeks of regular unemployment and had to move to Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation. PEUC, which offers an extra 13 weeks of payments, added roughly 8,900 people last week, up 18.3% from the prior week.

Ryan Gedney, the Department of Labor’s senior economist, said that this isn’t necessarily due to people who are finally seeing their PEUC payments after a hold. Rather, it’s likely due to when folks make their biweekly claim. To better visualize the number of PEUC claims, he looked at overall continued claims since Oct. 17. The number of people requesting another unemployment payment as of Oct. 31 was down 5,800.

“Some individuals could have shifted to (State Extended Benefits), but most of those 5,800 will most likely have regained employment,” Gedney said.

There are 213,703 Coloradans with “continued claims” of unemployment, as of Oct. 31. That’s up about 3% from the prior week. 

However, Coloradans with unemployment cases on hold may not all be showing up in the data. Thousands of out-of-work Coloradans are not receiving unemployment benefits for one reason or another. If you’re not requesting payment every other week, you’re not counted in “continued claims.”  

Gedney said, “if a continued claim isn’t being filed then it just wouldn’t show up in the data.”

TIP: Even if your unemployment claim is on hold, request a payment every other week. If the claim gets approved, you’ll be paid retroactively or you can request a backdate. 

New rules: Equal pay, minimum wage, paid sick days

Amid all the unemployment kerfuffles (i.e. fraud, PUA holds, overpayments) over the summer, another division of the state’s Department of Labor was tasked with making the rules for a bunch of new laws passed by the state legislature. 

This week, the Division of Labor Standards and Statistics said several new rules were adopted.

Minimum wage: The state’s hourly minimum wage increases to $12.32 on Jan. 1 because the state Constitution requires it to be adjusted annually for inflation. Even in a pandemic, inflation rose to 2.7%. The minimum wage is currently $12 in Colorado.

  • Tipped minimum wage increases to $9.30 an hour, from $8.98.
  • New posters with the increased wage will be posted on the division’s website around Dec. 1.

Paid sick days: The Healthy Families and Workplaces Act, passed by the legislature in July, picks up where federal sick-leave requirements end. The new rules are part of the state’s Wage Protection Rules and address employees who get sick during a public-health emergency. The gist: 

  • The new law requires employers to allow workers to accrue paid sick days, at a rate of one hour per 30 hours worked and capped at 48 hours of benefits per year. 
  • During a public-health emergency, employees who work at least 40 hours a week can get 80 hours of additional paid sick leave. Part-time workers also qualify but must have been scheduled for work in the upcoming 14 days or worked in the past 14 days of the health emergency declaration.

Equal Pay: The Equal Pay for Equal Work Act, which aimed to address pay disparity for women and people of color, got some new rules, though not everything in the law was addressed. The division focused on the wage transparency in this round of rulemaking.That includes:

  • Job postings must include hourly wage or pay range, plus bonuses and benefits, so applicants know the wages of the published job.
  • An employer can still pay more or less than the posted range if the published range was in “good faith” by the employer’s reasonable estimate at the time.
  • Employees can file a civil suit against the employer but also file a complaint or appeal to the Division.

Scott Moss, director of the Division of Labor Standards, said that rulemaking for other parts of the Equal Pay law have not been addressed but the division is looking into whether those are in its authority. Some of those law changes include forbidding employers to ask about salary history (which was cited as a reason why some workers are stuck at lower starting pay) and requiring employers to keep records. 

But those things are part of the statute, he added.

“The statute is binding and doesn’t need rules to be in effect,” Moss said. “The statute itself says that complaints can be filed with the division for any of the compensation and job posting or promotion posting or record keeping requirements. And the statute then says that we investigate and enforce, and that includes authority to issue fines for violations.”

Opportunities

Unemployed law school grads from the University of Denver Sturm College of Law or the University of Colorado Law School can bide the pandemic by taking a free online legal bootcamp hosted by AltaClaro, which offers a training program for budding transactional attorneys to learn practical legal skills and normally costs $499.

