Out of control
Corporate personhood? What a strange concept the Supreme Court and some legislators have affirmed. Like individuals, businesses can act childishly, failing to understand the impacts of their actions on others. Like adolescents, the clueless self-centeredness of some corporations can produce tragically destructive results, not just for humanity but for the community of life that supports all creatures on Earth.
Sadly, examples of corporate misbehavior and immaturity contaminate our financial, natural, and ethical worlds today, with negative impacts far beyond those any single person could cause. To equitably prosper, business needs a framework of appropriate regulation — like young people need firm, fair parenting and adults need just laws — not a laissez-faire atmosphere permitting uncontrolled bad behavior. We do not put up with wrongdoing by children or adults. Why should it be condoned, even encouraged, in corporate persons?
— John Stansfield
About those letters
Regarding Jan Zeis' letter ("Indy observations," July 1), I am not as titillated nor as alarmed by Larimore Nicholl's and Duane Slocum's letters as Jan is, but then I'm not alarmed or titillated that easily. I am a little chagrined and somewhat sorrowed to the point that I'm thinking of going into a state of pout because Zeis didn't include me along with that stellar twosome. I find their letters interesting and insightful, but I have been writing to the Indy practically since its inception and like most humans I enjoy recognition. And by golly, Jan, I'm mad and I'm not gonna take it anymore. There, I got that off my chest and I feel better for it.
Jan got a little too cute in her letter, but I'm sure she did the best she could. Using the word "titillated" is novel and rather revealing because words can take us into the inner sanctum of a writer's soul. Perhaps, Zeis reads romance novels (with my apologies to all romance novel readers).
Jan's absorbing conclusion tells us about the "lacy green leaves" in the Indy's classified section and parlays that startling information into —- marijuana is a boon to the Indy's classfied section. Quite a deduction, I'd say, and my only retort must be: SO WHAT!
I'm cheered that the Indy publishes letters from the "other side," if I may call Zeis' letter that. As a Dem, right now, I am not pleased with my party or its leadership, but when I think of who and what were leading us 18 months ago, after my shudders abate, I am thankful and proud to be on "this side" because the "other side" never was and never will be the place to be.
— Phil Kenny
The real issue
In a recent visit with President Obama, Mexican President Felipe Calderón suggested we reduce our demand for illegal immigrants. If they can't find jobs here they won't cross the... sorry, excuse me for a second.
"What's that? He wasn't talking about immigration? Oh, OK, I think I've got it now."
In a recent visit with President Obama, Mexican President Felipe Calderón suggested we reduce our demand for oil. The less oil we use, the fewer chances we will have to take with the environment, and the Middle East will... excuse me again, sorry.
"What now! It wasn't oil either? What was it?"
In a recent visit with President Obama, Mexican President Felipe Calderón suggested we reduce our demand for drugs...
— Steve Suhre
The new commander of NORAD is pictured in the Independent ("Meet the new boss," News, July 1) in a camouflage uniform.
A camouflage uniform? Since when do Navy officers have a need for camouflage? Isn't this carrying military style too far? Maybe our political leaders will soon be wearing camouflage. This will make it harder for us to recognize them.
— Don Smith
Editor's note: Adm. James Winnefeld was wearing the Navy working uniform, not to be used for camouflage purposes.
Not about Nazis
Apparently, some partisans of the Palestinian cause cannot argue their position without throwing in some utterly gratuitous and fatuous reference to Nazism. The sophomoric intellect equates this with biting irony, but I see it as cheap, easy, and vulgar — ultimately pathetic in that it says more about ignorance of Nazism than understanding of the Middle East.
The word holocaust, with a small h, means a sacrifice consumed by fire. It has also come to be synonymous with the word genocide, due to association with the word Holocaust, with a capital H, which refers specifically to the Nazi mass slaughter of European civilians, especially Jews, but also Germans with disabilities, and many others. It's unfortunate that holocaust has come to be the equivalent of genocide, because genocide is a perfectly good and descriptive word, whereas Holocaust was introduced to underline how much more sadistic and barbaric the Nazi program had been than any other genocide recorded in human history.
So far, the closest the Palestinian people have ever come to being the victims of genocide was carried out by Jordan. At the present moment, no one is threatening them with genocide.
Which is not to say, as some seem to think, that all genocide is over and done with. The genocide in Darfur continues unchecked (if anything, increasing in ferocity) in spite of (or, perhaps, thanks to) world attention being distracted by the recent Palestinian publicity stunt, although the Sudanese victims are at least as deserving, and certainly in more pressing need.
— Harry Katz
Regarding your cover photo of June 24 ("Last Chance Motel"), I've worked with and fed the homeless for many years, but I've never seen a less sympathetic picture than the cover of that issue. The people are overweight (obviously well-fed). They have money for cigarettes, and a baby lying on the parking lot.
Who took these pictures? Did your print shop get hijacked by the Gazette? Way to give the anti-homeless crowd more ammo.
— Doug Dawson
I am confident this man-made crisis in the Gulf is one that BP or any other oil producer/refiner would never want, but it has occurred. I would imagine, as the evidence mounts, a combination of seemingly benign or inconsequential items or events contributed to this calamity. However, I would not be surprised to hear personal accounts of apathy, ineptitude and outright negligence.
I have no solutions that will slow or in some way limit the flow of oil from the broken well. But from the conclusion of the first week, it became clear that BP does not care about the Gulf Coast, its businesses or people losing their livelihoods and recreation areas.
We should boycott BP and any and all subsidiaries. Maybe then, BP will act with some sense of urgency and genuine concern for our land, water, people and other resources.
