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2004, A year in rearview 

In between eggnogs, last-minute shopping and retaining all those extra calories that our Secret Santas, Hanukkah Harrys, Solstice Summers and Kwanzaa Katarinas (did I get them all?) donate to our bodies, comes the end-of-the-year compilation of the events and quotes of the year gone by. Here are some of the best utterings that our nation's leaders, local movers and shakers, and regular folks had to offer up during 2004. Time to pop the champagne, and raise a toast to the end of 2004; may it rest in peace.

-- Cara DeGette, editor

"We're talking demons, forces of darkness. They're mad as hell -- literally -- at Colorado Springs' thriving evangelical community. And they're certainly not pleased that many leading spiritual warfare experts call the city home ... These demons, experts say, will tempt, distract, or even injure people to further their goals. They're hungry for power, and experts say they'll get that power by staking claim to everything from individual souls to whole cities and nations. Considering Colorado Springs' standing in religious circles, it would be quite a prize."

-- Gazette reporter Paul Asay, in a Jan. 24 "expos" describing in a news feature story how demons have targeted Colorado Springs and are preparing an attack on the area. We're still waiting for the follow-up.

"What has happened to so many Democrats in Congress is that they've been co-opted by the agenda of George Bush, who came into office with 500,000 fewer votes than Al Gore. And what we need is a Democrat who's going to stand up to George Bush."

-- Democratic presidential hopeful Howard Dean, two weeks before the Iowa caucus. Dean went on to energize the Democrats, but after the caucus and his now-infamous scream, his campaign deteriorated. John F. Kerry, who voted for Bush's war in Iraq, won the nomination, and lost the election.

"How fantastic to see Saddam Hussein in custody! I can't stop laughing about that dental exam."

-- Colorado Springs resident Mark Lewis, in a January tongue-in-cheek letter to the editor

"Although divided by a road (symbolically like most male-female relationships) the male and female should stand with pride and equality."

-- Colorado Springs resident Coreen Toll, advocating the newly acquired Red Rock Open Space next to Garden of the Gods be renamed Garden of the Goddesses. That idea never took off.

"It's not every state in the union that's got big economic problems. Take the state of Colorado, for example. Its finances are in good shape."

-- Washington Republican strategist Karl Rove, in a January interview with National Public Radio. At the time he said this, the Colorado Legislature was facing an estimated $120 million in budget cuts, following two previous years of budget slashing, much of it from programs that help the needy and working poor. This year the Legislature was widely criticized for not addressing Colorado's ongoing economic uncertainty.

"How does it feel to know that none of your bills is going to pass this year?"

-- Colorado Springs Rep. Keith King, to Colorado Springs Rep. Michael Merrifield, the only Democrat elected from El Paso County, shortly before the start of the January legislative session. King later claimed he had been joking, but all of Merrifield's proposed legislation was indeed killed by Republicans. In November, Merrifield was re-elected and in an interesting turn of fate, Democrats seized control of the Colorado House of Representatives and the Senate. In January, Merrifield will become the chairman of the House Education Committee and King -- who expected to become the speaker of the House -- has been moved to a small office in Nowheresville.

The opportunity I had as a kid ... that's out of reach for more and more of the middle class."

-- Mike Miles, the assistant superintendent of schools in Fountain, who lost the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate to Ken Salazar, who had grown up on a farm without electricity in the San Luis Valley.

"What we are trying to do is repair the image of this city as intolerant."

-- Councilman Jerry Heimlicher, a big supporter of an insurance plan that would have offered benefits to city employees, including gay and lesbian partners, without costing taxpayers a dime. The proposal failed 5-4 after Focus on the Family mobilized against it.

"These are truly the last days. Be ready and be prepared. ...Your reward isn't here; it's in the afterlife.

-- Anti-gay activist Mike McKee, at the council meeting when the insurance benefits plan was shot down. Several audience members responded with shouts of "Amen!"

"Even before the Janet Jackson exposure, the show resembled a fertility ceremony for the false god Baal. Jackson took the stage and danced amid fire, smoke and barely clad celebrants."

-- Robert Knight, the director of the Culture and Family Institute, whose comment was one of an avalanche of criticisms featured on Focus on the Family's Web site following the split-second airing of Janet Jackson's breast during the Super Bowl halftime show.

"Fuck yourself."

-- Vice President Dick Cheney, lashing out at Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy on the floor of the Senate on June 22 -- the same day the Senate passed the so-called "Defense of Decency Act." Cheney later justified his comments to FOX News host Bill O'Reilly, saying the incident made him "feel" better. As for the resulting outrage hurled down by Focus on the Family? There was none.

"The question I have for the ladies is why they are going to parties like this and drinking and taking drugs and putting themselves in a very threatening or serious position."

-- Former state legislator Joyce Lawrence, a Republican from Pueblo, to a Denver TV reporter within hours after she was appointed to co-chair an independent investigation into the football scandal at the University of Colorado involving allegations that recruits were enticed with parties that included alcohol, drugs and rape.

"There's been a lot of strides made. People are getting together, black and white, marrying, having kids, these multicolored kids."

-- State Sen. Ed Jones, during a February meeting of the Colorado Springs Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People defending his proposed bill to eliminate affirmative action programs in Colorado. Critics explored the possibility of trying to recall Jones. That went nowhere; neither did Jones' bill.

"Some of you might know I drive a Chevrolet. The only thing I have a grief about with our wonderful president is that he drives a Ford."

-- Ted Haggard, pastor at New Life Church, president of the National Association of Evangelicals and a consultant to President George W. Bush on spiritual matters during this year's national NAE convention in Colorado Springs

"He is an evangelical Christian who told Christian Reader magazine three years ago that he is in journalism 'because God has called me to proclaim truth.' But now he concedes that he participated in a lie while trying to vindicate the accuracy of his reporting."

