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PC-speak police on patrol

To the Editor:

I am dismayed and a bit disturbed by the headline "Gays Bash Hobby Lobby as Insensitive" (Oct. 14). While the article reports several incidents of discrimination, this in no way constitutes "bashing." Also, reports of direct discrimination because of sexual orientation do not make a business "insensitive." If Hobby Lobby is in any way condoning the behavior of their staff, then we need a statement from Hobby Lobby management explaining why they would go out of their way to insult and discriminate against customers.

And, if they are doing this with gay customers, what other customers have they targeted as being undesirable?

Equality Colorado would like to take this opportunity to offer diversity training to the management and staff of Hobby Lobby. We would also like to offer training to the staff of the Independent to talk about "bashing" and "insensitive" vs. legitimate complaints and discrimination.

-- Christy Pitts
Equality Colorado


Gay employee didn't know

To the Editor:

I felt it necessary to write you concerning the article that appeared in your paper on Oct. 14, concerning the Hobby Lobby on South Eighth Street. I am an employee of that store and also a practicing homosexual.

Permit me to say that I had absolutely no idea that the kinds of things the article cited were going on in my workplace. I am blown away and even frightened that the people with whom I am on friendly terms are behaving this way to my own "kind." I know that I am not the only one who is completely surprised and appalled by the evidence you put forth.

While I love my job, I share the indignation of Tharp, Diehl and others that such open hostility was begin carried out in a store I work for and that it was never brought to my attention. I now fear for myself in a place where I thought I was relatively safe from ostracism or worse. I plead for the gay community of the Springs to recognize that some Hobby Lobby employees are suddenly in the same boat as they are.

-- Name withheld
Colorado Springs


Animal lover appalled

To the Editor:

Hey guys, although I loved my last ad, I nearly had a stroke seeing a pro-greyhound-racing article opposite the Pet Page ("A Day at the Races," Sept. 23). This is a cruel industry, which perpetuates animal suffering of an enormous magnitude throughout the country, and for the Independent to give credibility to this industry was really a shock -- and in the same issue of the Pet Page!

I'm enclosing a copy of an article from the Pueblo Chieftain (July 11, '93) for some background info on this subject (I understand that Pueblo no longer has a greyhound racetrack), and there's a lot of info out there on this subject, but a real quick look is accessible by going to: Askjeeves.com, then clicking on Infoseek's "Greyhound Abuse Media Cases." It is important to get info from organizations that do not have anything to gain by providing info, not those subsidized by the greyhound-racing industry.

Please, let's have some serious stories about people and organizations that help animals, not those that exploit them. Why not, for example, interview the lady whose letter you published about feral cats in the same issue (C.A.T.S.); or groups such as Dreampower, Colorado Springs All Breed Rescue, Safe Place, etc. Safe Place places pets of terminally ill people.

On a more positive note, I applaud you for not accepting advertising from circuses that use performing animals.

-- Jeri McGinnis, Gigi's
Manitou Springs


Read and write, don't point and click

To the Editor:

I am astonished at Donna Ladd's surprise, revealed in her column ("Writing Wrongs," Oct. 7), to discover that writing with computers might improve kids' literacy. Gee, I thought that was obvious 20 years ago, when computers first came out -- in my case, via a 1977 Radio Shack computer with a program called Electric Pencil.

Of course, way back then, teachers were afraid of computers and thought they were only good for teaching programming. Some still haven't got a clue how to use them to improve basic children's literacy.

Maybe it was because of my Welsh linguistic heritage, the fact that I was, and still am, a hunt-and-peck typist, and that back in the '50s I taught English at West Point and had to ponder how better to teach cadets how to write, that I took to that first computer like a fish to water. I introduced all my kids to it. The very first time I pecked out and corrected a screen of text on the computer, I shouted out loud -- like Archimedes -- that backspace and blot-out was a revolution in the English language!

That was 1979, Donna.

My youngest son at the time had very mild dyslexia. He hated to read or write, so struggled in school in English, even though he was bright in math, and his mother read to him, one-on-one. After I brought home my first computer and got an early printer, he started to use it to write his school assignments. He immediately liked looking at the crisp, regular fonts on the screen, rather than his wretched handwriting on paper. He discovered backspace and spelling checkers. Not correctors -- checkers. He started writing longer essays than his classmates.

Then, one day, like all kids, he rushed his assignment and left a terrible essay printed out on the dining-room table. I grabbed it and trashed it with pencil corrections. He was appalled. He had to catch the 7:30 bus to school. I handed him a dictionary, told him to get over to the computer, call it up on the screen, correct his errors and print it again. He did, and when he hit the printer button, a new, legible copy came out in 30 seconds. Never in a million years could he have hand-rewritten it that fast. He got a B on the paper and ever after knew that the secret in learning to write well, was rewriting. And the computer made that easier.

Son Ed today is an educated man who writes well. His 3-year-old son is learning from him. And I am a better writer at 71 than I was at 22, when I was paid 50 cents a word for my national writings!

Finally, do you know what has probably done more to limit the gains in literacy made by computers over the past 20 years? The World Wide Web, because it fosters nothing more than doing point and click to consume, not create, information. That is what cave people did. Point, click and grunt. Graphical screens are pre-literate, a backward step. They help perpetuate illiteracy. Yet teachers embrace the Web. Chew on that conundrum for a while.

-- Dave Hughes
Colorado Springs


Applause for Indy and Focus

To the Editor:

I write to express the pleasure I derive from being on your subscription list.

I also would recount an interesting experience the last time I passed through your burg. Impelled by curiosity, I followed the signs to Focus on the Family, where I spent several hours. I've got to take my hat off to those folks. What an ingenious aberration from Christianity!

-- Scott Abbott
Santa Fe, NM

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