Time for vet-ting

Reference "The Talented Mr. Duncan" (News, May 14) by Anthony Lane, it amazes me that for over a year, no one, including a candidate for Congress (and his campaign staff), bothered to check this guy out. It proves once again that we veterans and our immediate society of journalists and politicians are failing to question and check out those who talk up their military and war experiences.

Legitimate veterans can easily prove their service and considering Mr. Duncan's alleged fraud, I as one military vet (Major, USAFR, retired) would not take offense at doing so.

It is no wonder that the average reader is skeptical of those who tout their war and service records for personal gain. Veterans' groups need to fix this by checking out all members' backgrounds.

— Neil Talbott

Colorado Springs

USOC: femme fatale

So, I see the city's high-maintenance girlfriend, the U.S. Olympic Committee, has pulled out of the original deal ("Rings of fire," News, May 14).

Apparently, we have failed to express our love sufficiently to keep her around.

She is now keeping her options open, but would really like to stay. This, shortly after she cried on our shoulder that, if we really loved her, we'd give her a new house. If we refused, she'd likely have to get it from someone else. We, not wanting her to go, of course, began shredding a moderately cool building downtown, to build her one damn ugly box.

There are, after all, no other empty buildings in town of appropriate size, I guess. Maybe the box is insufficient, who knows.

I say we tell her to not let the door hit her on the ass, and concentrate on our more stable trophy girls, like the Air Force Academy, Pete Field and dear old Fort Carson.

— Jacques Sears

Colorado Springs

Call this bluff

Wow! Another "political" career dissolves into the corrupt abyss of backroom dealing and bribes hidden behind the camouflage of campaign contributions. Goodbye and good riddance, Mayor Lionel Rivera.

Now what? Colorado Springs will be No. 1 in this country (if not already) for "livability" in our population category despite the political hacks who buy their way into our leadership positions. Corporations will "pay" us, with quality jobs, to move here.

The state Department of Corrections' attempt at economical blackmail proved that beyond a shadow of a doubt. Why is the U.S. Olympic Committee here in the first place? I say it is the clean air, inexpensive quality of life and mostly the altitude (legal blood doping).

Like a child who threatens to leave home, it's time to call this bluff. Where will they go? Does the USOC really bring in that much money to our economy? Would the acres of prime (now tax-free) real estate bring us an economic windfall as a renewable energy "campus" or a quality living center for Colorado College? Maybe we could pay Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper a per diem to help us out, use Rivera's salary to reinstall porta-johns in the parks, and use what is left for the pothole epidemic.

— Karl Knapstein

Colorado Springs

Bennet blurred

Regarding "The accidental senator" (cover story, May 14), what a puff piece. Let's connect some dots: A recent poll finds 41 percent of voters disapprove of the job U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet is doing, and yet he has amassed $1.4 million, "a record for any Colorado Senate candidate in an off year." This for someone who was almost a complete unknown when he was appointed.

Do you suppose there is a groundswell of little people writing $25 and $50 checks because they're so excited about Bennet? Me neither. His campaign will have no resemblance to Barack Obama's. Where do you suppose that money came from? Any mention of the fact that Bennet voted against reconciliation, thus aiding and abetting the obstructionist tactics Republicans will use to stifle health care reform?

It may seem like inside baseball, but you as a newspaper have the obligation to explain it to your readers because it could have a tremendous impact on their lives. I wonder how much of that $1.4 million came from the health care industry? And yes, he voted against legislation that would have forced banks to renegotiate mortgage terms with lenders. But he did it for the lenders because the bill was flawed? I wonder how much of that $1.4 million came from the banking industry?

Are these what you call master strokes? You could have held up a microscope to Sen. Bennet. Instead, you chose to hold up a blurry lens.

— Steve Milligan

Colorado Springs

Pigs and STDs

I have watched the attention given to preventing the spread of swine flu. Every day e-mail alerts to my (advanced gynecology) office give updated guidelines for someone with flu-like symptoms. Stopping the flu's spread is important, and any death is significant, but as of May 19, this has infected only 5,000 in America with just six deaths.

The current approach to swine flu is isolating sick people: Stay home, keep your sick children home. Next is careful hand-washing and covering your mouth when coughing. Lastly, available medication is very effective for those who test positive for the virus.

Why isn't a similar concern and coordinated approach being taken for the epidemic of sexually transmitted infections in the U.S.? In contrast to swine flu, over 50,000 people every day are diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection. Almost half are young adults between 15 and 24.