The catch? AltaClaro donates one free spot to the schools only after law firms buy two of the seats in the class. AltaClaro does offer the law firms a huge discount of 90%. The company was co-founded by a DU law grad and has former law school dean Marty Katz as an advisor. It’s testing out the concept and hopes to “donate hundreds of seats” to the schools, a spokeswoman said. >> Details

On another data point…

As unemployment claims are rising again, I took a look at which sectors of Colorado’s economy are seeing an increase or decrease in jobs. No surprise, jobs that allow for remote work saw not just job growth during the pandemic but throughout the past year. 

Key for those looking for a new career is the “Professional and Business Services” sector, which includes computer jobs, legal services, architectects and engineers.The niche saw steady year-over-year job growth showing that there’s continued demand for those occupations even during a pandemic.

Note in the chart, several other occupations saw impressive year-over-year job growth too. But looking at the top spots — couriers and messengers, beverage manufacturing, and services to buildings and dwellings — those grew because of the pandemic and the increase in home delivery services, groundskeeping as folks stayed at home and … beer? 

“A lot of this (manufacturing growth) was actually being driven in the non-durable goods component of manufacturing. Think food and beverage,” said Gedney, the state economist. “Breweries are going to be under beverages. …If you break out the beverage component of that, we’re seeing in August and September and even July growth rates of over 10% compared to the year prior.”

Come back to The Sun on Monday for the full story on how some Colorado tech companies experienced growth despite the pandemic. 

>> Have a pandemic job tip or resource? Share it with What’s Working at tamara@coloradosun.com.

Polis’ $1.3 billion stimulus plan

In case you missed it: Gov. Jared Polis has a plan to inject $1.3 billion in the state’s economy next year. A lot of it has to do with jobs, though maybe not your job.

About $290 million targets investing in more rural broadband plus road and bridge construction. Investment like that is expected to help add 15,000 jobs in Colorado.

Another $168 million is to fund that one-time $375 payment to the majority of Coloradans on unemployment. There is also financial support for restaurants and small businesses. 

This is Polis’ package so it still must be approved by the state legislature.

Read the details covered by my colleague John Frank: Colorado governor says his $1.3 billion stimulus plan would create up to 15,000 jobs, but questions abound.


I’ve been trying to get caught up on all the emails from folks who’ve shared their unemployment woes with me. Thank you! I’m unable to respond to all requests but it does help me figure out what questions to ask and see where the holes are in the state’s system. Keep those coming — plus I’d love to hear whether your case was resolved too. Email me at tamara@coloradosun.com. If you’re still researching an issue, here are some quick links to the story archives The Sun has mentioned overpayments, unemployment fraud and PUA issues.

Thanks for turning in to this week’s column. Reach out if you’ve got a question, gripe or helpful tip. And if you’d like to support What’s Working, share this with everyone you know or become a member of The Colorado: coloradosun.com/join. See you next week! ~tamara


What’s Working is a new Colorado Sun column for anyone whose lost a job or trying to survive as a business. Read the archive and don’t miss the next one. Get this free newsletter delivered to your inbox by signing up at coloradosun.com/getww.

