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Bravo to Zorro
My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed Theatreworks' Zorro production ("Brown and white unite," 7 Days, Sept. 27). What a great injection of culture, innovation and creativity to our little burg. Truly enjoyable, it's a modern reinvention worth seeing, one that delights audiences young and old, and will hold your attention throughout. With throwbacks to old cinema combined with action and humor, even a take from Stomp, it's worth your time and money.

Go see it, support local theater!

Frank and Kirin Kinder

Colorado Springs

He's back, all right
Once I wrote to you, Ralph, to ask you to keep picking the Colorado Buffaloes to lose because every time you did, they won. Now, 30 years later, here I am asking for it again!

Give 22 and take the Okies ("Ralph's Picks," End Zone, Sept. 27)? My, oh my. Eat your liver and eat your words.

Jerry Miller

Pueblo

CEOs in the henhouse
One of the most underreported news stories of 2007 ("Eyewitness snooze," cover story, Sept. 27) was the $1.78 billion compensation of the CEO of United Health Care, Dr. William McGuire.

He received approximately 1/300th of the total increase in U.S. health-care expenditures over the last five years to add to the hundreds of millions he was paid in that same period. He was given a $5 million lifetime yearly compensation package on his departure. I expected this example of outlandish corporate greed would have been managed care's Enron moment. It passed without any notice.

This country spends around 2 to 3 times what the next industrialized nation spends per capita on health care. Some estimates are that the private health-care industry has an administrative overhead taking 40 to 50 percent of the health-care dollar. Medicare/Medicaid programs run an administrative overhead of 2 percent. Canada is at 19 percent. I am not sure where the other 299 parts of our collective increase have gone, but given Dr. McGuire's example, I would not be surprised to find them in the pockets of a few greedy fools.

As we debate the future of our health-care system, we would be wise to note this behavior if we consider nationalized care. Allowing these people access to more money (i.e. taxpayer dollars) is not likely to make them any more frugal. Given their past record, these CEOs have not shown they can manage our system any better than a fox would manage a henhouse. Co-pays, deductibles and premiums have risen to almost-bizarre levels. It is impossible to determine the cost of health care in America.

We'll see congressional inquiries into bathroom escapades of heterosexual senators before anyone asks where our health-care money has gone. With that much money in the "skim," you could afford to bribe some very powerful people.

William R. Schroeder, DO

Woodland Park

Mixed signals
So, that sure was a nice little Wal-Mart flyer stuck in the middle of my Independent last week. What's next? Maybe some interviews with George W. Bush, Safeway coupons and Starbucks recipes, all at an affordable 50 cents an issue? Those would be nice, too.

I have to tell you, I've been reading this paper for many years, and I've never been annoyed thoroughly before. Not until now. How many times have I seen Wal-Mart and other Satanic corporate monopolies bad-mouthed in the Independent? We'll be conservative and say 763,421 times. In this very issue, there's a letter about Wal-Mart's unsafe toys!

What's going on here? I guess that the word "Independent" might be turning into a catchphrase rather than a decree in our Starbuxian culture. Sad times.

Gary Kohler

Colorado Springs

Mixed signals II
I'm confused here. Letter on the lead paint in Wal-Mart toys made in China, and what little gem did I find hiding in the middle of the Indy?

Let me summarize: Wal-Mart bad ... Wal-Mart ad?

Phillip Dezellem

Colorado Springs

Human nature
In hisresponse to a letter by Robert Wiley, Randy Gooden wonders why religious people "can be so narrow-minded" and "judgmental of others" since "Christ taught people to love your neighbor and turn the other cheek" ("Religious reality," Letters, Sept. 27).

I think I have the answer: Whether we think of ourselves as Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu or without any religious affiliation at all, we are, first and foremost, human. Being human means we are primates, and we share certain traits with our fellow primates (apes, monkeys) and common primate ancestors. Among those traits are large brains, color vision, opposable thumbs and, unfortunately, aggression and territoriality.

As humans, we all have a tendency to feel that we should be calling the shots and, all too often, we are aggressive enough to try to force others to do things our way; that's why there are always border disputes, terrorist attacks and wars going on. Luckily, we humans also tend toward culture and civilization, which help us keep things (somewhat) under control.

Some people believe that religion can help us achieve love and peace, but I'm afraid religion only makes matters worse because people who think they're carrying out the wishes of some "supreme being" are capable of inconceivable atrocities; this has been demonstrated by countless religions in innumerable places throughout recorded history.

