Thursday, December 31

"My" Sen. Mark Udall: environmmentalist or puppet?

Udall with Barbra Streisand

Colorado Sen. Mark Udall was elected as an environmentalist Congressman from Boulder in 1998. When told his race for Senator was close in 2008, he caved to big oil:

Denver Post, 8/14/08
"Udall calling for more domestic drilling and reversing his long-standing opposition to drilling off America's shores."

He must have made enough "friends" who showed him a good enough time that although he's safely a Senator until 2014, he's sold out completely:

Denver Post, 10/31/09
"Udall widens push for nuclear plants"
Grist, 11/12/09
"They [14 Democratic Senators including Udall] call for the free allocation of pollution permits to electric utilities to be distributed 'fully based on emissions'"
Summit Daily 8/11/11
"Udall calls fracking ‘safe technology'"

The world's foremost energy expert, Colorado's own Amory Lovins, founder of Rocky Mountain Institute, says all 4 are inferior to renewables.

Udall was born on 3rd base to a prominent political family that made their reputation as environmentalists. Why is he hitting a home run for oil, coal gas and nukes??

Mark Udall is also profoundly dishonest. Read in my "Tale of 4 Udalls" how he repeatedly lies about a project I've worked 20 years on, which both his own brothers have endorsed!

Remember who Mark Udall really is when he runs for re-election in 2014. He suckered me for my vote in 1998. Never again.

Wednesday, September 23

Unearthly beautiful music this Saturday in Boulder!

Beth Quist was the lead singer for Cirque du Soleil. She's from Boulder, has a 4-octave range, and sang with Bobby McFerrin's Voicestra. Jesse and James are both superb musicians.
Saturday, September 26, 2009 8-11pm $12.00

Location: Immersive Studio No.7, Boulder, CO
3063 Sterling Circle East, No. 7 (E. on Valmont, almost, but not quite to the post office @ 55th, left on Sterling; right around the circle; first left in the back)

Watch Jesse & James with Zahara on drums at Boulder favorite Trident Bookcafe Sept. 12. With hand dancers...


A quite rare trio performance of James Hoskins, Jesse Manno, and Beth Quist is happening this Sat. Sept. 26th at Immersive studios in Boulder!
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Time: 8:00pm - 11:00pm
Cost: $12.00 (such a deal!) {or More $$ if generosity permits!}
Location: Immersive Studio No.7
Street: 3063 Sterling Circle East, No. 7 (E. on Valmont, almost,
but not quite to the post ofc. @ 55th, left on Sterling;
right around the circle; first left in the back)
City/Town: Boulder, CO 80301
Phone: 303.413.1131 or me, James: 303.817.8828
Personnel and show info:

Jesse Manno:
vocals, saz, bouzouki, drums/percussion, flutes, oud

James Hoskins:
vocals, cello, gadulka, percussion

Beth Quist:
vocals, keyboards, guitar, hammered dulcimer, percussion

We might also all be trading off between each others instruments... you never
know. This is an evening focusing on our love of improvisation with a few
structured pieces thrown in for energetic bookending.

We will also be joined by 2 wonderful improvisational dancers, Cortney McGuire & Josselyn Levinson. and wonderful lighting & photomedia by Joe Shepard. This is getting more fun by the minute.

Friday, May 29

"Homework Kills Trees" T-shirts "Stop the Madness"

Tonite at the Neko Case/Calexico concert at Boulder's Chautauqua, I met Elijah. She said she'd worn it to school, with no resulting decrease in homework. The madness continues.

Wednesday, May 6

Spectacular Iridescent Clouds with Panasonic LX3

These are the first really good iridescent clouds I've captured with what people are calling the highest quality compact digital camera, the Panasonic LX3 with an excellent f2.0 Leica lens and a larger sensor than most compacts. This camera is so popular with discriminating photographers that the price is above list price and rising 10 months after introduction, unlike almost all other cameras whose prices fall rapidly...

Iridescent clouds occur when most water droplets are the same size. These were taken from Boulder's Chautauqua Park. Lots more here.

Saturday, April 18

Ralph Nader endorses our project!

One symptom of America's increasing inequality is the "star system." Normally, it would be almost impossible for a nobody like me to meet someone like Ralph Nader, America's foremost citizen advocate for over 40 years. I've tried several times over the last year to contact him via his nonprofit Public Citizen. No dice.