MORE: Read stories on Colorado jobs and unemployment

  • What’s Working: As coronavirus cases increased, so did the number of Coloradans filing for unemployment
  • What’s Working: A new $375 stimulus, small business grants and tales from Colorado’s unemployment queue
  • What’s Working: Colorado unemployment rate drops to 6.4%, $19 million for small businesses, plus “Lost Wages” leftovers
  • What’s Working: Unemployment backlogs, backdates and overpayments in Colorado
  • What’s Working: “Lost wages” gets a new deadline, overpayment forgiveness, small business updates and more
  • What’s Working: One third of Colorado’s share of “Lost Wages” still unclaimed, plus a new portal to the unemployment office
  • What’s Working: Thousands of fraud holds lifted for Colorado unemployed, while more face pricier health insurance
  • Unemployed and nearly homeless, jobless Coloradans whose benefits are on hold are crying for help
  • The $300 “Lost Wages” bonus begins, Amazon is hiring like crazy and answers from Colorado’s labor department
  • What’s Working: Extra $300 unemployment benefit gets a start date and how Colorado overpaid $40 million in jobless aid
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  • What’s Working: COVID’s latest damage to unemployment; Colorado minimum wage going to $12.32
  • For Colorado author Jody Pritzl, curiosity and years of persistence collided with Christmas nostalgia
  • “Immigrants, Ornaments and Legacies” recounts the 1950s rise of Christmas bulbs
  • Opinion: Black Americans’ trauma and courage led to Biden-Harris win
  • Second effort to recall Gov. Jared Polis in as many years fails after group doesn’t turn in signatures

via Straight News https://coloradosun.com/2020/11/14/covid-unemployment-colorado-minimum-wage-working/

DPS Super Susana Cordova Is Resigning Q&A with Board member Brad Laurvick

get headlines https://thecherrycreeknews.com

Denver Public Schools Superintendent Susana Cordova Is Resigning – Q&A with Board member Brad Laurvick

Brad Laurvick, Denver Public Schools answers questions about the abrupt departure of Denver Superintendent Susana Cordova:

Was this a surprise?

•Yes, It was unexpected.

DPS appears to have a weak bench to source interims from, especially through the prism of staff likely to have political support of the board majority. Does that mean an external interim candidate?

•We have just begun our conversations about an interim and will keep the community updated as we do so.

The Cordova tenure has been extremely challenging. How does that bear on finding a successor?

•Navigating the conclusion of the teacher strike, state budget stabilization cuts, and the pandemic has required a lot from everyone at DPS. And the current realities of the pandemic will require a superintendent willing to get right to work addressing the crisis priorities the board has named to best support our students and staff.

There has been ideological continuity from Bennet to Boasberg to Cordova. That continuity now seems disrupted. What’s next?

•We are just beginning our work on the Denver Plan 2030, a new ten year strategic vision for the district. I look forward to using the landmarks of the plan to shape our choice in a new superintendent.

How is this going to impact pandemic-related decision-making in the short and medium term?

•The superintendent will turn decision making authority over to the board selected interim as we finalize a date for transition. All decisions have been made in consultation with doctors from Denver Health, board representation, and input from teachers and building leaders- this team will continue to support our interim leader.

Due to the unprecedented crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, BRIO has dedicated 100% of their operations to importing critically needed respirator masks. Featuring a 3D comfort design, these KN95 masks provide filtration against particulate pollution, gases, as well as bacteria, viruses, and most odors. It’s made with comfortable stretch fabric and has convenient earloops for a tight fit. These masks are perfect for everyday wear. Order your 5-Pack now!

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Note: These masks are not FDA approved nor are they N95. These masks are tested to meet the standards for Chinese KN-95. Tests confirmed almost 90% of particulate pollution, bacteria and viruses were successfully filtered when the mask was used. 20x more effective than cloth masks.

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FFP2 – EN149 Filtration Level

via Straight News https://northdenvernews.com/dps-super-susana-cordova-is-resigning-qa-with-board-member-brad-laurvick/

Did you miss our previous article…
https://danpabon.com/carman-cant-miss-thanksgiving-at-grandmas-then-brace-yourself-for-christmas-in-the-icu/

Carman: Cant miss Thanksgiving at Grandmas? Then brace yourself for Christmas in the ICU.

Colorado News

For eight months now, six of us have been meeting every Saturday evening for happy hour and lively conversation. There have been occasional interruptions, but only a few, and the surprising part is that before COVID we got together far less often, letting busy lives and social calendars rule the day.

Now we’ve coalesced into a vital pandemic support group, propping each other up during times of loneliness and anxiety, sharing book and TV reviews, talking politics, and popping bottles of champagne on a certain recent Saturday when we had real cause for celebration.

