Questioning Suthers

What is Attorney General John Suthers doing!?

Why would he want to take away newly won health insurance from most of the 760,000 Colorado citizens who do not have it — that is 16 percent of our population!

Why would he want to make Colorado seniors on Medicare continue to experience the "doughnut hole," which means they are without prescription coverage after they reach a cap?

Why would he want to keep young adults who cannot find a job with insurance coverage off their parents' insurance policy?

Why would he want to make families do without coverage because of pre-existing conditions?

His answer to these questions seems to indicate that he believes "states' rights" are more important than the human right of individuals and families to basic health care.

Thank goodness there is a strong consensus in the legal community that the Florida lawsuit he has joined holds no weight!

— Cara Koch

Colorado Springs

Wrong target

OK, I believe in poking fun at anything and everything — just like you folks at the Independent — and I can certainly even laugh at myself. But I have to object to your April Fool's offering for this year, the "Pikes tweak" charade about "medical meth."

First, I didn't even have to open the cover to realize that it was an April Fool's Day prank. Only a determined right-wing prohibition sympathist would fall for this, for even 15 seconds.

And there's the nub of my criticism: A story like this does a wholly undeserved disservice to the existing medical cannabis movement, since it implies that putting the adjective "medical" in front of the name of any currently banned drug is just an exercise in silliness.

This is exactly what the prohibitionists would like us all to believe. And you did it for them!

Second, I'm definitely not complaining because I think this story was in "bad taste." I'm complaining because it offers political and PR cover to those who wish to dismiss medical cannabis, and the real progress that has recently been made in that field, as the misguided folly of obviously foolish people.

You should be very careful about this, as those people are currently poised to make a serious counter-offensive against medical cannabis.

These days, there are so many juicy targets for parody and criticism in local and state government. Couldn't you have found one that wouldn't have had negative political consequences for one of the few truly positive changes to emerge in the last few years?

— Patrick L. Lilly

Colorado Springs

High-seas justice

There's a terrorist trial coming soon. It apparently has not been definitely decided where to have this courtroom drama. Some want the trial to be a military decision on a military base while others feel it is more demonstrative of our values if we have it in a civilian setting via civilian litigation rules and procedures.

This letter does not take a side. Rather, it offers a solution to future terrorist trials. (Preferably, hopefully, there will never be a need for another such courtroom drama.)

Let's put the next one out to sea. The trial could take place on the deck of an aircraft carrier, miles from any major populated area. Think of how easy it would be to alleviate any safety concerns.

With a flotilla of destroyers and cruisers surrounding the carrier, no one would be able to get anywhere near it. Two or three submarines could make sure no one came from beneath the carrier.

Aircraft could patrol the skies. Checkmate!

At the risk of making this trial look like a three-ring circus, we could have Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey erect tents on the deck just in case of inclement weather. If the seas got rough or the weather became inhospitable, the flotilla or armada could simply move to more tranquil waters. Of course, this idea gives a whole new meaning to the idea of sequestering a jury.

If the accused was found guilty and sentenced to the maximum penalty (after many years of unsuccessful appeals, of course), he or she could "walk the plank." Then, like Luca Brasi, he or she could "swim with the fishes."

— Dave Gaggi

Colorado Springs

This one's for real

If the April 3 announcement by Sen. Michael Bennet's campaign had come two days earlier, I would have said it was a good April Fool's joke or something in Ranger Rich's column. But the announcement was true, cynical and quite revealing.

The "appointed incumbent U.S. senator who has never run, nor won, an election" has decided to try an "end run" and seek to circumvent the nominating process and reach the primary ballot via petition.

To me, and many other real Democratic Party activists, this is plainly thumbing his nose at rank-and-file Democratic voters attending county assemblies as delegates from caucuses. Some will go to the state convention and voice their preference; a candidate needs just 30 percent to make the primary ballot.

But a petition drive clearly demonstrates this standard might not be reached by the appointed incumbent and his cash-rich campaign, a sure sign of weakness.

This really is an arrogant act of minimizing the voters' voice. My father, like my grandfather, both elected Republicans, always counseled me on candidates: Measure their actions, never their words, especially their campaign actions. Politicians don't spend resources on anything unless necessary. They don't make expensive TV ads, buying enormous amounts of airtime in March, unless they have to, or they are trying to influence activists attending assemblies. And certainly they don't commence a petition drive in every county to "ensure" they get on the ballot — unless it is necessary!