The National Prevention Information Network, in coordination with the Center for Disease Control, states: "The most reliable ways to avoid becoming infected with or transmitting STDs are: abstain from sexual intercourse (i.e., oral, vaginal, or anal sex), [or] be in a long-term, mutually monogamous relationship with an uninfected partner."

Teaching children and teens about abstinence is primary prevention, yet the White House's 2010 budget does not include federal funding for abstinence-centered programs. Current rhetoric dictates it is unrealistic to expect teens to abstain. Is that because adults are unable to follow the same standards? Teaching risk-reduction methods such as condoms is important but should not be the primary approach. Will we censor the only 100 percent effective way to avoid sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy because we don't think teens will listen? We are underestimating our youth.

Perhaps we should stop telling people with flu-like symptoms to stay home — they won't want to do it anyway.

— Dr. Diane Foley

Colorado Springs

Hurting the needy

I am a 28-year-old disabled punk-rock female who is tired of seeing the needy get rubbed out. My bus route got cut, the closest one is a mile away, and I can't walk that far due to a torn knee ligament. Since mostly the poor take the bus, they are the only ones suffering. If they had money, they would have a car.

Many disabled take the bus because they have no driver's license. Yeah, they can get Metro Mobility, but that only runs with the bus system, so people who don't live on a bus line can't get it.

What is a poor single mother with three small children who can't walk a mile supposed to do? Carry all three of them plus her groceries? The city is making these stupid decisions and the needy and disabled are paying for it.

These decisions are being made to separate the upper and lower classes even more. There is no middle class anymore.

Stop making the poor pay. Maybe if Congress would stop stupid spending, there would be more money for services to the needy and disabled. The bus used to run by my house, but the route was cut. I live with my dad who has gone back to work, I cannot get to my physical therapy or counseling appointments. If I had a job I could not get to it. Because of these budget cuts, many are suffering, not just me.

City Council, put yourself in my shoes. It is time to stop making the very people who need the most help suffer.

— Michelle Gump

Colorado Springs

Weirdness reigns

Some of the items in Roland Sweet's "Stranger than Fiction" columns sound like candidates for a Darwin Award.

— Don Smith

Upper Kedron, Brisbane

Queensland, Australia


FREX: monkey biz

After reading "Fixing FREX" by Michael McMahon in the May 14 Letters, I felt Mr. McMahon forgot to consider a few important points.

First, public officials are often like the three monkeys. They only hear what they want to hear, they only see what they want to see, but unlike the three monkeys who say nothing, public officials tell you what they think you want to hear.

Second, having the FREX buses go to downtown Denver means they pass near the Capitol. Remember, out of sight, out of mind.

Third, FREX has not been affected by layoffs and route cuts as severely as the city's other systems. I wonder why?

The final point: What benefit is FREX to taxpayers of Colorado Springs and El Paso County? Our officials say that sales-tax revenues are down drastically, so we transport people out of the area to work and shop!

— Jim Gosse

Colorado Springs

Labels for all

I'm not down on Democrats. Barack Obama is now president, and I should support him. Thinking however, that categorizing and demonizing those with whom you disagree is a new trend ("A new record!" Letters, May 14), hints that the writer, Paul Dahlsten, has not picked up an Independent in the last eight years.

The invectives spewed endlessly about the previous administration were legend and often found every week in this paper.

Bush was/is an idiot. Cheney is Darth Vader Halliburton. Christians are the anti-Christ. Conservatives are now neo-cons. The letters have been matched by the liberal political cartoons such as Derf and Tom Tomorrow.

The hatred displayed was at a level I don't recall seeing with the simple lying found in the Clinton administration.

This means that while it is OK to think all Republicans and conservatives are stupid and evil, it just isn't fair for the same standards of free speech to apply to those who label themselves Democrat.

On this point, those of a historically liberal viewpoint now prefer to call themselves progressives, as if a name change will make all of us think more highly of them and their causes. All in a name, I suppose. Like neo-con.

To Phil Stahl ("Consider Barbados," Letters, May 14) I will submit this: There is a country about a thousand miles from Barbados where capitalism has been eliminated: Cuba.

You don't have the right to eliminate my right to enjoy a capitalist society. America has always been about freedom and choice. If you don't like capitalism, that's fine. Don't buy anything.

— Mitchell Andrews

Colorado Springs


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