It seemed like just a goofy political crush when www.drafthick.com, a website pushing John Hickenlooper for governor, first popped up in April 2005. Even though Hizzoner repeatedly rejected their advances, the besotted individuals behind the drafthick campaign continued to believe he was just playing coy and kept sending mash notes to a mailing list that today reaches 500 people. And now that the will-he-or-won't-he speculation has hit a fever pitch, the drafthickers have taken to writing embarrassing love poems with lines like this: With Hick we are at a Revival!/To Hick we turn to ensure our survival!/It's Victory for this great Restaurateur!/It's Hick as our State's Governor!
Those lines alone would seem to explain their authors' desire to remain anonymous. But still, is it possible that the drafthick folks are playing it too coy? Could they really be clever political operatives, part of a right-wing conspiracy designed to lure Hickenlooper into taking on former Denver district attorney Bill Ritter in the primary, thus exhausting the Democratic Party and sending it to certain doom in November?
To find out, Off Limits went right to the source -- whoever that might be -- and e-mailed this to drafthick.com: "Can you prove you're not a right-wing conspiracy? Or James Frey? Or Oprah Winfrey?"
"Rumor denied," drafthick.com responded. "First of all, we don't write as well as Mr. Frey. Second, we aren't rich like Ms. Winfrey."
But our investigation wasn't over. An Off Limits operative set up a phone call with drafthick's alleged ringleader through a third party -- a former College Republicans operative at the University of Colorado, suspiciously enough. As expected, the drafthick spokesman declined to give his name, and when asked for some cool undercover pseudonym like Draft Throat or Hickenlover, could only come up with the very unsexy Loyal Supporter.
"We're not trying to do anything sexy," said Loyal, who claims to have never spoken with Hickenlooper about a possible campaign for governor. "We're just trying to get him to run." The half-dozen friends, both Democrats and Republicans, who started drafthick "are not high-ranking officials," Loyal asserted. "We're run-of-the-mill folks."
Nevertheless, Loyal was able to fend off our operative's probing questions and stick to his key message with a rhetorical ability usually reserved for lobbyists, lawyers or the ever-unpopular lawyer/lobbyists. And later in the conversation, Loyal even admitted that he had "done some political things," but declined to elaborate.
If Hickenlooper ever does announce that he's running, though, Loyal promises he'll come out of whatever closet he's in.
Non-non-fiction: While secret fantabulist Frey is undoubtedly feeling sorry for himself after that public tongue-lashing by gab queen Winfrey over the million falsities in A Million Little Pieces, fellow creative writer David Race Bannon took an even worse licking last week. On January 27, Bannon, author of 2003's Race Against Evil: The Secret Missions of the Interpol Agent Who Tracked the World's Most Sinister Criminals, was busted in Boulder on suspicion of several sins, including criminal impersonation. If failing to measure up on comedian Stephen Colbert's "truthiness" scale were a punishable offense, he would have been charged with that, too.
In a 2004 Boulder Weekly article, Bannon claimed that as part of Archangel, a clandestine Interpol wing, he worked as a "cleaner" -- an avenging agent whose job was to "get close to the worst perpetrators of child trafficking and child sexual exploitation, to extract information from them by force and to kill them." (Yeah, sure.) After that story's publication, an Interpol representative informed the paper that the agency had "no record of David Race Bannon having been employed and no knowledge of individuals mentioned in Mr. Bannon's book," and described his assertions as "deceptive and irresponsible fantasy." The Weekly responded by calling Bannon, who reaffirmed his previous employment and suggested that folks at Interpol's press office were attempting to undermine him because of tremendous pressure to bolster the organization's "public image." And not only did the Weekly report that in a follow-up item, but it noted with more than a smidgen of smugness that Bannon "has been featured on Fox News and National Public Radio, in addition to serving as an expert witness in federal court, where, apparently, his Œirresponsible fantasies' are taken seriously."
Not anymore. According to Race Against Evil's page on Amazon.com, which includes a fresh posting about the arrest, the book sat at number 129,093 on the retailer's sales list three days after Bannon was busted.
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Keep your pants on: He "was being stupid," then-Colorado Rockies pitcher Denny Neagle told Lakewood police on December 3, 2004, after they pulled him over on West Colfax Avenue for speeding -- only to learn from his passenger, Jill Russell, that she'd just given Neagle a $40 blow job. But after smart defense attorney Harvey Steinberg got the judge to toss that statement -- even athletes making $10 million a year have rights -- Jefferson County last week agreed to a deal that gave Neagle just forty hours of community service.
And not with the 4-H Club, which received $200 as part of the deal made by Dennis Rodman last fall to settle his speeding case in Summit County.
According to Steinberg, his client will do his duty with some "non-profit organization, and probably not in this state." After all, Neagle left Colorado last year, after the Rockies voided his $51 million contract on a morals clause, ultimately paying $16 million to see him go.
That much cash takes a little longer to blow.