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Small needle of sanity

First, I would like to thank you profusely for the Jan. 8-14 article "You are sooo Colorado Springs if ..." on behalf of the many of us who have run screaming from the Springs for many of the reasons listed therein.

But I feel you left out one very important "You are so Colorado Springs if ...

... you didn't know Colorado Springs was used as an example of (figuratively) "where everything has gone to pot" in a best-selling book.

Thanks for keeping that small needle of sanity in the barn full of straw.

-- Shannon Polugar

Turlock, Calif.

Hard to find

Regarding the Dec. 24 story about Monica Wilson, "Falling through the cracks": Please do more articles on this subject. Why are these programs so hard to find? They act like they're hiding them.

I recently faxed a health nurse department in Fremont County, Colo. that I'd found online and was told they didn't have medical treatment for people in my situation, especially no dental. I believed her and didn't check that out. I kept my correspondence, dated last Nov 14.

I contacted a Community Health Partnership Program in California because of another article I read and they in turn gave me the name of a group here in Colorado called the Community Health Association of Mountain States, who, it turns out, is associated with Fremont Family Medical Center in Fremont County. And they have had dental treatment available for years. Can you tell me why this woman in the Health Department would not know about such resources?

I quite accidentally found the Summit County Care Clinic in this same period of time, and though they cannot treat all the things I have problems with, they have done their best and very kindly I might add.

-- Jont M. Gillard

Via the Internet

Into the ground

Re: Kenneth Cleaver: Stop! It's no longer funny. Can't you remember your parents saying to you, "Don't run it into the ground"? I don't agree with anything that Focus on the Family adheres to but Consumer Correspondent is just ridiculing and insulting. Totally out of line.

-- Colleene Johnson

Colorado Springs

Unwilling to commit

As wrong as John Dicker was about so much in his Dec. 18 review of Lord of the Rings, he was at least on target when he said we almost expect some halfling-on-halfling action in the torrid hobbit scenes.

I have read the books multiple times (even though I am an old married lady, not a can't-get-a-date nerd, la Dicker's myopic stereotype), and even in the mushiest of the misty, I-love-you-man scenes in the books, you never get that homoerotic thing going as hot as in the movie.

But then, unwilling to commit and betraying its self-consciousness about the scenes, the movie has to go and make a waaaay bigger deal of Sam and Rosie and evidence of their hetero sex (kids) than is strictly necessary. I can almost hear Sam screaming, "See? I'm not gay! I'm not gay! (Not that there's anything wrong with it.)" So Dicker got some of the review right.

-- Darlene Bush Tucker

Jonesboro, La.

Making the rounds

Subject: Fooled by Astroturf, a letter by Bud Taber on 1/8/04.

Mr. Bud Taber's assertion that only conservatives resort to boilerplate "Astroturf" letters is wrong, wrong, wrong. Several of these "canned" letters about the new touch-screen voting machines and about mad cow meat and milk have been making the rounds, and such backwoods papers as the Seattle Times, AZ Republic, Los Angeles Times, Sacramento Bee, have been caught. Also, though I've never taken the time from my research to gather letters about Bush and the war, so many letters I see across the nation are monotonously similar, I suspect they are not original.

I seriously doubt that these writers are all conservative. As a constant letter writer to newspapers large and small, I am pretty upset about these "canned" letters. I write my own (great) letters and always attribute if I use another's words, and I am mostly conservative. Not a Bush conservative, I hasten to add.

These danged labels are nearly useless any more. It is issues that get people steamed up rather than ideology. For instance, it is commonly repeated that only conservatives object to illegal immigration. Say what?! Seventy percent of California voters went for Schwarzenegger "because of Davis' pandering to illegals." Ditto for 60 percent from union households. In a poll conducted by Hispanic Magazine on the question: "Are there too many immigrants?" 66 percent of Cuban-Americans, 75 percent of Mexican-Americans, and 79 percent of Puerto Ricans said yes! YIKES -- who could guess there were so many conservatives running amok in our nation?

-- Barb Vickroy

Escondido, Calif.

Minding manners

I really liked the term " thought-challenged wing nuts " that was used last week to describe people who use preprinted forms and facts to write letters to the editor.

Unfortunately most of this discussion revolved around the misstated fact that this tactic is a "new tactic of the conservative propaganda machine." How naive! While I am accustomed to most of the Independent's readers continually bashing all things conservative, I would think that most of you would realize that this tactic has been around for years and is not some new subversive conservative bogeyman tool!

Indeed, a quick search of the Internet found the same tactics employed at these other bastions of truth: Violence Policy Center, Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, Sierra Club (complete with an Activist Resource Tool Kit), Democratic National Committee, Woman's Vote Center, College Democrats of America (they even refer to "The Coordinated Campaign" and urge readers to contact the DNC and other various candidates who will supply you with sample letters to guide you).

So don't get all in a huff about those "evil" conservatives as those "evil" liberals have done and continue to do the same thing. Didn't your mom ever teach you to not throw stones when you live in a glass house?

