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Best and better

Congratulations on getting "The Best" issue on the streets. I know it's a challenge for all; and it looks great.

Personally I want to thank you for the Arts Advocate honor. Many times I question if the madness I do is even worth the trouble or if anyone even notices. This particular acknowledgement actually matters to me. Thanks. It's a privilege to even be mentioned in the same breath as Mary Mashburn but appearing in the "Best" makes it beyond "better."

I know many people look forward to the issue and I speak for the hoards (not enough of a hoard, I may add) that think the Independent is the "BEST"!

-- Rodney Wood

Pueblo

Kicking butt

Wow, usually here in the pasture of the Gazette features section we only see the stones thrown by the Indy when they are flying overhead on their way to the editorial section.

But the stones you've thrown [see "Tosches goes down singing," Public Eye, Oct. 2-8] have landed on my nice cushy bed of grass where I was enjoying a good Christian romance novel (I have no idea why you made that reference, since you probably noticed they laid off our book reviewer more than a year ago). Since you've awoken me from my too-old-for-real-news-now-writing-features stupor, I'd like to point out that this 26-year-old Lifestyle writer kicked the Indy's butt with his street racing story this summer. Yes, when I beat you to the presses you had to hold the story till it was stale, and when it came out, your boy [John] Dicker had mined all my sources.

I applaud you for reporting on changes at the Gazette. We can't do it very well since we're on the inside and management is downsizing and cutting back in everyway [sic] possible, which only hurts the reader who still has to pay 50 cents for the paper but is getting less. I think you'll best serve the public by covering the corporate bumbling. Painting our features section in a false light doesn't serve anyone.

-- Dave Phillips

Lifestyle reporter

The Gazette

For more on the Gazette's so-called butt-kicking, check out the Colorado Street Racing online chatboard link at www.cosr.com/forum1/index.php?showtopic=15373&hl=gazette&st=0.

A great personality

I just wanted to say thank you for adding the article "Ms. Fat-so" to your paper [the Oct. 2-8 cover piece]. I just hope the skinny people of the world will read it and understand us fat people a little better.

I've personally done just about everything to fit into what society considers acceptable. I've tried every diet, working out, weight loss centers, psychotherapy and even had a gastric bypass. I've lost hundreds of pounds only to gain it back and then some. The most I've lost with one program was 175 pounds. That was with the gastric bypass. Yet, after losing 175 pounds, I was still considered obese. That was almost five years ago.

I'm not obese anymore. I'm now morbidly obese. But, I have a great personality and I'm still trying hard to be an acceptable size for society. Know of any good diets?

-- Joanne Turcotte

Via the Internet

Attacking the disabled

Regarding El Paso County's ballot measure 1A, to raise money for the developmentally disabled: Oh, c'mon now. A ballot issue asking us, the good citizens of Colorado Springs, to support people with mental retardation. Are you off your rocker?

It says so right here on my "Notice of Election to Increase Taxes to Increase Debt on a Citizen on a Referred Measure." You know, it's the newspaper-type thing you got in the mail about voting.

Right here, on page 3 (under arguments against), it says, "By funding programs to care for these children we are encouraging bad conduct and irresponsibility such as the mother's drug and alcohol abuse."

And don't 'cha know it. I mean, we are the people who faithfully refuse to fund our zoo, our symphony, our library, and usually, our schools. We would never go so far as to help our "those people."

We know who we are. Didn't we get national attention for Amendment 2? We would have won, too, had not those crazies in the Supreme Court called it "unconstitutional." I mean, really. What would Betty Beedy have to say about this?

P.S. This liberal friend was telling me how in Nazi Germany before they killed homosexuals and Jewish people, they killed 1 million people with disabilities. I thought, oh come on, are you trying to scare me or what?

-- Patricia Higgins

Colorado Springs

Editor's note: To learn the surprising truth about who was responsible for the despicable comments against ballot measure 1A and mocking people with developmental disabilities, see Public Eye on page 17.

Two-armed bandits

Wembly USA is spending millions trying to persuade Colorado voters to pass Amendment 33. Using job creation and tourism funding as a shibboleth, their ad campaign raises some important questions.

How does a video lottery terminal (VLT) machine differ from a casino slot machine? Why should the proposed facilities come under jurisdiction of the Lottery Commission and not the Colorado Division of Gaming?

