Ralphie's origin story

I happened to be having lunch in Boulder for the first time in a great while last Monday when I picked up a copy of the Colorado Daily with an article on Ralphie. I was a freshman at CU in 1966. The name Ralphie was not mysterious: There was a student vote with a number of different choices. This was extensively covered and discussed in the student paper of the time as well as the Daily Camera.

Back before binge drinking was a thing, we just called it Friday Afternoon Club in 1966, and throwing up was commonly called "ralphing." I noticed a generation or two later that "hurling" was a name for the same activity.

With the student spirit that led to the grill at the UMC voted to be named after the nation's only convicted cannibal, Alferd Packer, the first buffalo mascot was named after the common student activity of ralphing. In the '60s and '70s, the university was considered one of the top party schools in the country and not much otherwise. Student unrest and widespread disrespect for authority had just hit CU. So, our poor little buffalo calf was named Ralphie.

Brett J Boyer

The mystery of Paul Danish

The Paul Danish I like to remember is from the mid-'60s as the CU Student Body co-president with Paul Talmey holding spirited political debates in the University Memorial Center courtyard with the conservative-minded Samir Zakhem.


Then there was the Paul Danish writing for the ironically Boulder-based "Soldier of Fortune" magazine, which served to promote warfare as a morally acceptable blood sport. Then came a stint as a Democratic Boulder County commissioner and the installation of the Danish Plan, which, for all its urban planning positives, has contributed to the continuing elitist gentrification and cost of living here.

Now, as near as can be determined, it appears he is writing for Jon Caldera's Independence Institute and promoting Libertarian issues, including laissez faire government, free-market capitalism, deregulation and the defense of gun rights. How this fits into today's Boulder is a mystery to me.

Robert Porath, Boulder

Young people's special role, and power, in this election

As a college freshman in 1978, I and millions of other young Americans faced the real possibility that the military draft, ended only five years before, would be reinstated. Understanding the fundamental wrongness of conscription, which violates personal liberty and morality and makes more likely wars unsupported by the nation's citizenry, I realized the need for it to be resisted and very publicly declared my refusal to cooperate with the Selective Service System. While I generally received praise and support for this action against militarism, there were more than a few people who strongly criticized me, sometimes with violent feelings and words, even to the point of suggesting I be executed or otherwise murdered. When I called for active mass resistance to the first Iraq War, threats of violence were directed at me, leaving me fearful in my first-floor bedroom with its window exposed to passing traffic. But I had a responsibility, as a citizen in position to effectively challenge war and anti-democracy, to stay the course of resistance, even at risk of life and limb.

Over the years — as I've learned more and more about how the U.S. government has carried out and assisted in attacks on peace, social justice, and environmental activists here and abroad — I've imagined being the victim of such an attack. Donald Trump's regular calls for unconstitutional and internationally criminal violations of civil and human rights, and his supporters' enthusiasm for those proposals, have brought such thoughts to mind more often, and those thoughts involve many more victims than just myself. The America which Donald Trump envisions, filled with the hatred and strife he encourages, is foreseeable, and it is unacceptable.

Today's most imminent threats of increase in conflict and violence, both here and throughout the world, could well be realized if Donald Trump wins the U.S. presidency on Nov. 8. Young people once again have a special, vital role to play in preventing that nightmare from unfolding. I urge all eligible young voters to cast their ballots for Hillary Clinton or, in states where her victory is assured, for the third-party candidate of their choice, and then, after Trump and Trumpism are resoundingly defeated, continue working hard and lifelong for peace, justice and Earth.

Matt Nicodemus, Boulder