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The Book of Duh

I went into Cheers Liquor store last Thursday to stock up on a little wine and get my weekly dose of sanity, also known as the Independent . All they had was the Colorado Springs Independent Gazette, The Conservative Alternative . I looked high and low (literally) -- no Independent . Someone had started a conservative alternative to the Independent ; well, duh! This is Colorado Springs, the home of Doug Bruce.

Now I'm ticked, though. That conservative, Republican, twit owner of Cheers has the alternative to the Independent but not the real thing. I'm thinking, "I'll quit frequenting that redneck's establishment. If he had the alternative and the real Independent that would be cool, but, no, that moron only has the alternative, screw him!"

We get to Safeway, my usual second choice for my copy, and guess what, no Independent , only the Colorado Springs Independent Gazette, The Conservative Alternative . Now I'm really ticked, even large corporations bow to conservative pressure. But, again, this is Colorado Springs, just another chapter from the book of Duh!

We drive away fuming but decide, just out of curiosity, to go back and get a copy of this new Doc Dobson-inspired rag. You know what's coming next, right? One of your eagle-eyed readers finally spots the little red "April Fool's edition" up in the right-hand corner -- gotcha!

We got a good chuckle out of that. We also breathed a sigh of relief; life in the Springs is tough enough, but to go without the weekly sanity check provided by the Independent would be unbearable.

Thanks for being there. By the way, Cheers is off the hook.

-- Bill Calvert

Colorado Springs

More sinning

I'm deep in your debt for the wonderful JOA issue and its good-humored and well-deserved flailing of the Gazette. Laughing out loud on a snowy Thursday morning before an obligatory trip up I-25 -- a true gift.

So, were I not an English teacher and thus a shameless and incurable nitpicker, I'd be ashamed to gripe about the misuse of the word "tact" on two succeeding pages of the same issue (pages 4 and 7). In each case, the writer meant "tack," a nautical term meaning, "to change direction." "Tact" means the use of fine discernment to determine the appropriate behavior in a particular situation.

They're both good and useful words, and the language suffers when they're used interchangeably. Go thou and sin some more -- but against the Gazette, not against the English language.

-- Malcolm McCollum

Colorado Springs

Kapital idea

I, for one, am THRILLED at the prospect of an updated, 21st-century, Das Kapital (for dummies) being delivered in an upcoming summer edition of the new Indy Gazette!

Not that I'll receive a copy, since I no longer subscribe to the local daily, but damn, just think of it, an intellectual discourse on economic theory that doesn't discriminate between heavy and light thinkers, written in a style appropriate for the times and delivered to your doorstep (or newspaper cubby, depending on the subdivision) for no purpose other than to enlighten the populace and foster a greater appreciation of the immutable forces that control our destiny.

Not to mention all the cool, and generational slang-appropriate Marxisms that are sure to subsequently be bantered about at school board, utility oversight and conservative action steering committee meetings over the length and breadth of the Springs metroplex.

Man, it's almost enough to get me to consider resubscribing ... nah.

Workers of the world, unite!

Power to the People!

Everything they say we are, we are!

Fool ... that's not Marx, that's Jefferson Airplane!

Whatever ... April Fool's.

-- Mark Cunningham

Colorado Springs

Spell guv's name rite!

It's amazing how many typos there are on just the front page of last week's issue! You should at least be able to get the governor's name right. And to think, the Independent has bought the Gazette. Will we be thoroughly impressed by the quality of offshore labor that is responsible for the editing?

-- Kathy Reynolds

Colorado Springs

Bagged and tagged

I loved the cover article of your April 1 edition. However when I read the article about the new "eatery" called La Bte, I was hoping that was merely an April Fool's spoof on people who hunt. Nope. No such luck. Frankly, I was very surprised and totally disappointed that the Indy would include an article that not only covered this barbaric idea, but gave it a favorable review!

I would assume the Gazette would do this, but not the Independent. It's bad enough that tens of thousands of innocent animals are murdered daily for human consumption. But now we are encouraging people to drive to a "restaurant" where they will rent you a gun and you can enjoy the "excitement" of hunting down and killing the animals yourself before bringing it to their chef for a "yummy" dinner. How pathetic.

If you are a person that absolutely can't (for some reason) live without eating animals, and you find yourself hankering for a piece of meat, have the decency to go to Safeway and buy an already tortured and killed animal in your frozen section. If your idea of fun mandates that you must hunt down and kill innocent beings on this earth, go get some much-needed therapy. (And then hope like heck you don't end up getting your deserved reincarnation). But leave the lovely elk, deer, wild turkeys and rabbits in the wild ... ALONE!

-- Ginny Oman

Colorado Springs

Editor's note: Uh, Ginny, April Fool's.

Doesn't come cheaper

Whatever Indy owner John Weiss paid for the Gazette, it was too much. Also, he's wasting his time looking for cheaper labor in the Far East. No one is cheaper than the Gazette.

Now please get it straight: The Gazette has some fine reporters and editors. But, Freedom Newspapers always plants Gestapo stooges at each paper. They are the problem.