Yesterday, because of a Colorado snow/slush blizzard, only 50 attended a talk Ralph gave at CU-Boulder, about Single-Payer Health Care. So I was able to talk to him several times at the small reception following. He was enthusiastic about former Senator Mike Gravel's project for better and national ballot initiatives, which I promote at And he recognized that "Vote at" was way easier to spread than "Vote at"(Gravel's site) and promised to do so!

Having national ballot initiatives will make Congress more humble, as they've done with Switzerland's Parliament since 1848. When they don't represent us, we'll just make law ourselves. This will lessen the star system -and you can bet The People will reduce income inequality too!

Ralph asked about Mike, who's had a hard time since his glory days, when he single-handedly filibustered until the Vietnam draft was ended, reading the Pentagon Papers into the national record. Mike was targeted for defeat by the military/industrial complex and has been out of office since 1981. I told him Mike's considering moving to Switzerland or Korea to promote the National Initiative, since the media ignores or marginalizes him here, even though he sacrificed his retirement to run for President.

Ralph does have a sense of humor, and curiosity. He wanted to know about my Panasonic Lumix LX3, which is supposed to be the best-quality compact digital camera, and does a decent job of video, as you can see if you click the "HD" for high-definition.

You can see here how the media can make a "nobody" out of a popular entertainer who was voted "Best Activist" by Boulderites. You can see why I've devoted 20 years to this project here.

YOU can help bring government BY the people to the U.S., help restore my reputation, and re-balance inequality some by linking here or sharing this story on social networks:

Saturday, April 11

Newspapers digging their own graves -and ours.

My letter to the editors of the Boulder Daily Camera and Colorado Daily:


As newspapers wring their hands over their declining readership, they should remember the old dictum: "The job of the newspaper is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable." In so many ways, from the expected rejection of this letter, to editorials to news "slant," we now usually get the opposite, political dictum: "Kiss up and (defecate) down."

My experience: In 1992 I was voted "Best Activist" by readers of the Boulder Daily Camera, for several reasons which annoyed the rulers of "our" town. So, in 1995, after I'd criticized the Mayor at a City Council meeting, the editor of the Camera falsely wrote "Ravitz virtually suggested the Mayor deserved the cancer she was fighting." The official City video of the 6/6/95 meeting, available at the Carnegie Library, proves this false. Or read the actual transcript. The editor repeated his falsehood a week later.

A month later the editor of the Colorado Daily fired me from the columnist post I'd held for 5 years, for another easily-disproven falsehood: that I'd disrupted a meeting on the future of the University of Colorado. Prof. Estevan Flores, who ran the meeting, wrote in a published letter that I'd instead made a "valuable contribution" to the meeting. Prof. Martin Walter wrote that if anyone had disrupted the meeting it was he, when he rose to passionately second my suggestion that CU "democratize." Chancellor Rod Park was also a witness.

When media thus make inconvenient truth-tellers into non-persons they leave only yes-men and women in the pool of leaders. You can see the results. Happy devolution!

Evan Ravitz

Friday, February 20

A New Door opens to Direct Democracy -and how I got there

This is the brief story of how I, formerly happy-go-lucky not-so-tight-rope artist Evan from Heaven, was treated by Boulder, Colorado's government, how Guatemalan friends were treated by the US government, and what I've been doing for 28 years about it, finally making progress now that things "fall apart," as Yeats prophesied.

I worked as Evan from Heaven on Boulder's famous Pearl St. Mall, but members of the Mall Commission who wanted to "curtail the circus atmosphere" shut me down repeatedly, in spite of our enormous popularity and the Commission only having advisory power -as my volunteer lawyer later discovered. When City Council, going against a petition of some 4000 supporting me (see it below), gave the Commission licensing power, they refused to license me.

 Among others banned was mime David Shiner who was arrested at least twice for impersonating a policeman and went on to be Ringmaster of Le Cirque du Soleil, had his own show on Broadway, was on Jay Leno's show at least twice and is one of the most famous clowns in the world.

I left Boulder, performed in Aspen and Key West, and then Yelapa, Mexico. Arriving penniless in this fishing/tourist village, I was given a free hotel room with a view. The Mayor, known as Piri, fed me lunch daily at his restaurant at the foot of the town waterfall, where I entertained his diners by tightroping over the falls -see photo below. What a change from Boulder! I made enough in tips to live there in paradise and in spring to travel back north. I was also honored to play Jesus for Holy Week celebrations there in 1986.

