Lamborn's lame excuse
As a retired federal employee and retired military, I totally agree with Jeanne Kleinman Williams ("Know your role, Doug," Letters, Aug. 4) that Congressman Doug Lamborn's derogatory remark was intended to depict the president, and no way even similar to his lame excuse that he meant the "economic quagmire."
However, I hope she meant that she found the epithet so repugnant she could not type it. (An epitaph is for deceased persons.)
Either way, a mere letter of apology is insufficient. His words were not unfamiliar to his vocabulary, and were unbecoming in one elected to represent us. Perhaps it is time to seek another representative.
— Miriam Wells
U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn said in a radio interview that being connected to President Obama would be like "touching a tar baby." He claims he didn't know that "tar baby" is a racist term (Quote of the week, Aug. 4). I don't automatically believe such self-serving statements. Whether he did or didn't know, it is a sad comment on him, either way. If he knew, the remark was disrespectful, cruel and inexcusable. If he didn't know, it says something else about him that should make us consider his fitness for office.
Diversity, a prime American value, is deserving of respect by all citizens. Most of us trace our ancestry to other lands and cultures. How can we not support it? It's "us."
Indeed, it is a major factor in America's success. People who come here bring varied experiences and ideas and, usually, youthful energy with them. I remember watching the opening of the Olympics some years ago. The American team was comprised of people whose forebears obviously came from all around the world. I was never so proud of my country!
To not know that "tar baby" is a racist term suggests Lamborn is culturally insensitive; he has shorted himself on exposure to diversity. (This possibility is reinforced by his effort to de-fund PBS. Its programming is full of divergent views both in current reporting and in historical studies. Lamborn would benefit by watching it.)
Our elected representatives — especially — should be consciously aware and respectful of the life experiences represented in our nation. His comment was a terrible slur on our president. That alone should disqualify him from the office he holds. I also find him culturally ignorant. That is not acceptable for a congressman.
— Polly Ogden
This deficit-cutting arrangement is acceding to the outrageous demands of a group of economic terrorists.
Republicans, by their own admission, got 98 percent of what they wanted. How is that a compromise? One part of one house of Congress was able to dictate terms contrary to the wishes of the overwhelming majority of Americans. Democrats were so ineffectual in opposition that it is fair to wonder if they might be in on the deal.
The budget issue is not that complicated, nor is it that serious or difficult to fix. Virtually nobody disputes what caused the deficit: two wars, ruinous tax cuts, a profligate Medicare prescription deal and a financial meltdown caused by the banksters. The current deficit hawks were enthusiastically in favor of the first three and enabled the fourth. Now they want to go after Social Security, which had nothing to do with it.
This is simply a case of plutocrats and their enablers in the White House and Congress forcing the poor — their ranks are swelling by the day — to pay for their excesses. It is moral lunacy and economic madness.
— Steve Milligan
Costs and effect
It is important to understand the reality of America's fiscal situation. This country is bankrupt. Massive overspending by a corrupt government, which is bought and paid for by special interests (the biggest of which is, in fact, the federal government), has us clearly over the brink.
America's credit rating should have been downgraded, as it was last week. It's consistent with reality. This may disturb the markets, increase interest rates and make life more difficult and expensive for every American. If this necessary consequence of our government's foolish policies results in a major change in our national consciousness and our government's policies, it will be well worth the cost.
America must end its failed effort at empire-building. We cannot afford to police the planet; we need to drastically reduce our international military presence and overall defense (really?) budget. Other people may stop threatening us if we stop killing them over there; it may actually be this simple.
We cannot afford to send money to foreign nations when we cannot provide adequate care and education for our own citizens. Our aid only corrupts those we attempt to help, and they end up hating us.
If Americans are a great people deserving of great freedom, then we must free ourselves from a government that is destroying our hope of a secure future.
A peaceful revolution is in order; the question is whether we have the character to bring it about. The alternative is economic catastrophe, societal chaos and violent revolution. Your government will urge you to spend your way to prosperity, and you should know how well this works. Government is not your friend, and will not save you from the hard times ahead, which it has caused. Sorry for the bad news, but we'd best face reality.
— Dr. Casey Elgin
Average Joes or CEOs?
The rapid rise of the tea party to the forefront of national debate is impressive. Its platform supposedly defends the middle-class from (tax) revenue increases while curtailing wasteful spending.
In practice, however, those with the most to gain from those antics are the wealthiest Americans. Even the oligarchs will suffer the repercussions of a credit-rating downgrade, but not nearly as painfully as the average middle-class person seeking a loan or currently in a variable-rate loan.
