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Muzzle to the ground

To the tolerant and diverse members of the CS Indy world:

10.3.101(B) Every driver of a vehicle approaching a "stop" intersection indicated by a "stop" sign shall stop before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection or, in the event that there is no crosswalk, shall stop at a clearly marked stop line, but if none, then at the point nearest the intersecting roadway where the driver has a view of approaching traffic on the intersecting roadway before entering the intersection.

Once again, to the motorists who stop behind the big white line on the pavement -- thank you in advance, even Cara DeGette.

To aggressive drivers who don't care about the way they operate their multi-thousand pound potentially lethal weapons, the 5,600 pedestrians killed by motor vehicles in 2003 should be reason enough to pay attention, and stop.

To Cara DeGette, if your "current events" statement about waving a shotgun around in the "You are soooo Colorado Springs" issue of Jan. 6 was directed toward me, I carry the shotgun with the muzzle pointed at the ground, and only someone placing my life in imminent danger need be concerned, not any of the tolerant and diverse readers of the CS Independent.

Have a nice day!

-- Don Ortega

Colorado Springs

Shallow arguments

I must respond to the debate in the Indy concerning the International Bible Society's paid insert of a copy of its New International Version of the New Testament in a Sunday edition of the Gazette.

Letter to the editor writer Nicolas S. Powell's argument that the money could be better spent elsewhere is a good place to start. I think that if anyone tried to dictate to Mr. Powell how he live his life, spend his money, time, etc., he would be outraged, and rightly so. The "let me tell you what you should be doing with your life" argument is nothing but ideological fascism and should never be tolerated in a free republic -- regardless of who's trying to do the dictating.

Letter writer Amanda Udis-Kessler's bizarre argument that the Gazette was choosing to promote one religion at the expense of others is equally shallow. If she really believes that, then give or raise some money to distribute the sacred text of a different religion and ask to buy an advertising campaign similar to the IBS's in the Gazette.

Also, Jim Verhey's written objections to the insert as "news" boggles the mind. A paid insert is "news"? Does Mr. Verhey truly fail to understand the difference here? Personally, Mr. Verhey, I suffer more angst over consumer adverts than this one-time paid insert of a New Testament. Are we not focused enough in this country on consumerism and gimme-gimme-gimme?

Finally, if the IBS wants to reach a broader reading audience in Colorado Springs for the New Testament, why didn't it use its new Today's New International Version instead of the older New International Version? The TNIV uses inclusive language that brings out the true nonsexist and nonracist meanings of the original Greek text -- over the protests of James Dobson and many other evangelicals. Why not be really bold, swim against the current and reach out to people like the readers of the Indy who are turned off by the exclusive language of most English translations? Just a modest proposal.

-- Bryce Pettit

Colorado Springs

"Gift" was no gift

As a Jewish teenager, I was beside myself when I found a copy of the New Testament titled "Our City. God's Word" delivered recently with the Gazette.

Although I was angered that the Bible distributors were forcing Christianity on the Gazette's readers, what was more distressing was that they disguised the New Testament as part of the city of Colorado Springs. The cover of the Bible boasts a glossy photo of downtown Colorado Springs, the Garden of the Gods, the Air Force Academy, and a picturesque scene of Pikes Peak. The first few pages of the Bible include facts about and a brief history of our city.

Although the distributors of this Bible have the right to free speech, the juxtaposition of Colorado Springs and the New Testament is extremely deceptive and proselytizing. The distributors need to realize that their gesture, which they considered "their gift" for the holidays, was offensive to many non-Christians. The citizens of Colorado Springs should be able to make their own religious choices, and the distribution of a Bible through the newspaper was distasteful. A newspaper is a means of spreading news, not religion.

-- Brittany Albert

Colorado Springs

On a mission from God

All hail the Gazette! Purveyor of Truth and High and Mighty Champion of Opinion Peddlers, now adding to its long and distinguished list of accomplishments the fulfillment of our Lord's Great Commission (Matthew 28:19, 20)!

The distribution of the New Testaments for new subscribers was a stroke of marketing genius! I quake, shrink and shudder at the concentration of wisdom, the sheer purity of heart, the tender mercies that motivated and blessedness of those who mourn so that they are absolutely compelled to hand out New Testaments (with a subscription).

What matter that the Gazette commits blasphemy and high sacrilege on two vital and all-important New Testament concerns? First it buys and sells "the gift of God" (Acts 8), an act of heresy known as Simony, well known to history but not the Gazette, where history lessons are simply shoved aside. Second and more critical is this: What possible fellowship does the Gazette have with Jerusalem? Does the Gazette side with the impoverished as did Jesus? Do the authors of the Gazette lead lives of simplicity, faith and poverty, as did Jesus? Does the Gazette actively disavow violence then just as actively do peacemaking, as did Jesus? Is the Gazette sacrificially involved in the pro-life movement, in everything from abortion to disarmament, as was Jesus ("Put down your sword")?

Who am I to question the Gazette? I, who am just another lowly and naive Fuller Seminary graduate, returning shortly to overseas aid work in order to put his naivete into practice. I do not know much. One thing I know, that the Gazette will ride like the Four Horsemen over the truth and the Rockies, to the great advantage of the editors and profit.

