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Where in the world is Tosches?

I just moved to Florida a few months ago. It's good to know the "I" is alive and well and living in Colorado Springs. I thoroughly enjoyed the article "You are sooo Colorado Springs if..." (Cover story, Jan. 8-14). It hasn't changed much. Found the "I" news while taking a virtual visit back to our home of twenty-six years. Thanks for the memories -- and where in the world is Rich Tosches?

-- Barbara Elkins

Clermont, FL

Respect FAC's core collection

John Hazlehurst's ecstatic essay about the changes in the Fine Arts Center ("Change is a-comin'," March 25) left one question dangling: How does the new vision for the FAC include and celebrate the core collection of Alice Bemis Taylor (one of the founders and original benefactors of the Fine Arts Center), the superb Southwest Native American and Hispanic art now known as the Taylor Museum?

The restoration -- colors, original natural light -- are great. I worry, though, about the potential paradox of restoring this gem of architecture but neglecting the rest of the founders' vision. It was Alice Bemis Taylor who selected the architect, John Gaw Meem, in the first place: Meem was involved in restoring Spanish Colonial churches; Taylor had amassed a collection of Native American and Spanish Colonial art too big for her home, and sought an architect to build a gallery to house it.

Our Fine Arts Center has always taken pride in its unique vision of housing visual, musical and theatre arts within one entity. Less clearly recognized, maybe, is its uniqueness in reflecting the arts in different cultural contexts under one roof. As an instructor of humanities and studio art at Pikes Peak Community College, I've routinely sent students to the FAC on field trips. In part, I have them absorb and compare not only works of art, but also the cultural contexts in which art is created. The Sacred Lands exhibition, with its quotes, text and video as well as artifacts, reveals arts (and artists) as integral within traditional societies -- aesthetic, utilitarian and spiritual aspects together. Rarely can one walk up the hall and juxtapose such an approach with that of the "outsider" or "expressive" artist in contemporary American culture.

To be able to immerse oneself both in Sacred Lands and in the work of Judy Chicago, Linda McCartney or Colorado 2004 may be unique to our Fine Arts Center: this insight into the scope of the arts -- universal to the human condition, yet as varied as human culture. The joy of this in the FAC is it's not dryly anthropological; it's the arts revealing things about being human -- which is what art is all about.

Fresh vision, new energy, renewed life for the Fine Arts Center are worth cheering about. But the new director, the FAC board and the community need to beware of "throwing the baby out with the bathwater." The Taylor Museum collection is one of the gems in our community. The form in which it's used and exhibited may change, but the collection itself -- and the cultural wisdom it encodes and shares -- has transcendent value, beauty, insight and power. May all this be maintained, displayed and cherished right along with Chihuly, the Beatles and the restoration of Meem's original masterpiece.

-- Pat Musick

Colorado Springs

A better day for America

I find it extremely disappointing that our National Security Advisor, Condoleezza Rice, is still refusing to testify, either publicly or privately, in front of the 9/11 commission. Instead, the Bush administration claims such testimony would violate the "constitutional privilege of the executive branch. " I wish someone would tell me where the Republicans' respect for such privilege was when the Clinton Witch Hunt was in full force. The obvious partisan double standard put forth here is pathetic and insulting, not only to every American who is concerned with the truth behind our governments' security failure on 9/11, but especially to the families of those who lost loved ones in the massacre on that day and those who have perished abroad in the subsequent "War on Terrorism." America deserves answers, not excuses.

I wish I could say I am truly surprised by the administration's defense of Ms. Rice's refusal to testify, but sadly I see it as yet another political dodge of liability by Bush & Co.

People with true integrity take responsibility for their failures as well as their accomplishments, a lesson not yet learned by this White House administration. If Bush or Rice had an ounce of such integrity, they would publicly face the 9/11 panel and the American public and take responsibility for the debacle of 9/11. Instead, they prefer to hide behind thin rhetoric while they gloat in the so-called "success" of the War on Terror.

In my opinion, they have very little to be proud of. It will be a better day for America when the Bush regime of smoke and mirrors is long gone.

-- Tony Porter

Colorado Springs

On Tuesday, March 30, the Bush administration announced that it will allow National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice to publicly testify before the 9/11 commission, and that President Bush and Vice President Cheney will both testify privately before the entire commission, not just the chairman as they had recently planned. -- Ed.

The roots of evil

My family recently arrived home from vacation to find a symbol of hatred in our front yard. This symbol came in the form of a flyer in a plastic bag. The bag contained rocks, assumedly for weight, so the offending motorist could hurl it and speed on.

This flyer, titled "She Needs the Truth," pictured a young girl and asked "Where will she find it?" As I read this message of hatred and the group's Web site, I was shocked to realize the group who created and distributed this trash was an organization that wholeheartedly believes the hatefulness it preaches.

