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Colorado – The Northeast Corner, From Ft. Morgan to Julesberg – 1

May 6, 2016
Woman looking for petrified wood along the South Platte River at Ft. Morgan. (She told us that she finds a fair amount)

Woman looking for petrified wood along the South Platte River at Ft. Morgan. (She told us that she finds a fair amount)

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“Why are you going there.”

“There” is the northeast corner of Colorado, north and east of Ft. Morgan to just past Julesberg where Colorado turns into Nebraska. Neither of our daughters could imagine why we would want to vacation there, little more than a way station in Colorado’s northeast corner that connects to I-80 in Nebraska and from there points east. We joked how we’d invite the girls to join us just to see how they might “politely” reject our offer.

But then, I’d have a hard time myself, explaining why it was we decided to pick that particular corner of the world for our enjoyment. I suppose several factors came into play:  it wasn’t a typical tourist destination. I simply didn’t believe there was “nothing” there…although exactly what life was like there – both past and present – was not so obvious to tease out. Still, we figured…what the heck…let’s go and check it out.  Its history – both human and geological interests me, especially the history of the flood of early Euro-American settlement in the area in the 1860s and how it impacted – decimated would be a more accurate term for it – the existing native populations.

How many times have we driven past Sterling and Julesberg on I-76 in the northeast corner of Colorado on our way to I-80 in Nebraska and points east? A hundred? More? My estimate is that it is somewhere between a hundred and a hundred and fifty times given that we often went to Eastern Nebraska, central Iowa (when Molly was at Grinnell) and western Illinois (when Abbie was at Knox College) at least twice a year and often more often than that over a period of 47 years. Who knows?

On those trips, how many times did we stop at Sterling, Julesberg or the small towns – more aptly called villages – Merino, Iliff, Ovid, Sedgwick – in Logan and Sedgwick counties? That’s easy. Once more than a decade ago, on a trip with Nancy and two  friends, we passed through Sterling and Julesberg, heading for Sidney, Nebraska, site of the original Cabella’s, but didn’t stop. I had to shake my sagging memory to remember that I did visit Sterling once in the distant past, sometime in early 1975. It was to attend the trial of Gary Garrison, Crusade for Justice activist who indicted for bombing the Boone Paint Store in Denver. (1) Read more…

Clear Creek Again…Avocets and Muskrats

May 2, 2016
Avocets on Clear Creek near Kipling Blvd

Avocets on Clear Creek near Kipling Blvd

 

 

Avocets…

Undoubtedly one of the better photos I’ve ever taken.

For those of you who are photographers, this photo of American Avocets, truly elegant birds, was taken with a little “point and shoot” Lumix camera with its Leica lens using the zoom. There they were the two of them, concentrating and busy sticking their long beaks into the mud to pull up many a treat. They seemed oblivious to the cars zooming by just a few feet away on Kipling I watched them for about ten minutes . Nor did my presence bother them much. Such a treat to watch them go about their daily routine for a short while.

The photos were taken today on a walk along Clear Creek from Anderson Park in Wheatridge to Kipling Blvd on a splendid early May day with nature here just starting to come alive. The site is downstream from where I was about ten miles, gold was first discovered in Colorado in 1859 triggering a flood of gold seekers – some 30,000 in the next year alone. About five miles from home in northwest Denver, the stretch of the creek I keep coming back to is a stunning place in all seasons. I suppose that having been big city born and raised, even at the age of 71, I cannot get over the excitement of seeing living things in their natural state – a couple of weeks ago along the same creek path, my first beaver ever – what a thrill, and now, today, avocets and muskrats. Now with Spring finally coming out in full bloom, or starting to, it is filled with activity. Read more…

RE/MAX First In Global Home Sales, First In Selling Illegal West Bank Settlement Property

April 30, 2016
Richard Falk, author of the Dec, 2013 report to the UN General Assembly (see below) joining Washington DC protesters of Re/MAX's real estate dealing of West Bank settlements. Falk is second from the left in the front row in a red parker

Richard Falk, author of the Dec, 2013 report to the UN General Assembly (see below) joining Washington DC protesters of Re/MAX’s real estate dealing of West Bank settlements. Falk is second from the left in the front row in a red parker

1.

At 2 pm on this coming Thursday, May 5, a group of activists will gather at the annual shareholder’s meeting of RE/Max to protest the real estate company’s policies of selling real estate in the West Bank settlements of Occupied Palestine. The sponsoring groups include Front Range Jewish Voice for Peace; Friends of Sabeel, Code Pink and Coloradans for Justice in Palestine. It is part and parcel of a national movement to press the real estate giant to stop selling land in the West Bank illegally expropriated from Palestinian landowners as a part of Israel’s intensified settlement policy there. 

RE/MAX is no small operation.