Perhaps the truth lies in the strict, time-tested procedure that Gaming enforces. Slot machines contain a computer chip programmed and tested by an independent lab. The chip is inspected by Gaming and sealed into each machine. A payout between 80 percent and 100 percent is set and remains for the life of the machine, on average seven years. Law prohibits the casino from adjusting or changing it without going through the entire process again. In this way, Gaming affords the slot player some protection and a fighting chance on an honest machine.

Can it be that Wembly wants to avoid the Division of Gaming and its strict procedures, opting instead for a less stringent control of VLTs in "racinos"? If so, that is a very cogent reason for all Colorado voters to cast "no" ballots on Amendment 33.

-- John A. Daly

Colorado Springs

Cancel my subscription

The economy is rebounding; why do you not report the facts?

President Bush should be commended for his strong leadership on the economy. He has taken bold action to create lasting economic growth. The president's economic growth agenda creates jobs. His economic plan is focused on job creation and helps working families with immediate tax relief.

Promoting investment is another critical component in the president's agenda. Reducing the overall tax burden on small business and eliminating the unfair double tax on dividends spurs investment by individuals and businesses, enabling much-needed capital investment and spurring job creation.

How come we do not hear this information posted in your paper? I would appreciate some more balanced reporting from your paper in the future or I am canceling my subscription.

-- Amber McCalla

Colorado Springs

Cut to the bone

The Department of Health and Human Services reported this week that the number of American children now living in poverty has reached over 5 million, with 1 million of that number homeless and living on the streets without adequate shelter or nutrition. This includes toddlers and infants.

Since 2000, 2.5 million jobs have been lost, including 600,000 jobs sent offshore by American companies who seem perfectly willing to sell goods to Americans but will not hire them.

Since the economy tanked, many who were fairly regular contributors to charity have stopped giving. Recent tax breaks did little to generate increased charitable giving. Other programs aimed at helping the poor have been cut or drastically reduced by the Republican Congress. Churches are cutting their charitable works while applying for faith-based government funding.

Yet, we are preparing for another massive tax cut aimed directly at people with incomes that exceed $150,000 per year. In addition, Congress has just approved an $87 billion package for reconstruction and war costs in Iraq.

To fully understand the effect of this expenditure, $87 billion would feed and shelter not only the American poor and homeless, but the poor and homeless of the entire world for seven years.

Here at home the majority of states, under Republican governors and legislatures, have cut welfare assistance to the bone. Mothers that had just recently moved from welfare to work are now losing child-care subsidies, which places them all back on welfare rolls again. Only this time there is no money and they, too, are headed for the street. The whole purpose of getting families back to work has now been co-opted by poor Republican planning.

It appears, at least to me, that we are not only leaving many children behind but also our American workers and the poor.

This is not what America is all about to me. One of the main constitutional duties of our government is to "promote the general welfare." It is clear that this administration has missed that point altogether.

-- Richard Baker

Colorado Springs

The magic of wet-wax

Since watering schedules have been established and the fact that this is a dry country despite the green lawns by the side of the roads, I have been trying to figure out how to conserve more water than before. We live in a townhouse where the landscape is not our responsibility to tend to, nor is it encouraged for us to be washing our cars off in the driveway.

Now, I'm not one to give up my Saturday mornings to go to the carwash. The only reason I go at all is to clean off dirt that finds the sides of my vehicle magnetic, like the dry snow in winter. Coming from Mississippi, where one only has to leave the car out in the rain once a week for it to stay clean as a whistle, I put up no little resistance to changing my -- all right, I'll admit it -- lazy habit of lounging about reading the papers on Saturday mornings.

This was a real problem with us, until I hit upon the solution one day while damp mopping the hardwood floor with a wet-wax towelette mop. This waxed paper would clean the car sitting inside a relatively cool, shaded garage. And so I tried it. And voil! The car gleamed like the proverbial image to be found in an SUV commercial, shining in the sun, rotating on its own pedestal while striking some hapless onlooker blind with that certain gotta-buy-this gut feeling.

Needless to say, we no longer fight over who goes to the carwash. Not one drop of water is wasted on the car, and it is a clean machine. Wax is rubbed on those parts of the vehicle that need it, like windshields and bumpers and that which is subject to bird droppings, instead of falling on tires or concrete. This gives me a good feeling that I, too, am able to conserve water in my new home of Colorado Springs. It is a feeling I would gladly share with everyone in Colorado Springs.

-- Laura Pellerin

Colorado Springs

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