The tea party parades as a group of patriots championing the rights of the average Joe. Now they are showing their true colors. (Let's not forget, the original tea partiers executed their night of defiance dressed as Native Americans — nice.) These patriots and their modern counterparts feel compelled to make their statement, consequences be damned.
— Kenton Lloyd
The art of debate
I'm excited to see a discussion of art emerge in your letters column. We've been locked in an "us vs. them" duality contained in the issues of the establishment for too long.
No one wins that kind of contest (see Washington), and the pursuit of art and other right-brain activities is not only a respite from the fear wars, but also can take us in the direction of possible solutions.
I thank Carol Krick ("The demise of art," July 14) for initiating this discussion, and Sandy Murphy ("Defending our art," July 28) for expanding it. Creativity lives in the highest realms of human thought, and its companions are idea-making and questioning. Artists are looking for answers and solving problems, many times just for the satisfaction of their own curiosity.
I'm sorry for the pain in Ms. Krick's voice; my only advice is to turn your back on this "modern art establishment," visit some art classes from kindergarten through college, and see if you can revive the art in yourself. At the very least, give yourself some time in the original art of nature.
It's easy for us in this culture to get caught up in competition and the aforementioned duality, as if there are only two sides to any question. Ironically, Ms. Krick is right in saying the establishment is a reflection of our current culture, but it is not a representation of the world we could have, the place where art can lead us.
— Dave Shahan
Crisis road map
Here are eight concrete steps that could be taken by the federal government to help ordinary people during this jobs crisis:
1. Eliminate payroll taxes on the first $20,000 of income for two years.
2. Recreate the Works Progress Administration and the Civilian Conservation Corps.
3. Lend money to cash-strapped states and local governments.
4. Amend bankruptcy laws to allow distressed homeowners to declare bankruptcy on their primary residence.
5. Give employers tax credits for net new jobs.
6. Extend unemployment insurance.
7. Provide partial unemployment benefits to people who have lost part-time jobs.
8. Start an infrastructure bank.
If voters believe that these steps are needed, they should let our representatives in Congress know now!
— Cara Koch
We need the EPA
In recent media coverage about the Environmental Protection Agency, I was shocked to find that many of our streams are not protected. I am appalled to find that companies have the right to pollute in our rivers. We need to protect our environment to protect our future.
Today, 3.5 million Coloradoans could be at risk for unsafe drinking water due to companies dumping toxins in our waterways. Our rivers are our access to drinking water and outdoor activities such as fishing, swimming, and rafting.
We should not be scared of the EPA; we should support it. The EPA should have power to protect our rivers. Everyone should let their members of Congress know that we care about the environment and want safe water.
— Jodi Cawley
From legend to logic
It's been quite a debate in recent letters. Rev. Tom Pedigo ("Godly answers," July 28) called me "ridiculous, frightening, asinine, inane, and foolish."
Why does he indulge himself in name-calling, playground mentality? I'm not one of those who call him "a spewer of nonsensical claptrap." That's not how I roll.
In my view, every human being has a duty to try to obliterate all forms of superstition.
This includes any belief system containing supernatural entities or events of any kind, such as a man living a while in a fish stomach; people coming back to life from the grave (violations of biology); creation of humans out of dust; creation of wine out of water; or magical creation of loaves of bread (violations of physics).
This means any religion believing in supernatural gods or miracles must be exposed and ended, non-violently, of course. So, I'm anti-Islam, anti-Christianity, anti-Hinduism, anti-Judaism, and anti-Roman and -Greek gods, as well as anti-Scandinavian gods, etc.
Religious hatreds and wars have been responsible for more human slaughter than any other factor, including political wars. Josef Stalin and Adolf Hitler were amateurs compared to the torture and mass killings done by scores of centuries of religious hatreds and rampages. Superstitions and supernatural religions are hideously dangerous.
Let's get on with it. We must replace legend with logic, faiths with facts, superstition with science, religion with reason.
If you can't prove your belief on the basis of factually observed evidence, together with careful application of the rules of inductive and deductive logic, you are running on fiction and guesswork — never a good idea.
No supernatural gods of any kind have been proven to exist.
— Larimore Nicholl
In "Storm at the state fair" (Noted, Aug. 4), it was reported that artist The Poet Spiel is a past "best in show" winner at the fair. This is incorrect; he has won a juror's choice prize and a second-place award in the professional eclectic category. The Independent regrets the error.