Short for “Real Estate Maximums,” RE/MAX, is an American international real estate company based in Colorado that operates through a franchise system. The company has held the number one market share in the United States and Canada since 1999, as measured by residential transaction sides.RE/MAX has more than 100,000 agents in 6,800 offices. RE/MAX operates in about 100 countries, among them Israel. It claims to have the largest real estate business volume in the world. Read more…

Tunisian Filmmaker Ferid Boughedir’s “Parfum de Printempts” – The Sweet Smell of Spring – Opens in Washington D.C.

April 18, 2016

Sweet Smell of SpringEileen Davis, Guest Blogger

The Tunisian Embassy and Filmfest DC collaborated this weekend and brought Ferid Boughedir to open his latest worldwide, “The Smell of Spring” (“Parfum de Printemps”) at Mazza Galleria Theater.  Quite a stir — the theater was packed both evenings, unusual for an Arab film in DC. In his remarks before each performance and the Q & A sessions after, Ferid displayed his brand of relaxed charm and intellectual intensity we’ve noted through the years.  He’s an engaging storyteller

He wove the history of the uprisings into a kind of tale told from an ancient time, to children….there were the poor people, the good people, the bad guys and young heroes and fantastic women. There was a mean dictator and his family whom the people finally one day forced to flee. Compromise was achieved and four brave groups came together and eventually won a Nobel;  and now, now there are outside forces and inner disagreements threatening to pull these good folks apart…….

And then the film itself… Read more…

Tunisia – Five Years After The Fall of Ben Ali – a lecture by Rob Prince at the Alliance Francaise of Denver, Thursday, March 17, 2016 – Notes From Talk

March 18, 2016
Tunisian Mint Tea (thanks Ghaith Hajjem

Tunisian Mint Tea (thanks Ghaith Hajjem)

 

 

A Note on the Notes:

A number of people asked me to provide my notes from my talk on Tunisia last night (March 17, 2016) at the Alliance Francaise of Denver and I will do so below. Although a few “notes on the notes” by way of explanation are in order at the outset.

Firstly, I do prepare presentations with notes and did so this time..but then the presentations tend to have a life of their own – including this one. That said, although I did not cover the notes in the order below, most of the points made in the notes were covered below.

I would give special attention to certain links  – the Francis Ghiles article, that by Hebah Saleh from Financial Times (that I could not link to because of FT‘s internet subscription policies) and the link about Olam Lamloun and Mohamed Ali Ben Zina’s research on Douar Hicher and Ettadham, two impoverished Tunisian suburbs.

Finally given the weather (it was snowing) the turnout was strong and the interaction between the audience and the speaker (me) was lively and I think productive, the liveliness of the event enhanced by the fact that two Tunisians living in Denver were in the audience and added much to the discussion.

The talk took place two days after the first anniversary of the terrorist attack on the Bardo Museum outside of Tunis Read more…

Tunisia – Five Years After The Fall of Ben Ali – a lecture by Rob Prince at the Alliance Francaise of Denver, Thursday, March 17, 2016 @ 6 PM

March 14, 2016

Tunisia-295x222

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The text which is blurred reads as follows:

“Five years after events that triggered the advent of what is known as “The Arab Spring” – and which some now are calling “The Arab Winter”, Tunisia remains a country that is slowly but surely “moving forward” but its progress is slow and fragile. Certainly the situation in the country is better than in neighboring Libya but pressing difficulties remain and the road a head is fragile and long”.

The talk is at the Alliance Francaise this coming Thursday, March 17, at 6-7:30 pm. 571 Galapagos St. Denver. RSVP 303-831-0304

Tunisia Explodes Again – Part One

February 23, 2016
tags:
Kasserine, January 2016 - young people demonstrating for jobs. Youth unemployment in Kasserine is above 30%

Kasserine, January 2016 – young people demonstrating for jobs. Youth unemployment in Kasserine is above 30%. Photo credit: Reuters

(Note – This article also appears at Foreign Policy in Focus and Nawaat.com)

1.

Five years after the onset of the sociopolitical explosion, “the Arab Spring,” Tunisia, the country where it began is bogged down in a deepening socio-economic crisis, lack of political vision (this despite a highly educated, sophisticated and politically savvy population) and an ongoing guerrilla war against Islamic radicals in the western and southern regions of the country that the government has not been able to extinguish, nor even bring under control. Although put forth as a kind of poster child for what might be considered the one “Arab Spring success story,” in fact, Tunisia is a country where disillusionment at successive government’s paralysis to address the crisis runs deep. If not for the repeated intervention of Tunisia’s civil society – its youth, civil rights organizations, labor unions – to push the government to act, the situation would most probably be even worse that it currently is.

It should not come as much of a surprise then, that five brief and tumultuous years after the start of the Arab Spring, that it would once again explode. That “it” – a spontaneous uprising in the country’s interior that spread to a number of towns and cities – shook Tunisian ruling circles to their very core – is beyond doubt. For a moment it appeared that, as they have in the past, both more recent and less so, the angry protests that started in the Tunisian interior town of Kasserine and quickly ignited elsewhere (Gafsa, Jendouba, Tozeur, Gabes, Medenine). Read more…

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