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The literal approach

It makes no sense that political hopefuls waste airtime and money defaming other candidates when we so desperately need to hear their dream for America and exactly how they will try to achieve it. Since nobody did that, that's who I voted for.

Jim Inman

Colorado Springs

Inviting irrelevance

The Ted Haggard scandal this past weekend was a glaring example of how unbelievably out of touch the Indy has become in an age when instantaneous communication has become as easy as sending an e-mail.

The Independent came out on Thursday morning, right when the scandal was breaking. The Gazette was all over it, of course, both in print and online. Despite the fact that they didn't actually get to break the story, I and thousands of people across the country (they're linked in

dozens of blogs I've read) turned to them all weekend long for fairly well-reported updates and community reaction pieces.

Cara DeGette, your very own contributing editor, blogs for coloradoconfidential.com and you don't even link to her. Her blogs are great, and had you had the foresight, she could have been blogging for you. Still, you have Naomi Zeveloff and Michael de Yoanna two great reporters and writers sitting there with their hands tied.

Not only are you handicapping yourselves in an increasingly competitive media market where two-bit operations like ours (newspeakblog.com) can easily kick your ass with speed and agility, you're doing a huge disservice to this community by not providing them with alternative (which you claim you are) coverage and commentary on major events like these that break when you're a week away from print. You are losing credibility in the community as a place to turn for important matters.

The one thing almost everyone agrees on, myself included, is that Colorado Springs would be a worse place without the Indy. But you need to do better before that changes, too. Get a blog. It's an easy way to start the process of reinventing yourself as more than the ad rag with decent news that you've become.

Noel Black, publisher, NEWSPEAK! monthly

newspeakblog.com

Editor's note: For more letters regarding the Ted Haggard scandal, please see page 16.

One good thing

As a combat veteran, I reflect often about the costs of war. I think not of war in general, but of the individual soldiers, and what happens to them when their particular war is over.

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will involve many thousands of American soldiers. Of those who survive to become veterans, how many will suffer wounds, visible and invisible, which will forever keep them from realizing their full human potential?

"Veterans." The word conjures up distorted images. For some, a veteran is a noble patriot. For others, the posturing and violence of the war movie hero comes to mind. Both extremes are wrong. People who are not familiar with war often misunderstand ex-soldiers, especially those who have fought. You can always tell when you're in the company of combat veterans. There's nothing sentimental or jingoistic about them only a certain sadness and a quiet, almost deadly seriousness.

When combat veterans first come back from the wars they all carry wounds with them, and these wounds are open and bleed for a long time. You may not see these wounds, but they are there.

The nature of American wars since Vietnam makes this especially true. If you criticize these soldiers because their wars are or were unnecessary, doomed from the start because of the tragic hubris of the war leaders, you are sticking your fingers into their hearts.

In this regard, there is something good about the present wars. Soldiers are brought back into the fold when they return. They are not blamed for the failures of the wars, or shunned by their compatriots. They are allowed re-entry back into the civilian world. They are validated as normal, non-violent human beings and welcomed back into "normal society." This is critically important for the well-being of the warrior.

Jos J. Barrera

Vietnam, 1967-68

Editor's note: As part of his observance of Veterans' Day, Barrera will help facilitate Impact Panels for Afghanistan and Iraq Wars veterans, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 9, at Colorado College's Worner Center and Slocum Commons. The public is invited.

Trees and pleas

While I agree it is laughable to think, as Clerk & Recorder Bob Balink does, that substituting the term "holiday tree" for Christmas tree spells doom for our civilization and way of life, I think it is just as ludicrous to have to avoid the phrase "Christmas tree" in the public square in the first place.

In "Opinions misplaced" (Letters, Nov. 2), Christina Student, executive director of Citizens Project, maintains that "A holiday tree embraces the fact that not everyone in this community is Christian." Indeed, I am a Jew, not a Christian, but I would prefer retaining the name of Christmas tree for the simple reason I would not want anyone to think that Jews celebrate the holidays by decorating trees.

Taking this logic to an absurd extreme, if Ms. Student ever decides to run for public office, should she be made to change her name from "Christina" to "Holiday"?

My children have always had to draw and color trees in public school art classes during the holiday season, and whenever I or my wife protested, otherwise intelligent educators would tell us with straight faces that these were not Christmas trees, but "symbols of the winter season!"

In essence, far from creating an atmosphere of respect for cultural differences, the use of such euphemisms have made it easier for otherwise well-meaning Christians to impose their traditions on others. So, let's abandon this hypocrisy. I, for one, do not want to put a damper on anyone's celebrations, and I would encourage Christians of every persuasion to enjoy Christmas to the fullest extent. There is nothing wrong with that.

Harry Katz

Woodland Park

NRA smokescreen

Your article on the pending Browns Canyon Wilderness bill ("Shooting to kill Browns bill," News, Oct. 26) was timely. Only a few weeks remain for Congress to designate the area before the end of this session and the retirement of Rep. Joel Hefley, author of the bill.

