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A few questions

Thank you for a great, fun-to-read newspaper. It's refreshing to see something other than the typical, conservative, mainstream papers.

As a recent transplant to this very bizarre city, can someone explain some things to me? It's home of Focus on the Family, yet liquor stores are 6 feet from one another and the news keeps telling us how meth is prevalent here. Do these "Focus" people have substance abuse problems?!

And WHERE, WHERE, WHERE did these folks get their driving licenses from?! The toy surprise inside a Cracker Jack box?! WHAT planet saw these dangerous, unlearned bunch as worthy of operating SUV's and trucks?!

Since December, we've had two accidents, the other parties being totally at fault. The most recent one, last week, has totaled our second car. Because of this other person's complete and utter lack of skill, ignorance, self-centeredness and pure impatience, we now have to make quite a juggle to our plans, our jobs and our lives. Meanwhile, this reckless driver carries on, selfishly, making NO changes to his world, endangering others, none the wiser.

-- Nancy Shaw

Colorado Springs

Life in the majority

I was reading the letters to the editor from the April 15 publication and came across some opinions that I strongly disagree with. One of these opinions was that of Bruce Monson. His opinion/letter was about how he was so offended that the Atheist Alliance convention received no welcome letter from Bill Owens or Lionel Rivera.

Let me just tell you, I am 14 years old and I have more common sense than to write something out of anger that I have not researched. Obviously, Mr. Monson can't really expect that the convention held on Easter weekend would not offend the Christians, who make up most of the population of Colorado Springs. He states that it was coincidental! You have to be joking me if you really think that the atheists who attended and organized the convention really did not know that it was Easter!

If you went out on the street and asked the first 100 people who walked into a grocery store if they know what Easter is, I will guarantee you that they will respond that they know what Easter is. This did indeed offend the Christians. It's just like if you were to go to the Middle East, stand in front of a group of people bowing towards Mecca, and face the other way. Then after completing that task, expect them to welcome Americans to their countries. Or even intentionally choosing Rome as a host city for an anti-Catholic convention and being offended that the Pope will not bless you with his holy water!

Another perspective is that if you were an atheist, would you send a welcome letter to a Christian convention? If you have half a brain, you would understand that in politics, your goal is to support the majority of the population's opinions.

I do not think it is right to discriminate against atheists, but I do not think that by not sending a welcome letter to them after they purposefully offended peoples' religious beliefs is discriminating against them.

-- Taylor Delph

Colorado Springs

Poisoning the planet

Dubya is an arrogant, self-serving, myopic, assassin of the environment. That $%#@! has been flying low under the radar of most Americans and apparently the media. When anybody questions him, he calls them anti-American or unpatriotic, while he guts environmental laws and allows industry to severely pollute the air and water. He and his handlers were about to officially propose the weak mercury emissions plan in January, when a few days before, the Children's Health Protection advisory committee issued a letter stating that the proposal didn't go far enough to protect children's health.

Two weeks later the acting co-directors for EPA's Children's Health Protection Office were promptly replaced. Sounds like the Gestapo. Anyone who questions his actions are censured or sacked.

Now he has the Federal Elections Commission considering new rules that would gag nonprofit advocacy groups if they disagree with Dubya or question his actions. He has hired a slick, mercenary PR firm to make brochures stating, falsely, that logging is a natural part of forest ecology. This, to pull the wool over the eyes of the sheepish public so greedy logging companies (their CEOs) can pillage our forests with little public opposition.

In addition, Dubya has been gutting key sections of the Clean Water and Clean Air acts, laws that have traditionally had bipartisan support and have done more to protect the health of Americans than any other environmental legislation. He has abdicated decades-old federal responsibility to protect native animals and plants from extinction, becoming the first not to voluntarily add a single species to the endangered species list -- but actually doing all he can to dismantle/weaken the Endangered Species Act.

The list of atrocities goes on.

-- Wanda Beliz

Colorado Springs

The smell test

We are forced to ration water while our city issues more new taps and subsidizes growth with skyrocketing utility rates. That doesn't pass the smell test, except for those who profit at our expense.

In free markets, companies absorb costs to reap profits. In a free market, the homebuilder would pay the $40,000 to $65,000 impact fee for utilities to each new house in Colorado Springs. If they did, new home costs would increase -- and so would the equity in existing homes.

Affordable housing advocates might object, but what difference is it to a soup kitchen patron if a new house costs $200K or $250K?

The sad reality is that they can barely afford a one-room rental in a low-income neighborhood. But if utility rates were lower, everyone would have more disposable income. Instead, over $800/year in utility costs (stealth taxes) are siphoned from the average subscriber to subsidize growth. That depresses both our standard of living and our home equity.

Depressing? Yes. But the beatings will continue until morale improves.

