Having recently returned from a time in Boston, I am happily again reading the Indy for my weekly dose of good local news. I am a big fan of the various comics that are printed for my enjoyment.
To Ted Wilkin, who shredded the stylings of derf ("Cartoon commentary," Letters, Nov. 20): Hey man, the most common code in the world is to put something backwards: derf, fred, etc. Makes sense, yes? Anyway the lack of comics in the back sections of the paper in the past few weeks has saddened me. I hope to see them, derf included, again soon.
In response to Larimore Nicholl ("Life in paradise," Letters, Nov. 13), you are very talented at painting a picture of "Daddy and Muffy" discussing class warfare. I'm sure some wealthy people are just as you describe. However, I think they're an extreme minority.
There are many other "wealthy" people who worked hard, scrimped, saved and risked everything to open a business. They worked 70 to 80 hours a week to make that business a success. After all the hard work, risk and sacrifice, they can make $250,000 a year and provide a better life for their family.
All this to have someone like you paint them as evil, greedy monsters for wanting to keep half of what they earn. In addition, when they die, you want to tax what's left again to take it from their heirs. The wealthy weren't even complaining until people such as you started pointed fingers and saying they weren't giving enough. I think you're the greedy one. You want them to pay more so you don't have to pay a reasonable share.
Sure, there are the extremely wealthy: Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, David Rockefeller. Gates gave $29 billion to charities between 2000 and 2004. Buffett has given more than $40 billion to charity. Rockefeller's philanthropy is legendary. America is the most charitable nation in the world.
I'm sure you're thinking I must be wealthy. I'm getting by on my meager military pension and VA disability compensation. I'm going back to school after a quarter-century of work because someday I hope to be wealthy.
Focus on Yule
It's reassuring to see Focus on the Family rallying their forces to sharpen their pitchforks and fuel their torches in the spirit of the season. (They don't like the lexicon choices of some retail businesses.) After a couple centuries of localized persecution, Christians have spent two millenniums getting even with the world.
First, Christians stole the winter celebration from the Druids, Celtics and others. During invasions of Northern Europe, the Pope's minions decided to make up the date of Jesus' birth as being in December, because native tribes celebrated the winter solstice (Yule) on what today is near Dec. 21. To make forced conversions easier, natives were told a lie about their savior's birthdate. History shows Jesus was probably born in the spring.
The tradition of bringing a tree indoors for the celebration came from old Scandinavian customs. And that wreath on your door has nothing to do with Jesus. You don't see evergreen trees in the desert.
When Rome fell, Christians threw out the good stuff (knowledge, roads and indoor plumbing) and kept the evil things (such as torture). They mastered, with glee, the art of torture, giving us the roots of modern military interrogation.
These church "leaders" suppressed knowledge. They advocated women as ignorant, barefoot and pregnant. Peasants were told to give what little money they had to this savior so his house could be gilded in gold.
The whole planet has been forced to conform to their calendar (I refer to B.C. as "before calendar" and A.D. as "accepted date"). Now, here they are, 2,000 years later, throwing tantrums. They still want to kill the witches and persecute any choices that are not their own. This is indeed a very disingenuous cult.
Feel the heat?
Gregory-Alan Johnson ("The Keyes option," Letters, Nov. 20) claims he is sure we will all live to regret having had Barack Obama elected president, and that we're about to go through hell for that.
Frankly, the presidency of George W. Bush already put us through hell. We got attacked on Sept. 11 by a group whose leader is still at large seven years later. Bush called for deregulation of banks, and they gave us the adjustable rate mortgage, causing thousands to default when the rate skyrocketed, and leaving mortgage holders to abandon houses across the country.
Bush called for passage of the Patriot Act, which was supposed to help track down domestic terrorists, but was used to tap our phones and read our mail. I heard recently of some people, given the task of listening for terrorist conversations on overseas calls, passing around recordings of personal sex calls between married couples!
This election was a repudiation of Mr. Johnson's beliefs, and Republicans are in the midst of another internal struggle just like after the collapse of the Nixon administration, as conservatives fight for their political careers.
As for the suggestion of voting for Alan Keyes, more than 129 million votes were cast for president, and Keyes got less than 50,000. John McCain had about as much chance of passing himself off as an 18-year-old.