In 1985, my volunteer lawyer Doug Thorburn had talked some sense into Boulder's oligarchs and I was able to resume my shows, which I did until an old injury forced my retirement in 1998. I continued to live in Mexico and Guatemala seasonally.

In Guatemala, I fell in love with Lake Atitlan, which Aldous Huxley called "the most beautiful lake in the world." I started building a house on Maya artist friend Raul Velasquez Barrios' land (photo below, with 2 of the 3 volcanoes by the lake in the background), but abandoned it when 3 other Maya friends were killed by the Guatemalan Army -with U.S.-supplied M-16s. Some 200,000 were killed, tens of thousands horribly tortured, mostly in the '80s.


I returned to Boulder, depressed. I read in Howard Zinn's "People's History of the U.S." that "polls showed by 1975 that 65% of Americans were opposed to all foreign military aid" -because it strengthened dictators. I realized if this was a binding vote and not just a poll my friends would still be alive -along with 200,000 other Guatemalans, and millions from Vietnam to the Americas. If we had real "government by the people", our shows would not have been banned in Boulder. The world would be a much better place.

So, I spearheaded Boulder's 1993 Voting by Phone ballot initiative, hoping this would make more direct democracy practical. We made the CBS Evening News, the Wall St. Journal, etc.

With the City Council dishonestly attacking our initiative it was defeated 59-41%. I started in 1995 to promote citizen power via better and national ballot initiatives. I sold that domain in 2015 and that site is now at

(Initiatives are controversial, thanks to media dwelling on the few bad ones. But the full record shows the results are far better than what politicians do. Because it was until 2016 easier in Colorado than most states to get initiatives on the ballot, we have a stellar record. When signing initiative petitions is allowed online, it will be even better.)

I soon got a call from Jared Polis, a Princeton student who'd enabled student voting by web. We've been friends ever since.

Jared became the wealthiest and most philanthropic person in Boulder. He sponsored 2 Colorado ballot initiatives which passed becoming Amendment 23 (raising K-12 school spending) and Amendment 41 (the country's strongest prohibition on lobbyist "gifts" to politicians.) Jared is now our Congressman. He said on radio in 2008 that he would introduce a bill for national ballot initiatives in his first year. But he didn't realize it would take a constitutional amendment. Please encourage him: jared (at)

In 2000 I devoted to famed former Sen. Mike Gravel's project for better and national initiatives. I solicited endorsements from prominent people. Howard Zinn became one of the first, along with Patch Adams, Pete Seeger, Daniel Ellsberg, Julia Butterfly Hill, "Granny D," Michael Lerner, Ralph Nader etc. See the complete list. Gravel ran for President in 2008 mainly to promote this project. But the project has stalled.

We now see 2 other ways we could get national ballot initiatives:

1. We're hoping Bernie Sanders becomes the next President and that we can interest him in this. There are several ways initiatives can be made more deliberative and available to those without a lot of money that would make them more like New England town meetings. If you know Bernie or how we can contact him or his wife Jane, please let me know:

2. My friend Dan Marks somehow managed to get Congress to count the backlog of state requests for a US "convention to propose amendments" under Article V. We, along with attorney Bill Walker, got Congressman Polis to do some preparatory work with the House Parliamentarian. Now we know how Congress has avoided their duty to call a convention. But Polis won't do more: He's running for Governor of Colorado and doesn't want to confuse his message.

The Young Turks did a fine video story.We have an Article V Facebook group you can follow.

National ballot initiatives should be #1 priority as constitutional amendment because it would make future amendments and laws doable by citizens without waiting another 200+ years for an Article V convention.

3. Elon Musk has been promoting direct democracy. I bet I can convince him to help get it via an Article V convention, or to fund a Colorado ballot initiative to allow signing future ballot initiative petitions on the Secretary of State's website. This would open the process to groups without huge funds, save the Secretary of State the expense of comparing physical signatures, get more people to read more of the initiative text before signing the petition, reduce harassment and misrepresentation to get signatures, and save time, gas, paper and money for petitioners.

If anyone can help me get the attention of the most productive man in the world, let me know!

Many people have told me that this story should be a dramatic film, along the lines of the 1998 hit Patch Adams, about my old friend who has been building a free hospital in the poorest part of Appalachia and spreading laughter and clown therapy around the world.