As for the homeless, leave them alone. Like most cities, the police chief throws downtown business owners a bone around the holidays and wastes time and money jailing poor folks. (Talk to some of these folks; they're usually smarter and nicer than your boss.)

I quote Cara DeGette: "Councilman Larry Small is, apparently, aptly named." If you guys are doing what I suspect, Cara, you need to disqualify yourself from future essays about him.

Nice issue!

-- John E. Anderson

Colorado Springs

Insults all around

Reading Cara DeGette's column last week about Springs Councilman Larry Small's interpersonal skills reminded me of the public browbeating he gave me in a Council meeting on Nov. 23. You can listen to it at www.savethesprings.org/ issues/docs/council1123.wma.

In a nicer moment, he informed me that -- since I haven't run for office like he has -- I had no right to point out the impacts of growth subsidies on the rising utility bills of low-income families. My favorite, however, was an e-mail he sent me in January of 2004: "Dear Dave: Your opinion makes very little difference to me."

I'd like to give Small the benefit of the doubt and assume he really doesn't have a Napoleon complex. Perhaps he just needs some anger management counseling. This makes a good case for extending city employee benefits to council members.

-- Dave Gardner

Colorado Springs

Things never change

I picked up your little newspaper the other day and was amused to see that you are much the same as you were a couple of years ago when I last ventured to look at your pages: an unashamedly agenda-driven diatribe of cynicism, bigotry and intolerance against all who do not agree with you. Well done! Thanks for resisting change. I was so afraid I'd missed something.

-- Paul McCusker

Colorado Springs

Murderers among us

I am writing to thank Michael de Yoanna for the March 24 story, "Getting away with murder". I would also like to say that with so many unsolved murders in the area, there are probably 50 murderers around too. (These are people who have gotten away with murder and so have no reason not to kill again.) If you know anything about any of the unsolved cases, please, share that information.

Gail LaSuer

(Monique LaSuer's mother)

Colorado Springs

Satire not funny

I would like to think the Independent is more open-minded to alternative lifestyles than what Rich Tosches wrote in his March 24 column, "Spelling best left to the X-purts."

He portrayed in his following comments this about home-schooled children: "From a social development standpoint I don't know whether home-schooling is a good idea or not and will leave that discussion to the so-called 'X-purts.' But it is worth noting that the home-schooler breezed through words such as "lonely" and "isolated" but in the third round he looked puzzled and had to ask a judge to use the word "friend" in a sentence."

Lack of understanding and tolerance is due to ignorance. I'm sure, as also I would be opposed to it if he made derogatory comments about gay lifestyles in your paper -- it would not even be printed. Need I say more?

-- Cheryl Osteroos

Colorado Springs

Spitball in the eye

Here we go again! After the stealth campaign of 2003, three men, apparently now doing their part to dismantle public schools in Colorado Springs, were voted onto District 11's school board.

Apparently, the heat is on to take over the board completely this coming November. Last week, an election attack mailing was sent to targeted voters. It was geared to ring all the voucher and privatization bells and smear Tami Hasling, the first brave soul, to announce her candidacy for the school board.

The anonymous mailing, absurdly titled and credited to "The Committee to Keep Irrational and Unbalanced Defenders of the Status Quo Away From Our Students," was a study in misrepresentation and libel reminiscent of those adolescent classroom notes that trashed competitors in high school. Unfortunately, the deep pockets behind this kind of propaganda will be able to keep up these attacks until the November election.

What a punishing challenge to responsible leadership our Board of Education has become! To be sure, this unpaid position was sometimes difficult, but should a citizen be expected to endure abuse as well? Should anyone who doesn't support the voucher and privatization agenda have to submit to unrelenting attack and character assassination? If so, this constitutes a mean-spirited diversion from the true mission of the school board, which is to provide a sound education for all students.

As a former board member, I know that one must take on this incredible responsibility with a positive mindset toward public education. One must also be willing to look at all the facts, and this takes hours of homework. It takes time to work with staff, other board members, and constituents. Most importantly, one must really like kids. An excellent education is not about personal agendas.

Enough, already! Only you, the voters in District 11 can stop this theater of the absurd that our school board has become. Let's get back to the basics of caring about, providing and nurturing a creative yet sound education for our youngsters. After all, our children are watching and learning by example!

-- Bruce Doyle, former director

District 11 Board of Education

Colorado Springs

Stop the snooping

I am writing to voice my concern about military recruiting in our public schools. While I support the troops and the rights of a volunteer military, I do not support institutionalizing involuntary recruitment practices. The No Child Left Behind legislation automatically gives the military the right to take any students private information without any form of parental permission or notification!

This snooping into student's private school information needs to stop! There is an opt-out provision in the legislation, but rarely are students or parents informed of it.

I encourage students and parents all over our state to send a letter to their school's administrators asking them to keep their information private. A sample form can be found at www.militaryfreezone.org/opt_out.

-- Sam Haraway

Colorado Springs

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