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"Sniff some tomatoes'

Regarding "Comcast bombast" (Letters, Jan. 11): Let me know if I am missing something here.

I subscribed to Adelphia because it finally offered a reasonable deal on Internet hookup, which included an e-mail address.

When the switch to Comcast was made, I was never asked to "change" my e-mail address, just to open a new one. The Adelphia one, at present, is still good. Plenty of time to inform my "online commerce sites" of another address.

I dislike Adelphia and Comcast for my own reasons.

There are way more important things for our representatives to deal with than our stupid e-mail addresses and online identities, which I believe Jim Wilson relates to way too strongly.

Write a real letter, dude, then go out and sniff some tomatoes while you still can.

By the way, someone can force you to change your postal address. It is called eminent domain, and we "are making some updates here at the post office."

Alan Joseph

Colorado Springs

Extreme alarm

In replying to a letter I wrote, Eugenia Durland ("Occupational hazards," Jan. 4) states some of Mr. Afif Safieh's accomplishments, all as an emissary of the Palestinians, who are now governed by Hamas, a group on the U.S. Department of State official terrorist list.

For Ms. Durland, who appears to be an educated and worldly person, to state that, "the only voices consistently reported in the U.S. media are those of minority extremists," is alarming! Hamas does not recognize Israel's right to exist, is determined to destroy it, and within the last year, won a lopsided democratic election by the Palestinian people; it is not an "extremist minority"!

Ms. Durland quotes Arafat's 1988 statement denouncing the wish to destroy Israel. These were made in English to the world press; the accompanying Arabic text, however, denounced the denouncement. Much more can be said, but since the Indy is not a platform for a lengthy discourse, let me deal with only one more item.

Ms. Durland states: "Israel is a representative democracy only for her Jewish citizens. Arab Israelis live as second-class citizens in Israel ..." Nothing can be further from the truth.

Ms. Durland need only visit Arab villages such as Abu Gosh, or many Druze areas, to see richness and abundance of Arab and Druze Israelis, beyond her wildest dreams. Visiting Haifa where Jews and Arab live side by side will also offer a demonstration of the fair treatment most Arab Israelis get. Not only that, ask Israeli Arabs, be they Christians or Muslims, how their relatives are doing in the Arab countries, and you'll hear horror stories.

Within Israel proper, Arabs, Jews, Christians or members of other religions, sects and ethnic groups are treated as equals, not the same as the conditions of Palestinians in the neighboring Arab countries.

Let me close by admitting to one thing. Israel does racial profiling when it comes to security issues, such as air travel. But let's face it: As much as the United States officially tries to deny it, it does the same thing when it appears the prudent thing to do.

Dan Goor

Colorado Springs

Who's in charge?

Regarding "Running on what?" (Letters, Jan. 11):

Bob Nemanich's indignation regarding Mayor Lionel Rivera's abilities is misdirected. The mayor has no power over snow removal. The city manager runs this town.

Let's change our form of government and make Lionel and Bernie do more than talk the talk.

It's up to us. And we deserve better.

P.S. Good luck, Marcy Morrison!

Michael Adams

Colorado Springs

New beginnings

The new District 11 school board held its first retreat recently, and the meeting was described as one where six people were willing to work together and all share in common goals while allowing the administration to do their jobs without micromanagement from the board. There is a new spirit of collaboration and cooperation that we have not seen in years. Now the community can join a school board that has the passion to make D-11 one of the best school districts in the nation.

This new era for D-11 would not have been possible without the hard work of hundreds of volunteers who spent countless hours gathering signatures to support the recall. Thank you to the volunteers and the D-11 voters who by more than a 2-to-1 margin overwhelmingly voted for a school board that respects the opinions of others, believes in public education and will work for the best education possible for the thousands of D-11 students.

Mary Ellen McNally, Ann Oatman Gardner and Norvell Simpson

End the D11 Chaos Committee

Colorado Springs

Not acceptable

President George Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki have put a November date for the Iraqi army to take over all provinces. This is unconscionable. Eleven more months of dying and being maimed and thousands of Iraqis dying this is totally unacceptable. We are losing close to or more than a hundred military personnel a month. That is another 1,100 dead Americans and thousands maimed.

The Iraqi army has to stand up now. They have tens of thousands of troops, and they can't send 17,000 troops to Baghdad? That is absurd. They simply do not want to do that, so we should not be sending our 17,000 to Baghdad, and 4,000 to Anbar province. I repeat: The Iraqi government and army have to stand up now.

Irwin MacLeod

Colorado Springs

No-win situation

We must no longer engage in this illegal war on any level. We must bring our military families and children home and stop putting them in harm's way. This is not a winnable "war" because of its ideological basis. Our presence there is merely supporting one of the terrorist factions. How is this bringing democracy to Iraq?

In fact, contrary to what our president says, the U.S. presence in Iraq is not making us safer, but inciting more terrorism against us. Our government needs to put an end to our involvement in this senseless bloodshed. Two million Iraqis have fled their increasingly and deadly violent country, and we're still sending our kids there. How can one make any sense of that?

Democracy is supposed to be a government by and for the people. Currently, most Americans are aware of the situation in Iraq, and want it to end. We can help do that by asking our representatives to support House Resolution 508 and H.CON.RES.197.

Sharlene White

Colorado Springs

Fighting fiat

The Colorado Springs ACLU Board of Directors takes issue with the latest reported presidential attempt to take away our constitutional rights.

This time, the issue is examining our private mail without obtaining a warrant, accomplished by President Bush's extra-legal "signing statement" claiming authority to change the substance of a recently passed postal law. In doing so, Bush makes meaningless the majority vote of our congressional representatives, who required a warrant to examine first-class letters issued by a court after strict criteria were met. Congress was at recess when he acted.

The national ACLU immediately responded on behalf of our civil liberties by filing a legal request for specific information. Last August, the ACLU was victorious in a federal district court case on wiretapping U.S. citizens, wherein the judge stated: "There are no hereditary kings in America and no powers, not created by the Constitution," referring to Bush's claim of "inherent powers." (The president recently indicated he will now abide by the court's decision.)

Our local ACLU chapter joins with the national and state ACLU to speak out against the frightening erosion of our ancient and conservative constitutional values by executive fiat. The president's actions are in violation of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution, which prohibits unreasonable search and seizures without a warrant based on probable cause. These actions invade our privacy and violate due process guarantees against a broad application of national security powers.

We are reminded of our Declaration of Independence, wherein Thomas Jefferson wrote: "To secure these (inalienable) rights (of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness), Governments are instituted ..." They are not instituted to take them away. We believe we speak for most Americans who are also concerned about this issue.

Bill Durland, co-chair,

Colorado Springs Chapter ACLU

Colorado Springs

Building bridges

There are many people who are descendants of those taken away from their native families and given to white families ("Conflicted," cover story, Jan. 11). The reasons for these adoptions may have been blessings and, in many cases, not.

We have maybe a photograph of that relation, along with a yearning stirring in our blood to return home. But return to what? The old days are gone, and what is left is heartbreaking. As rainbow children, we do not truly belong in either world.

I used to ask, "What am I to do?" when the loneliness for understanding became too much to bear. Then an answer came from the spirit-who-moves-through-all-things. As rainbow children, we have the ability to build bridges, to bring form to the formless and to break through form into formlessness.

Start with your own family, building rainbow bridges over the gaps, and then move out into your communities and build bridges between the two worlds. In this we can find wholeness again. Maybe ... just maybe ... we can build a bridge into a better world.

Rachel Bradford

Colorado Springs

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