So, although Mr. Gooden states the world would be a better place if people would look at the Bible as a whole, that's not the answer. As Mr. Wiley correctly pointed out in his Sept. 20 letter, if you do "look at the Bible as a whole," you'll find plenty of justification there for doing nasty things to others who happen to disagree with your religious beliefs. Don't we already havemore than enough of that?

Fred Kormos

Colorado Springs

Tainted zeal
I've followed the Pion Canyon situation, having lived in Colorado Springs with a military family, and I've been studying Fort Carson's desire to expand as part of a public-affairs course I was asked to design. A portion of my professional life has been associated with public affairs and economic development.

I'm amazed at how business leaders view the impact of the military on El Paso County and the Springs. When I moved there, I attended a meeting of civic and business leaders on the local economy. I learned of the 30 percent-plus impact of the military on the Springs' economic health, and how military families were viewed as a labor pool.

Military families seemed to rank just a tad above illegal immigrants. The experience of my family and friends demonstrated that principle of anticipated compensation, regardless of credentials. If the market wasn't closed to us for lack of local networking, most of us found ourselves in the short-term or temporary pool. The major qualifier: How cheap can we get you to do this job without benefits?

Regarding Pion Canyon, Fort Carson's leadership principally involved the stakeholder delegation from El Paso County and the Springs rather than the leadership and folks from the Pion Canyon area. Huge failure of judgment! Devoid of input and understanding about ranchers and Pion Canyon's historical and cultural connectedness to the affected region, the Army opened the door for controversy and rebellion from some of the nation's most patriotic folks.

I haven't said anything about how difficult it is for most military families to afford the cost of living in the Springs. Republicans who move there soon learn to understand the area's love for the military is unique. It carries more than simple patriotic zeal. That patriotic zeal has a decidedly myopic, greenback tinge to it.

Joan Miller

Yorktown, Va.

Inside depression
Imagine being in an elevator at the fifth floor of a 10-story building. You press the button to go up to the top floor, but instead, the elevator begins to descend. At first you are annoyed and frustrated, pressing the up button again and again. Yet the elevator continues to descend. You panic and hit the emergency alarm button. The alarm stays silent and no one comes for help.

Having a depressive illness is like that elevator. You tell your brain you want to get out of bed, shower, get dressed and prepare breakfast or go out to eat before heading to work. Your brain is unresponsive and begins to pump feelings of overwhelming sadness into your nervous system.

You begin to cry or get irritable for no reason. Your sleep is disturbed (too much or too little). You lose all interest in things and people you once enjoyed. While you reach for the up button on the wall of your mind, you feel alone, lost and worthless. You can't escape, and here you stay, trapped.

Welcome to the world of major depression, a medical condition that affects 19 million Americanseach year. It is the leading cause of suicide, causing more lost hours and productivity in the workplace than any other illness. Yet depression is treatable; 80 percent who obtain a proper diagnosis, combined with individualized medical care and social support, recover to live happier, more productive lives.

For the sake of our society, and the one out of every 10 people in El Paso County with symptoms of a depressive illness, pleaseeducate yourself, and if needed, get help. For more on a national campaign to bring awareness to this devastating public-health issue, visit depressionisreal.org.

Steve Bell, president

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Colorado Springs

Porn's threat
When I read arguments trying to discredit the moral pollution of pornography in our society from liberals like Phil Stahl ("Cockamamie issue," Letters, Sept. 20), the more I believe our country is truly going down the crapper.

According to Stahl, if you believe you're sexually compulsive, you are an "American moron." If you are a counselor, psychologist or psychiatrist who believes in sexual addiction, you are a "dime-store meathead." These professionals who treat those who are out-of-control sexually are only trying "to make money off dupes and fools." Wow, Phil, your name-calling has already convinced me not to make porn an issue! (Sarcasm intended.)

To top things off, Mr. Stahl becomes a self-professed theological scholar by saying, "Nowhere is porn or its analog even remotely alluded to in the Bible." Are you kidding me? The Apostle Paul, John, James, Peter and especially Jesus all talk about sexual immorality and quite specifically, too. I won't bore you nonbelievers by quoting dozens of scriptures. There is no "allusion" their words are an in-your-face confrontation with truth.

Mr. Stahl says a "million other serious issues around" can be debated other than pornography. You mean it's not serious how porn and sexually acting out have broken up thousands of marriages and families?

For 10 years, I've seen and worked with people who can testify to the devastating results of how their lives have become unmanageable and out-of-control due to pornography and accompanying behavior. Porn is not harmless. It is not a lame non-issue unless you happen to be a sexual deviate or in denial and justifying certain "immoral" or harmful behavior.

Rev. Tom Pedigo, State Director

American Family Association, Colorado

Colorado Springs

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