It’s been fun and it all has happened in a sterile virtual Zoom environment.

Diane Carman

Let me be clear, this is not the same as hugging my grandchildren or sitting around a table and sharing a meal together. But it has been surprisingly sustaining.

It’s a touchstone of intimacy and friendship at a time when everything is wildly out of control. It’s a lifeline when we’re all just human flotsam bobbing in the turbulent waves of the pandemic. 

Which brings us to Thanksgiving.

Talk about turbulence. People who have been vigilant about COVID precautions are suddenly roiling little bundles of emotional turmoil as the holiday approaches. They’re losing it.

Pandemic fatigue is real and has reached epidemic proportions just as we are facing the holiday season when families travel over the river and through the woods to mix multiple generations, eat candied yams with toasted marshmallows, and shed virus particles with reckless abandon. 

Even in a normal pre-COVID holiday season, family get-togethers provide ideal environments for spreading the flu, a disease that killed 34,000 Americans last year and about 60,000 Americans in the 2017-18 flu season, despite the availability of safe and effective vaccines.

This year while we have the flu circulating, we also have the far deadlier COVID-19 virus, which has claimed more than 240,000 Americans so far – and that’s during a period when  the travel industry has all but collapsed and, except for the White House and frat boys, most people have limited their interactions to the occasional lawn chair-in-the-driveway gathering or walks in the park. 

READ: Colorado Sun opinion columnists.

Now, Colorado is experiencing its highest case counts and hospitalizations since the pandemic began. ICU capacity is dangerously close to maxing out.

School districts, tallying spikes in the numbers of cases among students, teachers and their communities, are sending the kids home for remote learning. 

Denver has ordered a 10 p.m. curfew.

The virus is so widespread, contact tracing is all but impossible.

Still, as Gov. Jared Polis told The Sun last week, a statewide lockdown is not happening. 

We know what we need to do to control the outbreak, he said. We’ve all learned a lot since March.

“Look, if the Convention Center is filling up and there’s not enough beds, then we simply look at the lesser of two evils and the calculation might change,” he said. “Certainly, I share the goal with everybody in Colorado to avoid a lockdown, really, however we can.”

And despite all of that, in the face of the prospect of a long dark winter with only Netflix and Zoom to keep us company, a whole lot of folks are looking at the holidays and just saying, “Fork it.”

They’re busting out of their safe pandemic bubbles, welcoming the kids from places near and far, and planning a joyous orgy of overeating and viral transmission.

United Airlines has added 1,400 flights to accommodate the increased holiday demand, anticipating the highest passenger numbers since the pandemic began in March. JetBlue and other airlines are also adding flights and filling seats.

Jonesing for a real family gathering, people everywhere have decided that the risk – though higher than ever – is acceptable.

Even if they know they’re being irrational.

As they watch the scene playing before their eyes, health experts are bracing for an avalanche.

The Colorado Association of Public Health Directors is pleading with the governor to impose stricter limits on public interaction immediately. In a Nov. 5 letter, the association said, “Cases are increasing at an alarming rate. Contact tracing and investigation capacity is tapped. Hospitalization rates are at an all-time high since the pandemic began and are projected to exceed capacity by year’s end.” 

As Anthony Fauci has said, “All the stars are aligned in the wrong place as you go into the fall and winter season, with people congregating at home indoors. You could not possibly be positioned more poorly.

“We’re in for a whole lot of hurt.”

COVID is out of control. Remember those phony death panels Sarah Palin was talking about a decade ago? They’ll be real if we run out of hospital beds. 

So, instead of a throw-caution-to-the-wind Thanksgiving blowout, I’m going to start planning a fabulous post-pandemic, post-vaccination family vacation to look forward to somewhere wonderful with beaches, umbrella drinks and a blissfully clear conscience.

In the meantime, Thanksgiving day for us will bring a lawn chair-in-the-driveway gathering, a walk in the park or, if the weather is just too inhospitable, a Zoom celebration with pumpkin pie and spray-can whipped cream fights. 