I think Matt Damon would be interested because of his childhood friendship with our inspiration Howard Zinn, who Matt talks about in Good Will Hunting, and whose book sent me on this quest. If anyone knows how I can get Matt's attention, please do.

We need help. Almost all politicians and the people who buy their votes are opposed to government by the people. Read what "my" former Senator Mark Udall and other prominent Colorado "Democrats" said about our project to try to kill it.

Let my people VOTE!

Evan 'from Heaven' Ravitz

Wednesday, February 11

Transport that's fun and follows the laws of physics!

We all learned in school that bikes are the most efficient transportation, in both the artificial and animal worlds. But how can humans be more efficient than, say, antelope? Because of all the "embedded" energy already invested to smooth and pave the roads, which makes skinny wheels way more efficient than any legs. (Animals can't coast, for one thing.)

Cycling's also fun and keeps you healthy. In my 30s I rode across Mexico among other long rides. At 56 I still do all my local travel by bike. Bikes should be our first choice when practical. Bikes are, or can be, easy to take on public transportation, a great combination.

People talk about "transit" as if it were all good. But as the standard text Principles of Pavement Design or any pavement engineer will tell you, road damage increases as the FOURTH power of vehicle weight (assuming the same number of axles). This means that a bus weighing about ten times the average car does TEN THOUSAND times more damage! So buses and heavy trucks do almost all the damage to our highways and major roads.

Pounding our roads and highways, the most expensive infrastructure in the U.S., is just not "sustainable." Heavy transport should where possible run on steel rails, far cheaper and more durable than roads. Rail transport is also the 2nd most efficient, after the bicycle.

Until the 1940s, most urbanites commuted on streetcars -running on rails. Some of our "stimulus" money should go to rebuild them. Some should go to improve long-distance rail lines. And some should go to develop and produce an affordable electric car -especially since car companies are getting bailed out.

Electric cars don't pollute and go much further per dollar than internal combustion vehicles. Having far fewer moving parts and no explosions inside, they are far more durable and require far less maintenance. Soon, many will be charging them from solar panels on their homes, and their batteries will be tied into the electric grid, providing storage to even out the intermittent production of solar and wind energy, and uneven usage.

Hybrid cars save gas, but there's evidence the "embodied" extra energy involved in producing TWO engines -electric and gas- may outweigh that savings, unless, like cabbies, you drive a lot. The gas engine still requires lots of maintenance.

Once economics and physics force much transportion back to streetcars and trains, America's huge road and highway network will be much safer and more fun for cycling again. And the roads will last: A cyclist on a bike weighing (at most) ten times less than a car does TEN THOUSAND times less road damage, 100 MILLION times less than a bus!

Friday, February 6

Latest Iridescent (or nacreous) Clouds

I've been lucky to see and photograph these sublime clouds often. They occur when most water droplets are the same size, refracting the sun in a collimated way. You can see all my best iridescent and other cloud photos here

Monday, January 26

NOAA: Climate Change to last 40 (de)generations

The Ojibwe and other American Indians did their "deciding" considering seven generations to come.

Now says Boulder's NOAA: Climate change effects irreversible based on a study in the January 26 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Over 1000 years isn't really irreversible, but it is for us and everyone we'll ever know.

During his campaign my new Congressman Jared Polis quoted this 1997 poll showing 65% of Americans wanted to cut greenhouse gases no matter what other nations did. Yet, 12 years later, with Congress "deciding," greenhouse gases keep increasing. Jared has since declared that he will introduce a bill so that Americans can have a Plan B: National ballot initiatives!

White bear swims in water
Where's my ice, dude?

Friday, January 23

Pete Seeger endorses National Initiative for Democracy

Pete Seeger and Bruce Springsteen led "This Land is Your Land" at the Obama Inaugural Celebration Concert. It's the people's choice for national anthem, viewable below.

Last year I got Pete to endorse the National Initiative for Democracy, a project of former Senator Mike Gravel. Pete says "Participation, that's the salvation of the human race." YOU can participate at Here's the postcard Pete sent me:

And the video of "This Land is Your Land":

Friday, January 16

Sunset after the Boulder wildfire

A wildfire charred 3000 acres just North of Boulder Jan 7 & 8 after 70 MPH winds caused power lines to arc. A spectacular sunset ensued: