Thanks to Gail Sheehy and the Indy for an excellent article about the journey that four 9/11 widows are making to find the truth and prevent another such attack ["Four 9/11 moms battle Bush," Sept. 11-17].
I don't compare the loss that drove these women to their quest with mine or anyone else's. But their sense of betrayal at being lied to and strung along, and misled resonated with me from two of my battles. One with the idea that the most powerful nation in the world can't provide adequate manpower on our borders to stop tons upon tons of drugs that invade our nation to enslave and deprave our youth. (My daughter's addiction is my driving force on this issue.)
Another has been what is called a "gadfly" or "school board watchdog" in my community. I have observed over the years that these trusted elected officials and professional educators have no compunction about lying to or about community members.
They, like the FBI and other bureaucracies, owe their first allegiance to keeping their fiefdoms undisturbed. The oath of allegiance to a Constitution they have probably never read and to the United States of America is secondary to meeting the first rule of the god of bureaucracy -- "Don't rock the boat" -- and if troublesome people like the four widows of 9/11 make that impossible, the second rule is "Find someone to blame."
And by the way, that tendency crosses all political party and ideological lines. Patrick Henry's famous "Liberty or Death" speech should rattle each of us out of our comfortable complacency: "The battle is not to the strong alone, it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave."
-- Barbara Vickroy
Down the river
I read with great sadness "Four 9/11 moms battle Bush" by Gail Sheehy.
It is more than a real shame our immigration laws aren't enforced, especially for the victims and families of 9-11.
A Mexican illegal alien laborer created the fake IDs for the original two 9-11 terrorists so that they could remain in Virginia undetected until that fateful day in September.
The open question remains, Why is the Bush administration selling American citizens down the river?
Begin speaking up, contact www.NumbersUsa.com or call the White House at 202/456-1111.
Stop protecting these people who are here illegally and start protecting our American citizens. After all, this is our country and our children.
-- Marty Lich
Eagle County Republican Party
Financial death spiral
Re: "Four 9/11 moms battle Bush." The terrifying reality surfacing in our country is that our president, Congress and unrelenting corporations are dismantling this country's ability to maintain its sovereignty by not enforcing our borders, keeping jobs within our country and maintaining a sustained cover-up of 9/11--while it wages an inane, unwinnable war against Iraq and Afghanistan. That's not to mention our soldiers are dying like flies over there at $1 billion a week.
In the process, it's taking our country into a financial death spiral as well as a cultural breakdown with the first victim being California. Watch your job vanish as it gets "offshored" or "outsourced" to India, Mexico or China.
However, watch Colorado as one of the dominoes as we suffer huge influxes of population both from those Americans fleeing from California's population cesspool as well as the massive invasion of illegal aliens pouring across our borders. To date: 144,000 illegal aliens in our state. Cost to Coloradans: $140.6 million annually. Languages: 50 and rising. Crisis: Water, depression of wages and loss of jobs. Results will be our schools going broke, water wars, our medical services bankrupting, our social services being broken and our English language turning into linguistic nightmares for our children and our communities.
Throw in leprosy, TB, hepatitis, Chagas' disease and Newcastle [disease] and we've got problems beyond solving.
I demand action by putting troops on our border with Mexico.
-- Frosty Wooldridge
In response to the Sept. 4-10 news story "Holy water!" about water damage at St. Mary's Cathedral, I suspect God was just trying to baptize the church given all the controversy surrounding the Catholics in the past couple of years. What's nine inches of Colorado Springs Utilities water to an infinite God? He just wasn't thinking.
-- Alison Whiteman
Get a quote from God
In response to the Aug. 14-20 news story "Divine diagnosis" about Rev. Donald Armstrong of the Grace and St. Stephens Episcopal Church, maybe you should have a crack Christian specialist to ask these ministers and priest what the Bible really says.
Challenge these church leaders to defend their faith. Not everything is gray in the Bible; some things are just plain black and white and people want to wear blinders when reading the Good Book. You need to read and study a book before you can write a book review or even interview its author.
Anything short of this type of effort insults not only the interviewee but in this case God, the author.
-- Michael J. Doneson
Via the Internet
The breast news yet
Finally there is hope! Americans who have loved ones who are chronically or even hopelessly ill have been dismayed that there is no public outcry over the fact that President Bush has restricted stem-cell research in this country.
Bush is denying possible cures to millions suffering from Parkinson's or Alzheimer's diseases, spinal cord injury, heart disease, diabetes and other illnesses. But now scientists in Australia are using this research to regrow breasts -- a development that may finally change Americans' complacent attitudes.