-- Lynn Feldmann

Monument

Give us solutions

The CS Indy is very responsible in presenting the sad state of affairs in CS/U.S.A.

But, I'd like to read more about solutions (to problems)!

I just read, Beyond Civilization by Daniel Quinn (of Ishmael fame). Here's a thinker who's identified the "problem," and has a solution for such!

You might consider doing the same thing: convening your own "braintrust" for such.

Let us come up with some solutions, rather than just identifying the problems. This is in the great tradition of the "Fourth Estate!"

And voting W (and the Christian fascists) out of office next November is only a start!

The problems of this culture run deeper than that. We are a profligate nation!

Good work as always!

-- F.A.H. Dalrymple

Old Colorado City

A lesson in contradictions

When it comes to School District 11 -- here's a reality check. The so-called "failing" schools aren't failing because of the teachers or administrators; they're failing because the majority of parents in those failing schools don't support or are not involved in their children's education.

Take a look at those schools that lack parental support or involvement and you'll see a school that's constantly struggling to survive. We need better programs to attract the parents being involved in their children's education -- not more charter schools.

Why do some of the new D-11 school board members keep saying they support public education by continually contradicting themselves? An example of this is during their campaign some members stated that smaller classrooms didn't equate to better student achievement and that spending money for new schools to reduce class sizes wasn't necessary. But, smaller class sizes were a determining factor in them deciding to approve the Life Skills Charter School -- establishing a new school while turning their backs on our existing schools. Maybe it's because one of their main contributors is also a board member of the new approved charter school?

Then, in a recent editorial Mr. Willie Breazell said he "supports anything that will give our children a chance to receive a quality education and gain a competitive edge," and wants to make it clear how he supports the school district, teachers, and administrators -- but never mentions how he supports them -- unless he supports them by supporting vouchers, religious schools and charter schools. That's like having the fox guard the henhouse.

-- Randy J. Rickards

Colorado Springs

Guilty of war crimes?

RE: Defining "war criminal." Please help me with this dilemma.

The administration/George Bush commenced a war against an ill-armed, ill-outfitted and poorly trained enemy, who ran so fast from us that we could not catch them, even with far superior equipment.

While there were dozens of justifications for this war, the fundamental justification was weapons of mass destruction. Colin Powell was sent to the United Nations to lie to our friends and treaty partners on the "21 points," none of which have turned out to be true.

This was not a war of defense, which is the kind of war for which America is famous; this was a pre-emptive strike against a "terrible enemy with nuclear weapons, clouds of Syrian gas and rockets that could potentially reach New York City, tipped with nuclear war heads." "Better to fight them in Iraq than in New York City," as I heard it explained.

There were no weapons of mass destruction, no mustard or Syrian gasses, nor rockets that could reach beyond those distances achieved by my 14-year-old son in our back yard, a generation ago. The Nigerian Nuclear Connection was laughable, but was lied about to the extent that many in the public domain still believe (I guess because they want to) that the weapons are there somewhere.

The only weapon of mass destruction had by Saddam Hussein, apparently, was head lice, certainly a terrible and revolting WMD, but not one that would require the disproportional response of a pre-emptive attack by the most powerful army in the world.

Hundreds of our own soldiers haven been killed, thousands more horribly wounded and, for the purpose of my dilemma, thousands of innocent Iraqis haven been killed or injured.

Is one who unleashes the horror of modern warfare on an innocent civilian population, when there is no threat of war or weapons of mass destruction, guilty of war crimes?

See Germany vs. Poland.

See Germany vs. Sudetenland

See Germany vs. Netherlands, et cetera.

P.S.: The weapons that Saddam did have were at least partially provided by the United States in, as they say, "happier times."

P.P.S.: I don't want to be a war criminal or face a war crimes tribunal. Will this letter save me?

-- Justin R. Melat

Colorado Springs

Mad Cow misrepresented

The current USDA effort to protect the $175 billion U.S. beef industry from the mad cow crisis deceives American consumers.

Mad cow disease had not been detected earlier because, until recently, USDA had been testing only 5,000 of the 35 million cows slaughtered annually (1 in 7,000). Europe and Japan test thousands every day.

The 1997 ban on feeding cow slaughterhouse remains to other cows, a common transmission path, is not preventing spread of the disease. A government survey found 25 percent of feed plants out of compliance, and the cow diagnosed this month was born after the ban.

Americans do consume meat products containing spinal column and brain tissue, traditional carriers of the disease. During slaughter, muscle tissues are routinely sprayed with bits of these tissues. T-bone steaks, hamburgers, hot dogs, and beef fillings and toppings contain bits of the spinal column.

We cannot determine the number of cases of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), the deadly human form of the disease contracted by consuming infected beef, until we start examining the brain tissues of thousands who die of dementia each year.

Other animals raised for food are also capable of carrying, contracting and presumably transmitting the disease, but they don't get to live long enough to manifest symptoms.

Folks in the meat industry should seek a more secure career. The rest of us should make a New Year's resolution to replace meat in our diet with vegetables, fruits and whole grains.

-- Charles Graham

Colorado Springs

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