-- Bill Jambura

Colorado Springs

The war on errorism'

The war in Iraq is being compared to Vietnam. Similarities and differences certainly exist. Yet one thing is clear since the "cessation of major combat operations." The men and women of our armed forces didn't deserve this. Neither did thousands of innocent Iraqis. Bad decisions and planning have led to bad results. Yet there's another group of individuals that may be affected by the war in Iraq: young males ages 18-25. Yes, that's right, the draft.

Our troops in Iraq are stretched thin. Despite Donald Rumsfeld's assurances to the contrary, many service men and women have been serving in Iraq for more than a year with no end in sight. U.S. commanders are asking for more troops. Some Senate leaders are sharing the concern that our current troop levels are inadequate. There's talk on Capitol Hill of a draft.

The Selective Service System has already started filling the 8,000 draft board slots by seeking applicants willing to serve on their draft boards. In their own words, the SSS "remains prepared to manage a draft if and when the President and the Congress so direct." With George W. Bush, we're never told the truth or what price we have to pay until after he gets what he wants. So don't expect to hear anything from Donald Rumsfeld and company until after the November elections.

Now is the time to speak out and fight our own war on "errorism." Nobody died when Clinton lied, but the Bush administration seems content to lose control of the situation in Iraq with more loss of human life all in an effort to save face -- just like in Vietnam!

-- Gary Dean

Colorado Springs

The miracle of freedom

First, let me start by stating that I support Coalition involvement in Iraq.

What critics of this policy seem to forget is that terrorists operate under a unique and complex network. By crashing a major hub in that network, a terrorist's job becomes more difficult. That leaves the question, why Iraq?

Iraq has been a main target of administration policy for the last 16 years and is not unique to George W. Iraq has always posed a threat to U.S. national security and we have on film Saddam killing his own citizens with weapons of mass destruction.

Yes, they are not there now, and yes, the justification for the war, as the president and Congress propagandized it, has turned out to be misleading.

Still, we are in Iraq, trying to give birth to the miracle of freedom and democracy and giving up now would be wrong. Sen. Kennedy tried to correlate this war to the Vietnam War in a speech recently. I hope he is wrong.

The United States gave up on Vietnam. Embarrassingly, we evacuated the last Americans in Vietnam from the roof of our embassy building. We left Vietnam to deal with the mess on their own, showing that domestic problems meant more than securing freedom abroad.

The Vietnam War was a casualty of the media at home. Yes, death is hard to watch and open debate about our role in military interventions is healthy and needed, but at this point in the game, the nation should be galvanized by the enormous task we have in front of us. Instead, the country is falling apart at the seams and some are more concerned with being anti-Bush than pro-freedom.

To President Bush, and to whoever wins the next election, remain strong and steadfast in Iraq. Do not give up on them as we did in Vietnam.

Perseverance and reciprocity will win the day in Iraq. The hope is that the next generation of Iraqis will grow up to love freedom and not hate the United States.

-- Jacob Boenisch

Colorado Springs

Mayhem unleashed

One wonders if Kim Hester writing from Saudi Arabia (Letters, March 25) may have been hit on the head with the same falling toilet that got Sparky the Penguin, considering the inane statements he/she makes, like, "We Americans can be proud that he (Bush) has liberated two oppressive countries and established Democratic institutions in both of them."

Kim needs to take off the rose-colored glasses because apparently she/he can't see through them to notice that the Middle East is burning up since the president launched his pre-emptive war.

A recent perusal of the daily paper showed no less than an assassination in Kabul, U.S. troops shooting at suspected al-Qaeda members in Afghanistan, more American GIs killed in Iraq (now over 600), a suicide bomber killing civilians in another Iraqi city, and a violent Israeli attack on a Hammas leader (who had not been arrested, tried and/or convicted before he received the death sentence).

All this in just one day of news reporting! This newfound "freedom" must be a bit hard for the natives to enjoy with so much mayhem unleashed.

As for "democratic institutions," no elections have been held and the new governing councils of expatriates set up by the United States are about as democratic as our "good friends," the Saudi Royal Family, and the Kuwaitis.

Wake up, America, and dump Bush before he starts World War III. This war has never been about freedom or democracy -- it's about power, U.S. empire building, and ensuring a steady flow of the "black gold" to satisfy our gluttony. With Bush and his cronies running the show, we are ruining our environment and making the world a less-safe place for all of humanity. We need change now before it's too late.

-- Cyndy Kulp

Colorado Springs

The right fight

It is not monogamous homosexuality that is the demise of our culture.

Look at our public health records. It is the promiscuous homosexuals who spread STDs, but even worse, it is promiscuous heterosexuals who not only spread STDs, but who also add to the number of conceived and aborted unwanted babies.

Perhaps the problem lies not in conservative-vs.-liberal rhetoric, but in the backdoor policies to the red-light districts and extramarital affairs. Why is not the right fight fought? Perhaps this hits too close to home for too many.

-- Jeff Trytko

Manitou Springs

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