It will have to be good enough.

Because I don’t know about you, but a turkey dinner with my kids, lovely as that would be, is not worth dying for. 


Diane Carman is a Denver communications consultant.


The Colorado Sun is a nonpartisan news organization, and the opinions of columnists and editorial writers do not reflect the opinions of the newsroom. Read our ethics policy for more on The Sun’s opinion policy and submit columns, suggested writers and more to opinion@coloradosun.com. 

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  • Carman: Can’t miss Thanksgiving at Grandma’s? Then brace yourself for Christmas in the ICU.
  • Nicolais: Grand Trump Party likely to sabotage any plans to revitalize Colorado’s GOP
  • Littwin: Imagine a president who wouldn’t risk the nation’s security in order to try to steal an election
  • Opinion: Biden should start the healing by pardoning Trump
  • Opinion: Our Capitol Christmas Tree makes me wish for healthy Colorado forests

via Straight News https://coloradosun.com/2020/11/15/coronavirus-thanksgiving-masks-lockdown-opinion/

Nicolais: Grand Trump Party likely to sabotage any plans to revitalize Colorados GOP

Colorado News

The bi-annual navel-gazing by the Colorado Republican Party began not long after election night ended. Talk about a post-Trump landscape and embracing a new message are misplaced. Neither is likely to happen, and the state GOP will consequently to continue its precipitous drop into irrelevance.

As an avowed Never-Trump conservative, I heard plenty of Republican leaders grouse about the president privately. Most were hesitant to speak out publicly because they wanted to remain in a position to help guide the party’s direction after the election.

While I understand the logic, I think it is based on a faulty premise. The Republican Party is now and, for the foreseeable future, will be the Trump Party.

Mario Nicolais

Even as Trump refuses to concede his overwhelming loss to Joe Biden on Nov. 3, both in the popular vote and the Electoral College, he is already making plans to run again in 2024. At the same time, his son appears to be laying groundwork to takeover the Republican National Committee.

In the interim it is not hard to envision Trump firing up his own propaganda network. After his livid reaction to Fox News calling Arizona in favor of Biden before other major networks, the opportunity exists to both enrich himself and keep his name front and center. And all without the pesky business of nominally running the country.

It is the perfect post-election world for Trump.

It is also a combination that would be devastating not just to potential 2024 GOP candidates like Ambassador Nikki Haley or Sens. Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio, but to every Republican swamped by Trump’s toxic tsunami over the past two election cycles.

Nowhere has that been more evident than Colorado.

READ: Colorado Sun opinion columnists.

Sen. Cory Gardner never had a chance in his re-election. As Republican operative Tyler Sandberg memorably stated, “Jesus Christ himself couldn’t overperform Trump by double digits.” 

Consequently, when Trump lost the state by nearly 14 points, it spelled doom for Gardner. Every Republican contemplating a 2022 run for statewide office has to look at that and shudder about the prospect of an unleashed Trump continuing as the de facto head of the party.

Even if Trump himself doesn’t run, he would likely step aside only for his Kendall Roy-esque son or Patrick Bateman-obsessed daughter. But don’t count on it.

Things do not get better for those hoping to plan a path forward for the Colorado GOP at the state level. While most have circled the wagon around U.S. Rep.-Elect Lauren Boebert, it is instructive to remember that her talk-radio persona did not help to flip a seat from red to blue.

To the contrary, she won a previously held seat by a lower margin and fewer votes than the Republican she usurped in June. During the 2016 presidential election, Scott Tipton won the 3rd Congressional District by more than 14 points and nearly 55,000; Boebert did the same with only a six-point margin and less than 25,000 votes.

Furthermore, Boebert’s charismatic, bombastic style will both dominate state headlines and thrill a broad segment of the GOP base less interested in governing than having someone “speak” and “fight” for them. That is something Boebert will do plenty given her preternatural proclivity for finding friendly microphones and television cameras. 

