Off Limits

No bull: On Tuesday, animal-rights activists--the Vegetarian Society of Colorado and the Rocky Mountain Animal Defense Fund--hung what they'd promised would be a "huge" banner, but which more closely resembled a bath towel, off the 15th Street overpass to protest the Stock Show's cruelty to animals. Their action lasted exactly one hour, until 8 a.m., when the Denver police arrived, arrested Greg Litus (hey, we've seen more offensive bumper stickers), and ripped up the banner that had proclaimed "Stock Show=Death" to all I-25 traffic going north.

If those cars are heading for the rodeo, their occupants are likely to be bored to death before any horse bites the dust. What with entertaining but off-color black cowboy clown Leon Coffey (who was hardly at the Chris Rock offensive-joke level) replaced by a bunch of colorless clowns, the rodeo is a relatively dull affair this year. Among the highlights: new trickster Austin Anderson using his bullwhip to pop balloons (a handy skill on the range) and to cut a page from the Denver Post--official publication of the Stock Show--down to size. The size of a postcard, in fact.

Post no notices: You can use that postcard to say "so long" to the Post's Empire, the resurrected Sunday magazine that was an underfunded--and undersized--shadow of its former self, once the beautifully rotogravure-printed "Voice of the Rocky Mountain Empire." As of February 1, Empire is no more. Again. Instead, the paper allegedly is putting its resources into outlying coverage.

Or perhaps Bronco tickets. Although the team was quick to point out that the deal offered Denver City Council members and trumpeted on the front page of the metro section last week--Super Bowl tickets at face value--was also offered to Post bigwigs, the paper has yet to take official note of that fact. Maybe it's too busy trying to figure out who pulled the cheesy stunt of posing as Post publisher Ryan McKibben in the paper's electronic chat room.

Or coping with a lawsuit that Joseph Gant filed in U.S. District Court on January 15, alleging that the Post terminated him as a newspaper carrier because he is black. According to Gant's complaint, his supervisor said he would "kick that fucking nigger's ass" and added that Gant "can go ahead and file discrimination charges, because my daughter is married to a nigger."

The Post has claimed that Gant's contract was canceled because he told other newspaper carriers that the Rocky Mountain News pays newspaper carriers more money than the Post does. (Gant was also delivering papers for the News.) But Gant bases his case on the fact that a white carrier told co-employees the same thing about the News and was not only kept on at the Post, but was promised a raise in pay.

Mr. Pena goes to Washington: Although former Denver mayor Federico Pena appears to have dodged the bullet and will remain in Bill Clinton's cabinet as Secretary of Energy, he's not exactly a heartbeat from the presidency. In order to ensure that someone's still alive to run the country in case disaster strikes during the president's State of the Union address, one cabinet member always skips the speech (lucky guy); when Clinton delivers his address next week, though, Pena is scheduled to be front and center at the Capitol. The last time he stayed away was in 1995--back when he was Secretary of Transportation and his brainchild airport still hadn't opened fifteen months after its original arrival time. While his wife, Ellen Hart Pena, joined the Cabinet members and their spouses at the Capitol, hubby stayed home with the kids and a few Secret Service agents. After the president finished, the agents "rang my doorbell to tell me that they were leaving and had Secret Service mugs and caps for me to give to the kids," Pena told George magazine.

When Pena's airport opened a month later, it was known officially as Denver International Airport: In order to secure Colorado lawmakers' support for what had been referred to as "Feddy's Folly," the city was prohibited from naming it after the mayor who pushed the project through. However, Pena did get that fine boulevard named after him. And maybe he'll be able to carve out a monument--a nice, plutonium-contaminated monument--at the DOE's former Rocky Flats Nuclear Weapons Plant, now known as the Rocky Flats Environmental Technology Site, which last week was elevated to the National Register of Historic Places.

And that's appropriate, since we might all have been history had some of those fires at the bomb plant raged a bit hotter.


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