Recently, I found myself with the prospect of being in Boulder, CO, for a long weekend. It was an opportunity that I seized faster than a dog would take leftovers. Aside from being home to the University of Colorado's flagship college campus, Boulder's also known for its food-centric, health-focused, and highly educated population — last year, it was even named America's Foodiest Town by Bon Appétit. I traveled with a mixture of anticipation and uncertainty, curious to find out if this town at the foot of the mountains lived up to all its hype. Read on to see where my stomach led me in Boulder.
In an effort to put a halt to the distribution and sale of personal care products with known carcinogens, a Colorado state senator and state representative recently proposed a ban on such products to the house.
State Senator Betty Boyd and State Representative Dianne Primavera are sponsoring The Colorado Safe Personal Care Products Act, arguing that personal care products such as cosmetics, shampoo, and lotions contain chemicals known to cause cancer and reproductive toxicity. The FDA doesn't review personal care products before they hit the market, and Boyd and Primavera believe their plan can help protect public health. Bill HB 1248 proposes identifying chemicals deemed harmful by groups such as the EPA, then judging whether an ingredient is toxic. If the bill goes into law, the sale of products with those ingredients will be prohibited in Colorado. Manufacturers who break the law will be fined $5,000—$10,000.
Unsurprisingly, the cosmetics lobby is not in favor of the bill. "They are proposing to ban products that are legally marketed under the FDA's regulation," Lisa Powers of the Personal Care Products Council said to Cosmetics Design. "It is grossly overreaching and lacks any scientific basis." The House Judiciary is currently reviewing the bill, and if it passes, it could go into effect as soon as Aug. 11, 2010. If that happens, though, the state won't step in; it'll be up to consumers to enforce it (most likely through lawsuits).
What do you think about the potential ban? Is Colorado moving in the right direction, or is their plan just not developed enough to be carried out successfully?
For citizens of Colorado, an alternative eatery is serving up some serious baked goods — in more ways than one. Ganja Gourmet, a new restaurant in downtown Denver, offers old favorites like pizza. Only in not-so-typical fashion, all the food is legally laced with marijuana.
Ganja Gourmet, which is also a medical marijuana dispensary, has an extensive menu that features paella, lasagna, jambalaya, cheesecakes, all rendered with some reefer. Oh, and — you guessed it — pot brownies. At the progressive restaurant, which features live music, couches, and a bud bar, staffers don trippy tie-dye tees, and even offer courtesy rides home to, um, sated customers who feel they aren't in a state to drive.
I can't say I wouldn't be curious to check out the place, although, at $10 for a pot brownie, the edibles aren't cheap. (Personally, I think the price of $4.20 seems more fitting.) Would you ever visit a restaurant like Ganja Gourmet?
This week we talked a lot about marriage. Vermont's legislature overrode the governor's veto to legalize gay marriage, and Washington DC pushed forward a law that would recognize legal same-sex marriages from other states.
Back on the straight marriage front (am I making a statement by calling it that?), one columnist said we should all be doing more of it, specifically those with kids. Froma Harrop wrote that "the seriousness of the legal bond between the parents — as well as from parent to child — helps foster a partnership in childrearing, even if that bond later dissolves in divorce."
But Colorado has just turned this whole debate on its head, by passing a law that allows any two unrelated adults to become a pair of "designated beneficiaries." What does that mean? Beneficiaried couples can inherit property without a will, make medical decisions for one another, sue for wrongful death, and enjoy other benefits of a legal partnership commonly known as marriage. So two gay, or straight, or non-romantically involved people can enter into one of these contracts all the same.
Would you rather see a total separation of legal unions and religious ones?
A fifth grader from Colorado wore a homemade T-shirt — that said: "Obama is a terrorist's best friend" — just long enough to get suspended from school. On a day when students wore red, white, and blue to show patriotism, the 11-year-old son of a "proud conservative" decided to show his political opinion, too. The school told the boy to change shirts, turn it inside out, or face suspension. He chose suspension.
The school, which won't discuss the case specifically, says it respects a student's right to wear specific clothing, but looks into cases that might disrupt the learning environment. The father, who most likely predicted that the school would ask his son to remove the shirt, has plans to bring a lawsuit on the basis of free speech. Who do you think should win?
An unprecedented conflict has erupted between Muslim workers and management at JBS Swift & Co.'s Colorado meat packing factory, regarding when employees can pray in observance to Ramadan. Over 200 workers walked out during a shift, since management would not give them an official sunset break for prayer. As a result, the company fired half of them.
