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Poor Old Glory

To the Editor:

Today I saw a city utilities truck flying the American flag. As I was writing, my fingers spelled out flaying -- that is pretty much what had happened to the flag. It was frayed down almost to the blue. People all over the country are doing this. It was bad enough before September 11, when the main problem was business use. You have seen it, I am sure. A car dealer flying a flag the size of a queen-size bedspread. Commercials that wrap the product in the flag, usually figuratively. Buy from us, they say, because we "love" our country.

Now it has become fashionable to display your patriotism wherever possible. The problem with this is that it becomes a reflex. Once you put that flag on your car, buy that flag motif shirt or hat, you don't really have to do anything. Unfortunately when you flay the flag, you are displaying disrespect for it. When you use the flag for advertising, you sully it. If you want to fly the flag, do so in a way that requires you to think about what you are doing. Fly it at home. Take the time to put it up in the morning and lower it in the evening. When it becomes frayed or soiled, either repair and clean it or retire it with respect. If you do not know how to do that, check with the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts or veterans organizations. They can teach you to do the right thing for your flag.

-- Beth E. Heinrich
Colorado Springs

Tax time

To the Editor:

After retiring I decided to prepare my own income tax returns. I thought I'd have time. I almost didn't. My finances have always been pretty simple. Salary minus a few mistakes equals my taxable income. We're not talking Microsoft Corporation. Six lines should do it.

Where to start? Last year's copies if I could find them. It was Form 1040 that's one thousand forty. I wondered if there's a one thousand thirty-nine. There were also several schedules but some looked like forms to me. At the IRS office, I joined a crowd of frightened patriots staring blankly at the 200 cubicles. I eventually found the same documents that were used for my previous return, plus the instruction manual. My stack was a half-inch thick containing some 120,000 words. I felt sick.

Back home I dumped my "Important Tax Document" stuff on the table. The task was to enter my few figures somewhere among the 202 lines on the federal forms. The first figure to enter was wages. Seemed simple enough. The next figure said: Attach Schedule B. What happened to A? Nothing could be figured until you figure something else.

It was a backed-up sewer on enchilada night. There were legal terms that only tax lawyers can argue. Example: Allocation of Interest Expense Under Temporary Regulations Section 1.163-8T. I'll bet that T at the end stands for Temporary. Being retired, when frustrations mounted, I could take drives or walks or sleep on it. The job took most of a month. Final result: I owed the Feds 16 bucks.

-- Jim Inman
Colorado Springs

Pigs in space

To the Editor:

Citizens for Peace in Space staged an informational picket outside the International Center at the Broadmoor as a prelude to the banquet which opened this year's space symposium. The flyer distributed there included a fiscal year 2003 Discretionary Budget bar graph to highlight the size of the defense budget. The following is an excerpt from the leaflet that was handed out:

"In his farewell speech more than 40 years ago President Dwight Eisenhower warned of the dangers of a 'military industrial complex' which he thought had already gained undue influence in the political system of his day.

Forty years of growth and consolidation of power presents us today with an even more serious problem. Display space in the exhibit halls at this year's symposium sold out early as the giants of the military establishment lined up to sell their wares and argue for the new high-tech weapons system that is just around the corner.

On the table now is a proposed $48 billion increase in military spending, sure to lead to pork barrel spending on an unprecedented scale.

No one will get more of that lard than the corporations assembled here."

For more information about Citizens for Peace in Space, write me at P.O. Box 915, Colorado Springs, 80901 or call me at 389-0644.

-- Bill Sulzman
Colorado Springs

St. Ally of Corrections

To the Editor:

Thank you for your wonderful review of our show, currently running at Centennial Hall in the Pikes Peak Center in Colorado Springs.

I must, however, make mention of an inaccuracy within the review written by Kathryn Eastburn. St. Veronica Guiliani ("St. Veronica of the Eating Disorders") got a thumbs-up from Sister, as she "earned her spot" through

all of her suffering via starvation, stigmata and neglect from her mother.