The proposed Browns Canyon wilderness, 20,025 acres north of Salida, features ruggedly scenic wild land, offering rare low-elevation habitat for elk, deer, bighorn, smaller mammals and numerous bird species, as well as year-round recreation for backcountry users. Over several years, the wilderness proposal has earned support from many individuals and groups, including Arkansas River outfitters, Backcountry Horsemen, Trout Unlimited, the three Chaffee County commissioners and all Colorado congresspeople and senators.

Recently, a small group of naysayers in Colorado solicited the National Rifle Association to raise unfounded, last-minute objections to the bill. According to your article, they claim wilderness would "drastically reduce access for hunters" on roads in the area and that the land is not "pristine," as required for a wilderness.

In fact, the only vehicle use currently permitted in the proposal area is on four miles of the dead-end Turret Trail, which the Forest Service plans to close to motorized access, due to resource damage, with or without a wilderness. Gun and bow use in legal hunting are allowed in wilderness, as stated in the Wilderness Act of 1964. No hunting terrain will be lost in Browns to wilderness designation. Nowhere in the Wilderness Act or Browns Canyon legislation is the term "pristine" even stated, much less used to determine wilderness quality.

I urge your readers to contact Rep. Hefley and Senate sponsor Sen. Wayne Allard in support of Browns Canyon wilderness. The designation, the first in 13 years for this region, would recognize Joel Hefley's 20 years of public service to the nation and the people of central Colorado.

John Stansfield, coordinator

Central Colorado Wilderness Coalition

Subbaculture

In the Oct. 26 issue of the Independent, Robert Murphy asks the poignant question, "Does that mean mankind should also accept opium and heroin with thankfulness, as these drugs also come form the seed bearing plant (poppies) that "God' created?" As a matter of fact, Mr. Murphy, we should. You see, all "prohibition" does is create an underground subculture ruled by violence, just as it did in the 1920s.

When someone tries to force their values, violence and subcultures usually will result as an answer to their actions. "Whenever we depart from voluntary cooperation and try to do good by using force, the bad moral value of force triumphs over good intentions" (Milton Friedman).

Don't get me wrong; I am not saying that by legalizing all drugs, prostitution, etc., we will get rid of the "mafia" or "addiction." Far from it. We will just be removing a major income stream, just as we did in the '20s.

Besides, don't people already abuse alcohol and tobacco? Two "drugs" that are perfectly legal ... and on an ending note, "God" didn't create Republicans. Idiotic, iconoclastic, "fear"-based religions and political science classes did.

Dwayne Schultz

Colorado Springs

A matter of taste

I picked up a recent issue of your tabloid, and wanted to respond to a letter that was written to you.

To Mr. Brinski, whose greatest complaint he could muster up the time to write you about was that people have different tastes than him: Red Robin, Denny's and Starbucks may not be what you consider fine cuisine, and certainly there are many who would agree with you. However, as this is a matter of opinion, I found your ad hominem attacks to be unnecessary. On what grounds (coffee?) do you stand to attack the sole opinions of others? Many people obviously enjoy these restaurants. That's why they go there, and that's why they vote for them.

Nobody is wrong or right when it comes to culinary preferences, and is it really that upsetting to the world that others should have different preferences for dining than you?

Aaron Davidson

Colorado Springs

Open letter to Limbaugh

Dear Rush,

I came across a story recently in the Associated Press, and am curious about your opinion on the topic. Apparently, scientists in Australia have produced several test-tube koalas in an attempt to save the species from extinction. God knows, we certainly can't live without them. In fact, somewhere I'm sure there's some turkey wondering where this great scientific breakthrough was at when his distant (yet beloved) cousin, the dodo, was being read his last rites.

So my question to you is: Why is it certain people don't seem to have any problems with test tubes when it comes to making sure zoo exhibits are filled with cute, cuddly, yet conclusively useless marsupials, but those same people insist on criticizing folks like Michael J. Fox for his support in the use of test tubes in the use of stem cell research that could save human lives?

By the way, your comments last week on Mr. Fox make your previous statements about Donovan McNabb and African-American NFL quarterbacks only the second-dumbest thing to ever spill out of your mouth. I'm sure if those scientists and doctors Fox is supporting were researching some kind of new pain medication, one that isn't quite so addictive, or better yet one that was easy to sneak past airport security, you'd be all for them and their work.

P.S. Yes, the koala thing really happened. Maybe it's a little soon, but if it is, then let me be the first to say it: Civilization has now officially jumped the shark.

Ryan Spear

Colorado Springs

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Letters can be e-mailed to letters@csindy.com, faxed to 577-4107 or snail-mailed to 235 S. Nevada Ave., Colorado Springs, CO 80903.

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