-- Washington Post media columnist Howard Kurtz on disgraced USA Today reporter Jack Kelley, who in March was accused of falsifying sources and interviews in many of his published stories.

"Here I arrive at what writers call the "point" -- today I find myself in a position I never dreamed I'd see. Today I assume the job of publisher of the Colorado Springs Independent, which is, among its other fine attributes, printed with something called 'soy ink.'"

-- Rich Tosches, wishing everyone a happy April Fools' Day. That week, Tosches, formerly of the Gazette, joined the Independent as a weekly columnist and writer.

"We get angry easily. We don't like crowds."

-- Michael Lemke, an Army National Guard soldier and Iraqi veteran diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

"I have met many people who have seen mountain lions in their yards and literally say, 'Oh, what a nice pussy cat.'"

-- Author David Baron, on the rise of mountain lion and human interaction.

"People are not being told the true cost [of development]. We're just being had."

-- Longtime civic activist Walter Lawson, over how the city gives breaks to developers, passing off the costs of growth to utility customers.

"We have to stop being invisible. Those of us who remain silent are at fault."

-- Jim Alice Scott, longtime civic activist and thorn in the side of county government, on the crucial need for people to get involved in their community.

"I was being called boy, less than a man, but I am being shot at in Korea."

-- The Rev. Milton Proby, leader of St. John's Baptist Church in southeast Colorado Springs for 45 years, reflecting on the 50th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education and the hypocrisy of segregation.

"Someone asked about The Big Red Sign. That's one I'm keeping."

-- Dick Noyes, who along with his wife Judy closed the doors on The Chinook Bookshop after 45 years. Longtime customers bought out the entire store, including old signs and pictures from the walls of the longtime Colorado Springs institution.

"Put bluntly, anyone who says he has a well-formed conscience that stands opposed to the most fundamental moral teachings of our Church simply does NOT have a well-formed conscience."

-- Colorado Springs Bishop Michael Sheridan, who this year drew national attention for the public's interpretation of his position that Catholics who vote for pro-choice political candidates should be denied communion.

"Since January of 2000, they've stuffed close to 30,000 animals into landfills just from this one facility."

-- Bob Warren, director of development and communications for the Colorado Humane Society, criticizing the Pikes Peak Humane Society for their euthanasia rates. The two feuding organizations operate out of the same facility just south of downtown.

"That's selfish garbage and I don't take too kindly to selfish people."

-- Colorado Springs Councilman Larry Small, criticizing utility ratepayers who complain about having to subsidize new growth by having to expand the city's utility system. A survey this year found more than half of CSU ratepayers want developers, builders and new homeowners to pay for utility expansions through development fees.

"I guess they think I'm too old."

-- Dr. Stanley Biber who after nearly 6,000 operations and making Trinidad the sex-change capital of the world, retired at 80 because he could no longer get insurance.

"When I was in office, the Republicans were pretty mean to me. When I left and made money, I became part of the most important group in the world to them. At first I thought I should send them a thank-you note -- until I realized they were sending you the bill."

-- Former President Bill Clinton, talking about being the recipient of the Bush administration's massive tax cuts -- nearly half of which was pocketed by the top 1 percent of the richest Americans -- in his nationally televised speech during the Democratic National Convention.

"God isn't finished with me yet."

-- Douglas Bruce, asking the local GOP to anoint him county commissioner. They did.

"God built me for this job."

-- Marvin Heemeyer, a Granby resident who went on an armored bulldozing rampage that destroyed much of the mountain town in northwest Colorado before committing suicide, in a previously recorded audiotape.

"It seems like the office has been handed down from John Suthers to Jeanne Smith, who wants to hand it to Dan May. Some say it's Dan's turn. It's not anyone's turn -- it's an open seat."

-- Cindy Murphy, a supporter of Republican district attorney candidate John Newsome. Newsome won the election to become the next 4th Judicial District's district attorney.

"It took the false teeth right out of my mouth."

-- Jo Trail, quoted by the Associated Press after Hurricane Charley destroyed her mobile home and most of her possessions. Trail rode out the storm lying underneath a mattress. Charley was one of three hurricanes to devastate Florida this year.

"Let's just say that [Dickie Pilager] is very much based on George Bush when he was running for governor of Texas the first time."

-- Filmmaker John Sayles, talking about the character in his film Silver City, which held a screening in Colorado Springs.

"Even a can of pork and beans would help."

-- Star Clevenger, a single mother in Colorado Springs who is struggling to raise her teenager on $30 a day in tips and an hourly wage of $2.15. This year, soup kitchens and other nonprofits faced an overload from people seeking assistance in a continuing sour economy.

"Corruption is not possible."

-- El Paso County Clerk and Recorder Bob Balink, talking about paperless touch-screen voting machines, which critics across the country have criticized for the possibility of leading to voter fraud.

"Creativity has come to be valued because new technologies, new industries, new wealth and all other good economic things flow from it."

-- Richard Florida, author of Rise of the Creative Class, who spoke to a packed crowd at Colorado College in November.

"Why do we soldiers have to dig through local landfills for pieces of scrap metal and compromise ballistic glass to up-armor our vehicles, and why don't we have those resources readily available to us?"

-- Army Spec. Thomas Wilson, in a question posed to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in a question-and-answer session with soldiers in Kuwait. Caught off guard, Rumsfeld insisted that "you go to war with the army you have."

"Justice ought to be fair."

--George W. Bush, re-elected with 51 percent of the vote -- what he described as a "mandate" -- speaking at the White House Economic Conference in Washington, D.C. on Dec. 15.

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