The National Alliance is a white supremacist group that advocates for the entire isolation of various Aryan races and global dominance over all non-pure whites. They state on their Web site that "We will do whatever is necessary to achieve this White living space and to keep it White." Their warped worldview holds that there must be a "thorough rooting out of Semitic and other non-Aryan values and customs everywhere."

The literature equates homosexuals with drug dealers and claims our neighborhood school classrooms have "been converted into neo-communist brainwashing pens."

Their Web site espouses a hatred of all nonwhites and rationalizes this belief through their interpretation of evolution and natural selection. It is ironic that a group that claims to be of higher intelligence could formulate such ignorance over biodiversity and healthy global civilizations.

The National Alliance is a hate group that could only have negative impacts on civilization. Think of the destructiveness of so many past hate groups, one that was led by Hitler, whom they must admire.

This divisiveness is the root of so many of society's failures and fosters intolerance and segregation.

How can this message of bigotry be freely placed on my property? Wasn't the intent of this message similar to crosses being burned in yards?

The National Alliance is a disgrace to the human race and is, itself, the root of all that is evil.

-- Jonathan Wuerth

Colorado Springs

Glaring failures

With the most recent reports detailing the Bush administration's meager work against terrorism prior to 9/11 and its shaky reaction that day and after (refer to Richard Clarke's charges and the critical facts coming out of the 9/11 commission), it should be obvious that the claims by President Bush of his cohesive vision to fight terror are weak.

Despite the commitment of much of the world and all his political opponents to work together against terrorism following the attack, President Bush did not use that good will and collective energy to pursue a comprehensive military and diplomatic plan that the world could stand behind. According to Richard Clarke, the desire for retribution against Saddam Hussein overwhelmed the logic against attacking Iraq. That the CIA, FBI and the White House's own counter-terrorism officials all stated Iraq was not involved in 9/11 was not good enough for the old-school NeoCons and Cold Warriors advising the President. By attacking Iraq, the president did exactly what bin Laden would have hoped for: he pulled resources (specifically, the 5th Group Special Forces) from the fight against al Qaeda and put them in Iraq. He also put the majority of our army in a precarious situation with poor planning and little hope for a smooth withdrawal. It was common knowledge that the military victory would be competent and successful, and that the post battle plan to stabilize Iraqi society were critical -- and should have been obvious to the administration.

The fact that many of our allies in the Iraq action are having doubts about that policy gives further proof that our easy military victory, yet costly attempt to maintain the peace, will have little affect on al Qaeda. It may have, in fact, increased terrorist recruiting. Spain is the most glaring example of the failure of this policy. Spain has dealt with terrorists far longer than we have, and its people were hard pressed to see the benefit of attacking Iraq. By removing resources and focus from Afghanistan onto Iraq, we allowed al Qaeda to regroup and rearm on the Afghan/ Pakistani border and we opened a new front in the war against terrorism that wasn't there before. As bad as Saddam's Iraq was, the UN sanctions and weapons inspection programs had turned Saddam into a tyrant whose only power was within his borders. That was further limited due to the success of our no-fly zones patrols.

With each day, new facts come from the Bush administration, detailing not only growing successes, but also glaring failures made each step of the way by recycled administrators and frustrated theorists who have advised our president so poorly. The administration's attempt to block investigations and obfuscate its actions casts further doubt that our leaders will take responsibility for their mistakes and adjust their plans in fighting al Qaeda -- even as this enemy refines its techniques to attack us.

President Bush is free to run on his record in the war on terror and against al Qaeda; but he shouldn't try to keep American citizens in the dark about his administration's actions. The administration should not repeat false statements when the facts show otherwise. The president shouldn't expect us to vote for him based only on his word. Democracy does not work that way, and blind adherence to failed policies can be as damaging as loaded jets flown by terrorists into our buildings.

-- Bud Gordon

Colorado Springs

Half truths and innuendo

Having attended the latest Pikes Peak Firearms Coalition Association (PPFCA) meeting on Thursday, March 12 and heard both Dan May and John Newsome speak again (heard them as well at Sand Creek High School), I was appalled and stunned at the half-truths and intended innuendos that Dan May tried to sell to an audience that wasn't close to buying. John Newsome received the endorsement of the PPFCA because he brought the truth with him and they knew the truth when they heard it. Based on this, the endorsement of Jeanne Smith to Dan May (politics and corruption continues), and other things that I'm not at liberty to type here, I'm strongly recommending that Jeanne Smith and Dan May resign their positions immediately and issue public apologies to the resident of El Paso County plus John Newsome and family for the totally politically corrupt job they have done. John Newsome will make the best district attorney this county has seen in decades.

-- Gregory Alan Johnson

Colorado Springs

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