Hypocrites in camo
Fort Carson's PR apparatus has a time-proven strategy to neutralize opponents: "If you can't beat 'em, buy 'em." At its first sustainability conference in 2002, Fort Carson began the campaign to reframe its image, inviting environmental companies to hawk their wares, hiring consultants from organizations like Natural Capitalism and Catamount Institute, and focusing their purchasing power on green products.
Since then, area environmentalists have become comfortable, if not downright cozy, with the military. Ironically, the 2002 Fort Carson Sustainability Plan first mentioned the Army's plan to turn millions of acres of sensitive ecosystem around Pion Canyon into a vast live-fire range.
The recent 2008 sustainability conference had a new name and new opponent, the agricultural community. Ranchers have been united in opposition to taking agricultural land out of production in the Pion Canyon expansion plan. So the Army reframed its sustainability scheme to include regional farmers and ranchers, inviting producers to sell their products to the Army.
True stewards of the Earth can see through this tactic. Wendell Berry, renowned poet and farming advocate, writes: "I am not pleased to find that the Fort Carson Sustainability organization has used a quote from me in one of their brochures, thereby implying that I support their effort to expand the Pion Canyon Maneuver Site. But I do not support their effort. I stand solidly with the ranchers and conservationists."
It is hypocritical of Fort Carson to pretend to be an advocate for environment and agriculture while trying to displace families and take their land out of production.
Memo to Maketa
Am I the only one who is getting tired of El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa whining and trying to make voters feel guilty about voting down 1A? I like Sheriff Maketa; however, he has bought into the premise that voters aren't very smart and government officials know best when they need more of our money.
Come on, sheriff! Begin to act like a manager and run your department. Quit the moaning, groaning and belly-aching. What's done is done.
It's now time to roll up your sleeves, streamline your department and cut out the speed traps as a way to increase revenue. Use your staff to make responsive calls and service the residents of El Paso County. Show us that you can be a really good county sheriff. That is why we elected you! You can be as good or better than that sheriff in Arizona.
Duane C. Slocum
The latest idea from the local brain trust is to license pussycats. Why not license bicycle riders, and require plates for bikes?
Thousands of people here, who have lived or vacationed in Germany and other parts of Europe, know bicycles are not toys but vehicles. As such, bicycle riders need to know and abide by the rules of the road.
Bicycle riders think they are oh-so-cute and special and do not have to obey stop signs or red lights. They think they can simply pull out in front of a car and do a U-turn on a whim. They need to wise up and be educated. They need to learn how to drive in traffic, and their vehicles should be equipped with lights and mirrors, so they can see and be seen.
They need to use hand signals, and they need to pay a nominal fee to be licensed and to drive in traffic. They are most often a danger to themselves and car drivers.
The cat tax
Colorado Springs officials have been talking about requiring cats to be licensed since July, when the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region said it could be a way to raise money to start a program to deal with feral cats.
Why not call this what it is: a tax on cat owners to pay for cats they do not own. Since when are laws passed to raise money? I always thought laws were passed to protect the public.
A license is a special permit to do a certain thing. Licenses, by their very nature, are revocable by the issuing party. A "cat license," in the sense that it is being proposed, is a tax. How do you deal with feral cats now and what will change with the tax?
How much money will be raised if the only owners being taxed are those whose cats are picked up and later claimed by owners who have not "licensed" their cats?
What if cat owners refuse? Will their cats be killed? Taken from the owner? Will fewer cats be reclaimed? And how much anticipated revenue will it take to support the new feral cat program, whatever that is?
Save the turkeys
Barack Obama has risen from humble beginnings to the presidency. But all of us have the power to pardon a turkey on Thanksgiving. Here are some reasons to skip the turkey:
You are what you eat. Who wants to be a "butterball"?
You won't have to call the Poultry Hotline to keep your family alive.
You won't sweat the environment-and-food-resources-devastation guilt trip.
You won't spend a sleepless night wondering how the turkey lived and died.
Your body will appreciate a holiday from saturated fat, cholesterol and hormones.
My family's Thanksgiving dinner will include Tofurky, lentil roast, mashed potatoes, corn stuffing, stuffed squash, chestnut soup, candied yams, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie and carrot cake. An Internet search on vegetarian Thanksgiving got us lots of recipes and other information.
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