An international plastic surgeons' conference has been informed that women who have lost a breast to cancer may one day be able to grow a new one using stem-cell technology developed by Melbourne surgeons. The technology could also allow women to boost the size of their bust without the need for silicone implants.
The technique had already been tried in animals, with the Melbourne team successfully growing a breast in a pig.
This news may accomplish what sympathy and simple human consideration were unable to do. With breast cancer so widespread, Americans -- women especially -- may now demand that stem-cell research be allowed to proceed in this country without presidential interference.
Opponents' belief that discarded fetal tissue from abortions and excess embryos from fertilization treatments are too sacred to be used for this purpose will be easily dismissed as religious arguments that unconstitutionally interfere with other citizens' religious rights to believe differently.
But probably more important, once the beauty industry recognizes the monetary potential of a procedure to regrow breasts or even enlarge them, commerce will achieve what compassion could not.
Note: Read about the latest developments in Stem Cell Research at www.stemcellresearchnews.com.
Run, Wesley, run
An open letter to Gen. Wesley Clark:
Americans love a happy ending. Right always triumphs, the little man gets a fair shake, the underdog wins the boxing match, the pennant or the horse race.
You are our next happy ending. It seems to me that since the assassination of our beloved JFK, the Democrats have had a constant uphill battle. Even with the major successes of LBJ's Great Society, the War on Poverty and his courageous Civil Rights legislation, history has not been kind to him. And even with the monumental successes of the Clinton administration, all people want to remember is an incident with a zipper.
It is paradoxical that Americans have really short memories for things like Watergate, Irangate and Read-My-Lips, but even shorter memories for things they take for granted every day: the FDIC, Social Security, the SEC, FHA, the GI Bill, Medicare, the 40-hour workweek, minimum wage, the Peace Corps, etc., etc.
And isn't it ironic that while we move further and further from the concept of America that was our Founding Fathers', we've never been closer to returning to the days when Americans wore tall hats and buckle shoes -- zero tolerance for any difference of opinion, blind obedience to a wrong-headed ideology and a fear-driven reversal of almost every universal good from science to the environment to workers' rights.
What gives me hope is that Americans also love heroes whether they are wearing a coonskin cap or playing a saxophone. And, that's where you come in.
Film director Michael Moore has asked that concerned citizens encourage you to dive in and help us remember how absolutely good America can be when we face the greatest challenge and place people above profit.
-- Susan Jefferson
Editor's note: Gen. Clark's e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. This week, Clark announced he is running for president.
Brood upon beauty
Great writers are often prophetic, and it feels to me as though we have arrived at the time so aptly described by Lewis Carroll: "'Twas brillig and the slithy toves/ Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:/ All mimsy were the boragoves,/ And the mome raths outgrabe."
So many words dripping from the lips of government officials these days seem utterly nonsensical. They are spit out very, very fast in high-pitched tones and jerky style. There is no honesty in them, no meaning.
Meanwhile, ordinary people are infected with a strange disease that makes them move at a rush too, and instead of speaking directly, they mumble with averted gaze such inanities as "How ya doin'?"
They seem to fear looking at another passerby will unloose some terrible unknown. At any moment, perhaps, they are likely to see the Jabberwock with eyes of flame come whiffling and burbling through the tulgey wood. It's a monster that can out-whiffle and out-burble Ashy and Rummy and Dubya and all the rest. Oh, unfrabjous day!
As an old woman I long to hear words spoken distinctly, earnestly, honestly. We need calm words, careful words, words of truth. As an old English teacher, I turn to another long-dead poet, John Masefield, for words of advice: "Brood upon beauty, till the grace/ Of beauty with the holy face/ Brings peace into the bitter place."
-- Gene Birkhead
Clarification An article in the Sept. 4-10 Independent noted that official results from the April city elections in Colorado Springs reflect a difference of 18 between the number of ballots that appeared to have been scanned and accepted, and the number that were officially counted in the election. City Clerk Kathryn Young said at the time that the discrepancy was due to four ballots that had turned out to be duplicates, plus 14 that were initially not counted but were later discovered and added to the total.
Young has since informed the Independent that her explanation was incorrect. Further research by Young has shown that the discrepancy stems from an error in which the city overstated by 18 the number of ballots that were "pulled," or disqualified. The error does not carry over into the total number of votes cast and counted in the election, which Young says remains accurately identified in the city's final report.