I can only imagine that if this situation were impacting England and the rest of Great Britain, Tony Hayward and his BP colleagues would be mopping up crude oil from their private beaches with scones and crumpets if needed.
I am absolutely astounded and speechless that an industry of this size and importance does not have any contingency [plan] for such a monumental, devastating accident. A responsible company needs plans for any circumstances; anything less is reprehensible, disingenuous and, most importantly, irresponsible! The Gulf will bear this scar for the next decade at a minimum. What price tag could we put on the devastation being endured by the small entrepreneurs and other business owners? What cost will be enough to rebuild or mitigate the effects on the flora and fauna during the next 20 years? Could this be the ecological tipping point that causes nature to push back?
— James Shumaker
Now or never
Why is there such a fight to get the Senate to pass comprehensive energy and climate legislation? Each day that it is not addressed, we are putting our economy, our security and the environment at risk.
We are observing the largest and most destructive environmental disaster in our nation's history. We are also witnessing many failed attempts to stop it as the oil continues to gush into our waters along with the further pollution of toxic chemicals used by BP to "clean it up."
It should now be completely obvious that we need to transition to a clean energy future. We can create millions of new jobs, get rid of our dangerous addiction to oil, and protect our planet for future generations. This is a no-brainer. The time is now and I encourage everyone to write or call their senators. It's not simply a good idea; It's imperative.
— Sharlene White
Santa Fe, N.M.
Just park it
People are well aware of the disaster on the Gulf Coast. With BP paying $20 billion or more, they will drill with care after this. So now we have companies that do not want to drill to any depth.
We constantly hear America is addicted to oil. The problem is we cannot do without oil, since there were 254 million registered cars in the United States according to 1996 statistics, with millions more cars produced since then. We have millions of boats, sport boats, commercial boats, commercial and private planes, as well as lawn mowers, trimmers and hedgers, farm equipment such as tractors, and power plants still using oil and many others that use oil to operate. That surely equates more than 300 million oil-burning machines.
Solar power and wind power will help, but it's a relatively small amount of the energy needed, and that energy will be used for lighting cities, homes, and businesses. It will not do much for more than 300 million gas-burning engines; regrettably, there is no other choice. We have a small start by producing more efficient cars and trucks. So everybody has to think about using their cars more efficiently, planning trips, and using public transportation where feasible.
It makes me sad to think that we have no big answers right now. Natural gas is our cleanest-burning, cheapest fuel, and probably the fastest to convert to, but this also will take years. So as of now, use your oil-burning vehicles wisely.
— Irwin MacLeod
Having worked in local government, I must agree with Colorado Springs Vice Mayor Larry Small that the type of mayor selected by Colorado Springs voters is not going to solve your city's fiscal problems.
The occasional controversial public-private deal (like the U.S. Olympic Committee) aside, most of what local government does is pretty straightforward and transparent. Government hires people and equips them with facilities, equipment and materials in order to provide services.
Over the past 30 years a substantial portion of the U.S. private sector economy has evolved in[to] a relatively low-skilled, low-paid service economy. In contrast, government, due to the nature of its services and functions and the legal constraints under which it operates, must self-select to a substantial degree for employees with greater skills and education levels.
Unless Colorado Springs residents intentionally elect someone to dismantle their city government, the type of mayor chosen to lead Colorado Springs is not, in my opinion, going to change these realities. The ultimate questions will be, given the available tax base and the level of taxation that residents are willing to accept, what level of local government does Colorado Springs want and what level can it afford?
— Norman Bangeman
On top of everything else, we have learned that the federal government offered this city some job-creation money but the mayor and City Council turned it down, with some contempt. Yes, they really did.
Some of these politicians campaigned on promises of "smaller government and less spending." We got that and plenty of it. Less spending on streetlights, parks, restrooms, medians, pools, community centers, buses, etc. And less on salaries for city workers, so many were fired.
Now the mayor and Council compound the unemployment problem by refusing federal money that would mitigate it at least temporarily. They say the money would eventually run out and the jobs would be discontinued. Fired workers may be saying, "So what?! I need work now, at least to tide me over until I can get something else!"
Meanwhile, our elected leaders shovel money into the hands of businesses and developers, including the Olympic Committee debacle and the multi-billion soaking of ratepayers for the water pipeline, SDS (Southern Delivery System, also known as the Supreme Developer Scam).
The mayor's message to the poor? "Get lost." His message to big business? "We're in the money."
What this city desperately needs is a change in the structure of city government to create a Very Weak Mayor System. Can we get that on the November ballot?
— Larimore Nicholl
To effect a true change to one's own life and family, we must work together and forget about Washington. Our elected leaders have banked our children's future with unbridled growth coupled with the "big box" store/sales tax mentality. When the economic ship started to take on water, corporations gave the life preservers to the suits and left us to fend for ourselves.
So be it. Our state government could experience a $1 billion deficit next year, plus another local shortage. Coupled with the burden of the Doug Bruce triple threat, we can expect nothing but tears from elected officials for the foreseeable future.
It is time we accept responsibility for our future. A local gasoline tax of maybe 5 cents a gallon could go to a locally built and installed residential solar panel program. Put the money into local credit unions until the pile attracts the attention of a manufacturer, and then spread the energy around our neighborhoods through a lottery or something.
Simple, local and a win-win deal for everyone (except the Wyoming coal companies and the railroad). We can take a small part of the pile, lobby Denver for another statewide nickel and watch Colorado become a solar/wind economic power.
— Karl Knapstein
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