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GMOs, Mikey's salary, Iraq redux, and more 

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Fox in the henhouse

In reading the article about the labeling initiative, Right to Know Colorado ("Oh no, GMO," News, July 9), the one thing that stood out to me is this: Almost all of the "studies" done to evaluate the safety of GMOs have been done by the corporations that manufacture and market them. Big Pharma has been caught again and again, manipulating studies to their financial benefit.

Thirty years ago, a very small percentage of the population had "wheat" allergies. This has grown to epic proportions. Thirty years ago, wheat was as American as "apple pie." (Side note: Apple pie wasn't actually started in America, but I digress.) And we could all eat wheat without complications. This is not true in 2014.

I appreciate that the writer took the time to do a little research before writing the article. What we all would like to see is real, long-term scientific studies, done by independent researchers who have no financial interests or prejudices. After all, it seems that we needed this research way before these foods were grown, marketed and then monopolized to the American people. (Eighty to 90 percent of our seeds are now GMO.)

I advocate for freedom of speech, freedom of thought, freedom to grow each at our own pace, as long as we "do no harm." This initiative is about freedom. There are very real reasons why the biotech industry does not want GMO foods labeled. Admitting to a very huge mistake, and losing tons of money, top that list, in my opinion.

— Pamela Jackson

Cotopaxi

Worth every cent

I'm a USAFA graduate ('85) and veteran who supports the Military Religious Freedom Foundation. The kerfuffle stirred up by Stephen Losey's recent article (referred to in "Mikey's money," Letters, July 9) is unfortunate, because the issue is a red herring at best and an unfair hatchet job at worst.

Unlike some organizations, MRFF does not collect donations and use that money for financial support of some constituency. Donors understand that we support the expenses and viability of the organization, including Mikey Weinstein's salary. There is no subterfuge. No misrepresentation. No broken promise.

Mr. Losey's selective use of Charity Navigator's guidance is also troubling. Beyond general advice about expense ratios and board structure, CN also cautions: "Consider the performance of the charity in relation to the CEO's pay. If you come across a charity whose CEO pay is higher than other similar charities, don't immediately dismiss that charity's request for funding" (2013 Charity CEO Compensation Study). By any measure, Mikey has been enormously successful as a leading voice in the fight to ensure all military members fully receive the constitutional guarantees of religious freedom to which they are entitled under the First Amendment.

As a corporate executive, I appreciate the links between skill sets, job requirements and salary. Mikey is appropriately compensated for his talents and for the tremendous job requirements he shoulders. He brings to his role vast experience and capability as an attorney and former JAG, attributes that would be valued (and appropriately compensated) by many organizations.

Mikey is one of the most honorable and genuine men I know. It's important to note that, despite misspeaking in the Losey interview, Mikey actually does not vote on his own salary. He is worth every cent of his compensation, and I know my donations are a solid investment in an important cause.

— Mike Challman

Wayne, Penn.

Life of Brien

• The way the women newscasters are dressing on Hispanic TV, soon all the men in the USA will be "studying" Español.

• If the Americans really wanted to stop terrorism they would stop buying illegal drugs.

• The USA may not have the best soccer team in the world, but I bet we have the best bathrooms! (and hamburgers).

— Brien Whisman

Colorado Springs

Doing the math

Thank you Mr. Hightower for enlightening us on the cost of the Iraq war ("Cheney's chicken-hawks return," LowDown, July 16). It is impossible to calculate the pain and suffering of the thousands of American men and women killed and injured. Estimates of the total number of people killed in the war exceed 250,000. Exact numbers are impossible to determine.

When W and his ilk removed the cork from the bottle (Saddam), the religious-intolerance explosion was inevitable. The $4 trillion, an unimaginable sum, wasted there could have built 10 international space stations ($100 billion each), 50 large hadron colliders ($10 billion each), five entire shuttle programs ($200 billion each), the entire interstate highway system (all 47,182 miles at a cost of $500 billion in 2006 dollars) and 500 Golden Gate bridges ($35 million each), with still enough money left over to build another interstate system. Instead we watch our infrastructure deteriorate, our economy disintegrate, our debt spiral out of control, and our medical facilities become overburdened with the horribly maimed and brain-damaged.

We have "reasons": the domino theory, WMDs and 9/11. We retaliate with napalm, Daisy Cutters, and shock and awe. We remain a nation described by a trite definition of insanity — doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

Meanwhile the corporations that make the implements of war, prosper. The providers of hordes of contractors are enriched. Our brave young warriors, maimed and dead.

As politicians became more impotent, where were the protesters in the streets? Conscription gone, a professional military in the business of war, protecting "our" freedom 7,000 miles away, did not warrant multitudes demanding an end to the war?

Now that terror has found a home in Iraq: Are we safer?

— G.M. Christopher

Monument

Corrections

• The story "Network nightmare" (News, July 16) contained incorrect information. IT operations costs to the city in the last 3½ years total nearly $29.6 million. Another almost $8.8 million was spent on IT capital in that time. That makes the total spent nearly $38.4 million, not $85 million as was erroneously reported. The errors occurred in math computations when combining various components of IT spending.

• A timeline of events was incorrect in "Jonesing for open space" (News, July 16). The Center for Biological Diversity actually sued the Forest Service before a study was released showing that the threatened greenback cutthroat trout was rarer than once believed. It was only after the suit was filed that the Forest Service agreed to close the Bear Creek Watershed to motorized users.

We regret the errors.

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