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Meds for McCain
I'd like to comment on the flak regarding Sen. John McCain's statement that he doesn't think Americans are concerned if we're in Iraq for 100 years or more. Some McCain supporters are insisting that it was taken out of context, just a figure of speech, or a mistake.

If that were so, why would he say it over and over again?

I'm sure most of us have watched him being interviewed on TV several times stating that we should be in Iraq for decades. Perhaps McCain should take a reality pill. All the polls have shown that most Americans want us out of Iraq, and even if it weren't such a dangerous and failed policy, we simply cannot afford it, with lives or money.

Sharlene White
Santa Fe, N.M.

Point, counterpoint
I'm the anti-growth advocate who was quoted in the Independent story that disappointed Colorado Springs Utilities' John Fredell ("Unhappy utility," Letters, May 1). Fredell took exception to my characterization of SDS, the proposed water diversion project, as a "throwback to a bygone era when people didn't think about limits to the West's water supply."

It's telling that Fredell's response was: "We can't maintain our quality of life or healthy economy without it." That is my point exactly. The notion that our economy can only be healthy if we're expanding our city is outdated, unrealistic and dangerous.

Unfortunately, developer-dominated local politics and officials clinging to the "grow or die" myth dictate that our utility gloss over the environmental impacts of massive water-diversion projects and the limits of our water supply. It would be prudent to acknowledge our state's water supply is limited and likely to decline. Therefore our strategy for maintaining a healthy local economy should be based on taking care of what we have today, rather than clinging to an archaic, growth-based Ponzi scheme that cannot possibly be sustained over the long haul.

Fredell's letter states SDS won't create the population growth. Unmentioned is the fact that new subdivisions will not continue to spring up in our city without a promise of water from our utility. But if we sink billions of dollars into building and financing SDS, our city will pour millions more down the drain in advertising and incentives to try to fill every vacant acre with paying customers.

Meanwhile, utility bills will skyrocket and we'll probably be burning coal to power the massive SDS pumps 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. (Carbon footprint?) Then when we hit the next extended (possibly permanent) drought, we'll be rationing water among a million thirsty residents instead of a half-million. That is certainly an interesting recipe for a healthy economy.

Dave Gardner
Colorado Springs

Goodwill's response
Employees at Goodwill Industries of Colorado Springs are our most valuable asset in our mission to provide job training and workforce development services to thousands of people each year. We do our utmost to provide the best environment for our employees to grow in their careers and become an integral part of our mission ("Bad will at Goodwill?" News, May 1).

Goodwill values diversity in our workforce by respecting differences, recognizing unique contributions individuals with diverse backgrounds make and creating a work environment that maximizes the potential of all employees. By doing this, we better serve program participants who come from all segments of our population.

Not only does Goodwill hire people from all backgrounds, we conduct regular cultural competency trainings, ask employees to sign a Resolution of Respect that promotes employee awareness and sensitivity, and have a diversity adviser on staff who serves as a point of contact for employees by highlighting and welcoming issues of diversity.

We also celebrate our employees' unique contributions through a special work culture campaign that highlights each individual's part in our mission. Fostering a workplace that embraces our employees helps Goodwill help the community.

Nearly 50 percent of our workforce has a disability, a figure that reflects many diverse backgrounds. We do not tolerate discrimination of any form.

Robert G. Baker, Jr.
President/CEO, Goodwill Industries
Colorado Springs

Bad side-effect
I was pleased that Doug Lamborn and Doug Bruce were identified as Republicans until I realized that most people in the state view them as from Colorado Springs.

David Johnson
Cascade

One-sided debate

I attended a debate between Chris Leland of Focus on the Family and Michael Newdow, an avowed atheist. Their issue: "Do the phrases "One Nation Under God' in the Pledge of Allegiance and "In God We Trust' on U.S. currency violate the Constitution?'"

Fortunately, the Independent did not cover this story. The reason I say "fortunately" is because I fear the article would not have been positive for Christians. But in the May 1 Indy, the Freethought Views advertorial did give their opinion. The writer, Marsha Abelman, was quite positive and courteous, although still slanted.

Why was this Freethinker giving such a glowing report? I venture out of my comfort zone to explain: Newdow won the debate, hands-down! Let me get real: The speaker for the Christian side "had his clock cleaned" ... he was verbally and logically buried.

Newdow's presentation was pointed, practical, powerful and persuasive; Leland was disjointed, disconnected and dismal in his attempted presentation and rebuttals. To use an adage of yesteryear, Leland was "taken to the woodshed and spanked." I waited for moments when Christians could cheer for a point well-made. Silence. Meanwhile, Freethinkers were shouting and to their feet at numerous points. Newdow was charismatic, connected, concise and compelling.

Afterward, I met Newdow and said, "You are a powerful speaker and you presented your points well." He said, "Thank you, but, you now need to tell me that I am right." I said, "Let's just say for now that you swayed me on a variety of levels and I understand clearly what you believe and why."

Hundreds of Christians left the building silently. I know why. My heart goes out to Leland, who was in over his head encountering this "reverend" of the First Atheist Church of True Science. God help us!

Rev. Tom Pedigo
Colorado Springs

Keepers of the shame
The intent of "New era @ New Life" (cover package, May 1) is not clear to me.

It's nice and sweet. It sounds like, after the smoke has cleared in Colorado Springs, all is well and your ministers have embarked on a new approach to evangelism. Ted Haggard was, at best, a hardened hypocrite whose self-serving purpose was to damage the lives, families and souls of a minority group to make himself feel better inside, and to hide his own corruption behind his approach to making a living. Unfortunately, Haggard does not stand alone as guilty of such crimes against mankind.

I don't know what Haggard's revelations have to do with the evangelical community's withdrawal from politics or the new ministers turning inward. The church does not belong in politics besides, most of what I've heard them say about America's political history is dead wrong. I find it hard to believe that they (Ted, James Dobson, John Hagee, et al) aren't bright enough to know it.

What's the purpose of my mini-tirade? I've been waiting for people in Colorado Springs to stand up and say they're ashamed of Ted Haggard and James Dobson and that they have learned something from all this! I know it's really stretching it to ask that someone in Colorado Springs stand up and apologize to your own gay community for the insults and injury inflicted by degenerates in your own city.

John C. Homer
Lakewood, Ohio

Harmful farming
Last week, the prestigious Pew Charitable Trusts and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health concluded that factory farming takes a big toll on human health and the environment, undermines rural economic stability and fails to provide humane treatment of livestock. Capping a two-year study, with agriculture industry participation, the report calls for a national phase-out of all intensive confinement of farmed animals.

The report is long overdue. For the past 60 years, animal agriculture has been devastating our country's vital natural resources, including soil, waters and wildlife habitats. It has been generating more greenhouse gases than transportation. It has been elevating the risk of chronic diseases that account for 130 million deaths annually. It has been abusing billions of innocent, sentient animals.

The only long-term solution is to gradually reduce the consumption of animal products to zero. Help is available at: tryveg.org and chooseveg.org.

Carl Silverman
Colorado Springs

Correction
The May 1 story "I am Legend" (7 Days to Live) made an incorrect reference to how long Marilyn Monroe has been dead, which should have been 45 years. The Independent regrets the error.

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