Boebert is destined to become a far-right media – maybe even Trump TV? – darling, and Democrats in Colorado couldn’t be more excited. While she is unlikely to notch any legislative wins, she will make their job in competitive legislative seats that much easier.

Republicans can take some solace in recent primary victories and the caucus selection of Hugh McKean as state House minority leader. Those are positive steps in the right direction.

But they may be little more than footprints in the sand if the Trump tide rolls back over them.

As Colorado continues to turn a deeper and deeper shade of blue, the state GOP has structural problems that will make it the Mountain West version of California – an irrelevant afterthought in governance for the state of Colorado. 


Mario Nicolais is an attorney and columnist who writes on law enforcement, the legal system, health care and public policy. Follow him on Twitter: @MarioNicolaiEsq


The Colorado Sun is a nonpartisan news organization, and the opinions of columnists and editorial writers do not reflect the opinions of the newsroom. Read our ethics policy for more on The Sun’s opinion policy and submit columns, suggested writers and more to opinion@coloradosun.com. 

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The latest from The Sun

  • Carman: Can’t miss Thanksgiving at Grandma’s? Then brace yourself for Christmas in the ICU.
  • Nicolais: Grand Trump Party likely to sabotage any plans to revitalize Colorado’s GOP
  • Littwin: Imagine a president who wouldn’t risk the nation’s security in order to try to steal an election
  • Opinion: Biden should start the healing by pardoning Trump
  • Opinion: Our Capitol Christmas Tree makes me wish for healthy Colorado forests

via Straight News https://coloradosun.com/2020/11/15/donald-trump-colorado-republicans-politics-opinion/

Littwin: Imagine a head of state that wouldnt risk the countries safety and security in order to try to steal a political election

get headlines https://thecherrycreeknews.com

Imagine if Donald Trump, at this moment, were to do the very least any other president would do in his place.

You can’t imagine. You might as well imagine John Lennon writing the lyrics.

The very least would be, even as Trump baselessly contests the election results, to allow Joe Biden to move ahead with the transition because, let’s agree, not allowing the transition to proceed, not allowing Biden access to classified intelligence briefings, represents a true danger to the country. 

Mike Littwin

Don’t take my word for it. The great historian, Sean Wilentz, says that if Trump, in the end, continues to question the legitimacy of Biden’s victory, “It would be an act of disloyalty unsurpassed in American history except by the Southern secession in 1860-61, the ultimate example of Americans refusing to respect the outcome of a presidential election.”

Trump has other things on his mind. He’s now busily using Twitter to war with his old pals at FoxNews — because they were apparently disloyal to have called Arizona for Biden — and is now crowing, I guess, over Fox’s low daytime ratings. Seriously. 

Presumably in response to his critics, Trump was expected to take some time out Friday to update us on a possible COVID vaccine and how it would be distributed. It would be nice, as COVID cases skyrocket, if Biden had access to more detailed information. We know how bad it’s getting, and it’s even worse than that. As the Washington Post is reporting, more than 130 Secret Service agents have contracted the virus or are quarantined because they’ve come in contact with an infected person. It is thought that Trump’s flurry of campaign rallies — with no social distancing and little mask wearing — is at the source of the problem.

Still, given the urgency of the situation, let’s say, just for laughs, that Trump is persuaded to move ahead with the transition, which he could then stop if — and this will never happen — he somehow still wins the presidency. Even some of the less timid Republicans are saying as much. (Not Cory Gardner, of course, who’s still hiding out in that undisclosed location.) It’s a win-win situation, but there’s no such thing to Trump — whose guiding principle is that only one side gets to win.

You can’t imagine Trump doing even that much, or little, because if we could, it wouldn’t be Donald Trump. And if he weren’t Donald Trump, he wouldn’t be the would-be authoritarian who is a global laughing stock and, at the same time, the leader of an American cult following that numbers in the tens of millions. Refusing to concede is the political equivalent of shooting someone on 5th Avenue. The base is the base.