During the course of the show, St. Simon Stylites was the only Saint to receive a thumbs-down, as his behavior was viewed by Sister as simply "lazy."

Thanks again for the excellent review, and for giving us a chance to clear up the details.

-- Ally R. Haynes
Production Manager

Note: This letter refers to Late Nite Catechism which ran at the Centennial Hall auditorium through April 14.

Boycott heavy- handed security measures

To the Editor:

I couldn't help but be touched by the letter from Eve Bailey ("Homeland Insecurity," April 11). Mrs. Bailey, you were absolutely right to teach your daughter not to let strangers paw her, and, unfortunately, you were wrong to relent in this and let airport "security" thugs handle her body. You ask if such abuse is really necessary. No, it is not. However, it is the inevitable result of letting the security paranoids take over the federal government, and it will not only continue but continue to get worse until the present regime is dethroned.

The hard truth is that the only way for that to be accomplished is for you, and several million other people, to do two things: First, you must refuse to fly for the time being. It's too late to defy them at the airport; you'll just end up jailed. But if half or more of the flying public were to boycott air travel, and make it clear that they wouldn't be back until the illegal searches were stopped, they would be stopped within a matter of weeks. If you got enough people to boycott, it might be a matter of only a few days.

Second, take advantage of the fact that 2002 is an election year. Come November, turn out the entire crop of Democrats and Republicans who have passed the insane laws which allow things like the abuse of your daughter, and replace them with Libertarians. Libertarians will immediately repeal the offensively misnamed "USA Patriot" Act, and remove the illegal search-for-travel rules imposed on airlines, and currently slated for imminent imposition on trains and buses as well. Libertarians will dismantle the insane, paranoid security state from top to bottom.

Mrs. Bailey, you failed your daughter at the airport. Make it up to her, and to the millions of other Americans of all ages being illegally searched, assaulted and robbed at the nation's airports. No, it won't be easy. But what are you going to tell your daughter, years from now, if you don't do it?

-- Patrick L. Lilly
Occupied Cheyenne Caon

County wasting our money

To the Editor:

It never ceases to amaze me how government wastes taxpayers' money.

Here we have a county administrator who makes $128,144 a year, more than most administrators around the Front Range, and now he wants to hire an assistant for $90,000 a year to help him do his job.

I have one thing to say, Mr. Harris: If you can't do the job you're hired for, I would suggest you look for another. Many with more education than you would line up to do this job. Incidentally, will the county hire a relative or friend for this job? Like before?

Then the county spends millions of taxpayer money for unneeded storage. Have taxpayers no input whatsoever to finally put a stop to this frivolous spending of our money?

-- Elfriede Little
Colorado Springs

Look to Denver

To the Editor:

It behooves Colorado Springs' city fathers, Urban Renewal officials and promoters of a convention center and hotel to study the Denver experience. (Denver Post, April 7) In November 1999, Denver voters approved a $268 million expansion for their convention center. Bonds for the expansion would not be issued unless a companion deal for a headquarters hotel could be reached. A private developer owned land suitable for the hotel and his was the task of securing financing and building the hotel.

In January 2001, Denver City Council gave a $55.3 million subsidy to the developer to build a Hyatt Hotel. December 2004 is the target date for opening the expanded center. The developer obtained several extensions for his search, but found the financial markets had dried up. The mayor on March 27, 2002 pulled the plug on the sputtering plan of the private developer and announced he will now create a public entity to finance the hotel project. So much for the grand idea of public-private partnership.

Competition to attract conventions all over the U.S. is expected to get even tougher in the next five years. Austin, Chicago and Houston are among other cities which can teach us valuable lessons about investors and bonding.

For Colorado Springs, partnership of public and private sectors would be essential. Voters here are very unlikely to guarantee the city's credit bonds for both a convention center and hotel.

-- John Daly
Colorado Springs

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