The union plans to file suit, but hopes the employees will get their jobs back without a court-battle. Right now, many that still have jobs have offered financial help to those who got fired. Sounds like the Swift plant has a different approach to Ramadan than the Tyson plant in Tennessee that agreed to give union workers the end of Ramadan off instead of Labor Day.
Meanwhile in Denmark, a municipal committee in Odense decided to call for principals and parents to stop children who are fasting for Ramadan. City officials say it's not so much politics or religion that prompted the push against fasting, but concerns over student health and ability to lean while hungry.
How should employers and teachers accommodate those observing Ramadan?
With one comment John McCain made Sunday that he supports an Arizona initiative that would ban hiring practices that favor one group over another McCain has brought attention to similar calls in two other states. He said that the initiative gives "the people of Arizona the opportunity to end preferential treatment based on race, sex, ethnicity, or national origin by state or local governments."
Arizona, Colorado, and Nebraska are all considering ballot initiatives that ban affirmative action hiring practices. Sunday's comment combined with one 10 years ago where McCain called affirmative action "divisive" shows the anti-affirmative-action campaign is gaining steam toward their ultimate goal of getting "either the Supreme Court or the Congress to get the policy changed at the national level."
The crux of the argument being debated in the initiatives is whether it's a ban on discrimination or an attack on programs that help women and minorities. Which do you think it is?
Nope, your browser hasn't crashed back to 1996 — the Boulder, CO, district attorney has just announced that new DNA tests have cleared JonBenet Ramsey's entire family in the killing of the 6-year-old beauty queen, 12 years ago.
The tests point to an "unexplained third party" as the culprit in the crime from DNA left behind in skin cells, one who is presumably still at large.
It's been confirmed that prosecutors no longer consider any member of the Ramsey family to be a suspect, though for years her parents, John and Patsy Ramsey, were thought to be under an "umbrella of suspicion" in the girl's slaying.
For this the DA apologized, saying, "To the extent that this office has added to the distress suffered by the Ramsey family at any time or to any degree, I offer my deepest apology."
Throughout the unsolved murder saga, with suspicion cast on the family, and John Mark Karr inexplicably and falsely confessing to the crime, father John Ramsey has maintained all along that he believes the case will be solved. JonBenet's mother Patsy Ramsey died in 2006 of ovarian cancer at the age of 49.
Considering this new information and the botched initial investigation, will we ever know who killed JonBenet?
In Colorado this weekend, hundreds of high school seniors turned their tassels and graduated — one of them had just been waiting for it longer than the others. Forty-two years longer, to be exact. Dennis Collins, now 60, walked across the stage on Saturday and collected the diploma that he'd sacrificed by heading off to Vietnam in 1966.
Collins says of his decision to go, “Vietnam was becoming a big issue. It was just kind of what you did. I was raised to believe you served your country and whenever you got out, you served your community.” He continues, “In Vietnam, you didn’t like it or not like it. It was something you did because it was something your country said to do. … It was my duty to do it, and I did it.” To see how Collins was able to graduate and more scenes from this Memorial Day, read more
In Colorado over the weekend, around 70 young women attended a debutante-style event — though they weren't announcing their eligibility. Quite the opposite. The girls and their fathers were all participating in the ninth annual Father-Daughter Purity Ball.
The event marks a commitment to remain pure and formalizes the father's role in his daughter's moral development. The dads read aloud a covenant “before God to cover my daughter as her authority and protection in the area of purity.”
Though the event is meant to keep the girls chaste, the dads like the reminder. “It’s also good for me,” said one. “It inspires me to be spiritual and moral in turn. If I’m holding them to such high standards, you can be sure I won’t be cheating on their mother.”
The annual gala costs around $10,000 to throw (financed by ticket sales) and this year about 150 people attended the purity ceremony and dance. What do the girls get out of pledging their purity to their dads? One said, “something I need from dad is affirmation, being told I’m beautiful. If we don’t get it from home, we will go out to the culture and get it from them.” The silent vows include sentiments like this one: “I promise to God and myself and my family that I will stay pure in my thoughts and actions until I marry.”
Though studies show decreased condom use among those who pledge abstinence and, um slip, is the act of making the promise publicly a step in the right direction? Is it nice that the fathers are so involved in their daughters' sexuality, or does it strike you as odd? Have you been to a purity ball?
For more pics of the event, the New York Times has a pristine slideshow.