Trump doesn’t know how to lose graciously, or, for that matter, win graciously. You may remember the ill-fated commission to find the so-called 3 million illegal voters in the 2016 election. They didn’t find, uh, any. No, there is nothing gracious about Trump, and yet 71 million voted for him, and that’s the great tragedy of 2020. In the midst of the worst pandemic in a century, with tens of thousands of lives needlessly lost, with the country in economic crisis, with schools not made sufficiently safe in many places for kids to attend, he gets 71 million votes. No loser ever got that many. Of course, it’s still 5 million fewer and counting than Biden received.

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So where does Trump go from here?

If that question doesn’t worry you, you haven’t been paying attention. I wouldn’t worry too much about a coup. You think the losers and suckers in the military are going to defend Trump? And I wouldn’t worry too much, either, about whether he will leave the White House on time. He’s not going to be frog-marched out. But that doesn’t mean he’d attend Biden’s inauguration or that he’d even talk to him.

What Trump will almost certainly do is continue his revenge firing spree. My guess is that the only thing saving Dr. Tony Fauci, as one reader suggested, is that he’s not a political appointee. Firing him would be messy, and then watching Biden immediately rehiring him would make Trump look like a fool.

He’ll keep up the purging, as at the Pentagon, and also among U.S. cybersecurity officials who found that the election was “the most secure in American history.” It would still be surprising if FBI Director Christopher Wray survives. This reminds me of nothing more than how truly authoritarian governments respond — by burning all the papers as they’re being chased from office.

READ: More columns by Mike Littwin.

There is a theory that Trump’s refusal to concede is a way to keep the base fired up for the two Senate runoffs, scheduled for Jan. 5, in Georgia. The Dems need to win both to win control of the Senate. But I doubt if Trump particularly cares who wins in Georgia, where the Republican senators — in keeping with the 2020 theme — accused the Georgia secretary of state of running a shoddy election and called on him to resign. The kicker here is that the secretary of  state is a Republican.

I think it’s just as likely that Trump’s refusal to concede could backfire in Georgia, which has gone for Biden by a little more than 14,000 votes at last counting. It could just as easily fire up the Democrats, who could get one more shot at voting to thwart Trump. In any case, you can guess it will be the most expensive set of senatorial elections in history.

In a great piece in the New York Times Friday, Maggie Haberman writes that Trump has no grand strategy to stop Biden. He knows, in times of lucidity, that he has no chance of winning. He still, at times, clings to the idea that in states that he loses, if there’s a Republican-controlled legislature, it will bail him out by choosing their own electors for the Electoral College. That would not only be a constitutional crisis beyond reckoning, it might also be the end of the Electoral College. It won’t happen.

What Haberman also reports is that Trump is beginning to whisper about running in 2024, which would, of course, freeze the Republican field and allow Trump, in whatever he does next, to set up his government in exile at Mar-a-Lago.

Meanwhile, the farce continues. Presumably in response to the Times story, Trump gave an interview to Byron York at the Washington Examiner in which he outlines a path to, uh, victory, overturning one state count after another. “Never bet against me,” he warns.

The advice comes a little late. At last count, 76 million Americans have made that bet — enough, it seems, for Biden to win 306 Electoral College votes and the presidency.


Mike Littwin has been a columnist for too many years to count. He has covered Dr. J, four presidential inaugurations, six national conventions and countless brain-numbing speeches in the New Hampshire and Iowa snow.


The Colorado Sun is a nonpartisan news organization, and the opinions of columnists and editorial writers do not reflect the opinions of the newsroom. Read our ethics policy for more on The Sun’s opinion policy and submit columns, suggested writers and more to opinion@coloradosun.com.

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Point of view: Biden should start the recovery by absolving Trump

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Sometime very soon, even before he takes office as our 46th president, Joe Biden should announce that he will pardon Donald Trump for any crimes he may have committed in the 2016 election campaign or while he was president.