-- John W. Morton

Colorado Springs

The iron fist

Isn't it sad? James C. Dobson, whom a New York Times article of last week calls "the nation's most influential evangelical leader," is threatening to do his best to unseat six Democratic senators if they attempt to block the nomination of conservative judges for the Supreme Court. How like the ultraconservative ayatollahs of Iran he sounds. These men wield iron-willed religious power over the president and elected parliamentary members in a country where there is no freedom of choice or expression for its citizens. Would we like to follow such a model for our government? That seems to be his intention.

-- Judy Lamb

Tamarac, Fla.

Who'd a thunk?

This is starting out as a very strange year. As a steadfast liberal, who would have imagined I would be embarrassed by Sen. Ken Salazar's support of Alberto Gonzales and proud -- yes, proud -- of the actions of Rep. Joel Hefley in his stand to apply the existing ethics rules to Tom DeLay! If this is a trend, the next 11 months should be interesting!

-- Mary Snyder

Manitou Springs

Zero sum game

Party discipline has kept the Republican Party firmly in control of local politics. A scorched earth discipline that takes no prisoners and is relentless in punishing those perceived to have strayed from party dictates.

Being a member of the inner circle gives office contenders the stamp of approval essential to run as the chosen candidate of the party. This is a "zero sum game" where loyal conservatives find that their Republican credentials can be arbitrarily withdrawn because they have not toed "the party line" and Republican officeholders are told that they are not "Republican enough" to receive the "Grand Ole Party's" endorsement. Questioning the judgment of "the party" hierarchy is immediately punished by banishment from formal party activities.

The latest victims of party discipline are the 13 committee chairpersons being asked to resign their posts for endorsing a Republican that was not endorsed by the local party hierarchy. On the surface it appears to be a simple enforcement of bylaws until you look at the list of the infamous 13. All are loyal hardworking members of the Republican Party who have long histories of working for the betterment of their party and this town. Should they resign their posts, this city and the party would be losing its backbone. Ah, but perhaps this is part of the plan; dictators rise to power by crushing the opposition and rely on the loyalty and apathy of the masses to accomplish their nefarious deeds.

Hubris appears to be haunting the current party leadership. The loyal conservatives, disappointed by their unresponsive leadership, are attempting to save their party. They may not prevail this round, however hubris will collect its due.

-- Patricia A. Poos

Colorado Springs

On the chopping block

Those of us who are Democrats and proud of it have no cause to celebrate the discord among the Republican hierarchy, for any time free expression is on the chopping block, all of us must mourn and be ready to take up arms in defense of free speech.

-- Jim Alice Scott

Colorado Springs

Editor's note: For more on the local fracas, check out Public Eye on page 13.

The loud click

Oh, no! I just read the Dec. 9-15 news article headlined "Spy network" about the FBI and local police keeping an eye on activists in Colorado Springs. Is America sick, or what? It is like an ongoing nightmare.

I was born in 1948 and went through the '50s "ducking and covering" in school because of the fear of the Soviets. I remember bomb shelters and even the blacklisting of Hollywood personalities. I was very young, but I do remember it.

Then I was taught in school that America was the finest nation on the earth because we were free, etc. I have been known to speak out, and I have been known to e-mail the president and my representatives, to Congress, to House members and senators.

I am a die-hard Democrat, and the other day as I was making a call, I heard a loud click on my telephone. Also, one day as I tried to make a long distance phone call, I was informed that I must dial my carrier access code to make the call. When I called my phone company, I discovered that I did not have long distance service! An accident, I'm sure. Never happened to this 56-year-old before in her life, but just an accident. Or maybe not? Something surely stinks in Roanoke. And Boise.

-- Liz Ursitti

Boise, Idaho

Not lovin' it

McDonald's was named "Marketer of the Year" by Advertising Age magazine for the brand's marketing achievements around the world in 2004.

Their "I'm lovin it" campaign features a small photo of a teenage boy holding a hamburger with the following copy: "When I open my burger I know it's 100 percent USDA beef. Nothing but the real thing in every Quarter Pounder with cheese."

One might question, however, just what message McDonald's is trying to convey with the "100 percent USDA" claim.

Do they want consumers to think McDonald's burgers are 100 percent U.S. produced? Or are they trying to say their burgers are 100 percent inspected by USDA?

The truth is, McDonald's does want U.S. consumers to believe the USDA stamp means the meat is all U.S. meat. However, this is not true. McDonald's depends heavily on cheap imported meat. All meat, U.S. and imported alike, is stamped "USDA inspected."

It is painfully clear that McDonald's is aware that U.S. consumers have confidence in U.S. meat rather than meat from foreign countries such as Canada, which has mad cow disease in their cowherd.

Isn't it ironic that McDonald's is rewarded for an advertising campaign aimed at deceiving their most important ally, the U.S. consumer?

-- Mike Callicrate

Colorado Springs

The author is the owner of Ranch Foods Direct, a distributor of all-USA grown meat products.

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