Biden’s peremptory action should be emulated by future presidents, maybe even becoming routine in the presidential transition process. 

 Biden should do so because we need to refocus our ultra-polarized country and our dysfunctional government on solving serious, pressing problems.  We can’t waste any more time on politically motivated investigations that only divide us further.  There is real work to be done.

Lee Terry

Besides the widespread economic damage from the ongoing pandemic, we are facing massive federal, state and local budget deficits, unyielding demands for civil rights and social justice reform, unprecedented threats to the integrity of our elections, and historically disastrous wildfires and hurricanes suggesting the imminence of catastrophic climate change.  

Instead of pointing fingers at each other, our government needs to address these and other critical issues. 

It’s time to break the cycle of accusations, investigations and political grandstanding that have paralyzed the federal government for so long.  We need to accept that, by allowing some wrongdoing to go unpunished, we can accomplish much righteousness instead.  And righteous action, rather than retribution, should be our highest priority.   

READ: Colorado Sun opinion columnists.

In 1974, Gerald Ford became president after Richard Nixon resigned to avoid impeachment from the Watergate scandal. Ford announced that America’s “long national nightmare” was over and pardoned Nixon for all offenses against the United States.  Ford said he wanted to put the disruptive scandal behind us and avoid a long, drawn-out trial that would have further polarized the country.

Many believe Ford’s decision to pardon Nixon caused him to lose the 1976 presidential election.  The same result is possible for Joe Biden and his party in 2024.  But he should do it anyway. 

Once Trump and his legacy are behind us, Biden can then address his biggest challenge and, hopefully, his greatest legacy: Reversing the political polarization and governmental paralysis that is killing us, literally and figuratively. 

Biden should launch a bipartisan attack on one of the root causes of our deep political divide.  He should lead both sides of the aisle in Congress to ban, restrain or oppressively regulate the psychologically manipulative algorithms and artificial intelligence used by social media, internet search engines and their advertisers that eventually radicalize us by consistent deliveries of singularly slanted “news.” 

Ironically, the purpose of the practice is not politically nefarious.  It arises from the profit-motivated desire to lure more and more online “clicks.”  Regrettably, however, pursuing that commercial objective has the additional effect of subtly, but effectively, exaggerating and intensifying the slant of individuals’ political perspectives whenever we are online.   

This is what has created a nation of uncompromising, misinformed ideologues who can no longer comprehend, much less tolerate, the contrary views held by the other end of the political spectrum.  It has in turn led to drastic polarization of, and dissonance within, Congress and most state legislatures.

The psychological manipulation and socio-political re-engineering caused by online algorithms and AI has been reported by the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post, among others, and was illustrated in “The Social Dilemma,” a Netflix docudrama.  It’s real, and it’s really serious. 

At this stage, political polarization is the gateway problem.  If we can stop it, or at least control it, agreeing on compromise solutions to other national problems will become far more likely.  Our divided country is a challenge to civil discourse, a source of ineffective and unresponsive government and a threat to democracy.  We can’t wait to address it.   

So say it’s so, Joe.  Help us forget the recriminations of the past by pardoning Trump.  Then help us regain our capacity for reasoned, independent thought by stopping the internet-induced polarization that is killing us, literally and figuratively. 

It’s a tall order, but we can do it, together.    


Lee Terry is CEO of The Middle Ground, a Denver-based nonprofit that promotes nonpartisan, compromise ideas to address national, state and local problems by posting videos on its website and YouTube channel.


The Colorado Sun is a nonpartisan news organization, and the opinions of columnists and editorial writers do not reflect the opinions of the newsroom. Read our ethics policy for more on The Sun’s opinion policy and submit columns, suggested writers and more to opinion@coloradosun.com.

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  • Opinion: Biden should start the healing by pardoning Trump
  • Opinion: Our Capitol Christmas Tree makes me wish for healthy Colorado forests

via Straight News https://coloradosun.com/2020/11/15/biden-trump-pardon-opinion/