All delegates or alternates to remaining county assemblies should determine whether they, too, feel insulted and concerned about Bennet. Isn't this essentially what Joe Lieberman did in Connecticut? Even if Bennet thinks he might not get 30 percent, thus his petition drive, he still needs 10 percent at the state assembly. This is no April Fool's joke.

— Bob Nemanich

Colorado Springs

Slaves to corruption

Roughly 60 years ago, President Dwight Eisenhower, a retired five-star general, warned of the dangers of catering to the military-industrial complex, yet now that mega-machine owns this country. Many in Congress protest emphatically that we "can't afford" proper health care reform. Well, this country can no longer afford to be without it, along with a myriad of other necessities such as education, alternative energy, proper housing, jobs, etc.

Yet we very quickly manage to "afford" new multi-billion defense contracts for the fastest and most effective killing machines, aggressive warfare, and invading sovereign nations in faraway lands, all to patronize supportive "friends" of key national leaders.

Our economy, the banks and financial giants reek with unethical practices and fraudulent bonuses, right alongside "no-bid" contractors such as Halliburton, KBR and other corporations stripping this nation of its resources while our young people are needlessly shipped home in body bags, to the rallying cry of "fighting terrorism" in illegal wars.

We have no business being the world's police force. This is a job for the United Nations, and we are a part of that body. We still seem to always step in front of them in policing the world's "bad guys," and I honestly feel it's done to protect the interests of the military-industrial complex.

This is a disastrous way to run a railroad, but it takes real guts to say no, changing ideology and direction in midstream and giving real peace a real chance.

— Dave White

Santa Fe, N.M.

Misspent money

I was upset with myself a few weeks ago as I did not take the time to write and say what I felt about the ads from the Catholic church on TV. I wanted to tell them to stop wasting money on those commercials and instead send it to Haiti or Chile or spend it on the homeless here. I got busy and failed to do so.

But now I am seeing political ads on TV (yes, this early), and they are bugging the heck out of me. Jane Norton's nonsense in particular offends me royally. Did she tell "W" to not run for re-election because of his lies about WMDs, starting an unnecessary war and wasting so much taxpayer money? I sure didn't see any ads then from her. Where was she? Sen. Michael Bennet's ads don't make much sense now.

So how about if all churches and politicians spend their money on the homeless and earthquake victims instead of driving us nuts with their commercials? Let's say all political ads will cease until July 1, resume through the primaries, then stop again until mid-October. In the meantime, let's spend money where it is really needed, and right now it is not needed on my TV or on my radio.

Thank you, and this message is approved by Jane Madden, who thinks people need to get their priorities straight.

— Jane Madden

Colorado Springs

Shakeup, not down

Colorado's Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA), which purports to regulate insurance, banking, real estate and other industries, has a long, illustrious history of being politicized and compromised by the Legislature and governor's office. The recent dustup at DORA's real estate division, where the beleaguered director has filed a whistleblower complaint, is symptomatic of a larger problem.

Historically, there has been no significant distinction between DORA's effectiveness under Democratic or Republican governors, or Legislatures. Sadly, the department has been marginally effective.

In 1997, having served as a public information officer for the Colorado Division of Insurance for six years, I resigned and asked the General Assembly to audit the insurance division and establish a reasonable benchmark for its enforcement record. You'd think it would be a no-brainer; 7,000 consumer complaints a year should have resulted in a fair number of fines and enforcement actions against insurance companies. Right?

The state awarded the audit to the insurance industry lobbying firm of Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal. This esteemed firm was in the news last year for its not-so-subtle lobbying efforts in Washington on behalf of bio-tech and health care clients. In 1999, Sonnenschein completed its audit and concluded that, eureka, there's nothing really wrong with the division's enforcement record.

This leaves all of us pretty much in the hands of trial lawyers, those allegedly valiant consumer advocates we pay to protect us from the big bad insurance or banking or real estate companies whenever regulation falls short.

In other words, you're on your own.

In the meantime, we continue to fund DORA with tax dollars while the governor and Legislature refuse to establish reasonable expectations. Yet we continue to believe elected officials when they tell us they will fight for fair and effective business regulation.

— Jake Gaffigan


Trash can-do

The Colorado Springs city government's removal of trash cans from so many parks continues to be a disgrace. Where is the foresight of such a budget-crunching action when it has become a public-health concern? The parks of our fair city have become strewn with dirty diapers, used condoms, dog poo and other rot.

The PETA offer of trash cans was only a half-answer. Why bring in a global activist group's advertising agenda when a local solution is available?

Why can't local trash companies be encouraged to donate their services for some sort of tax incentive?

After all, we have these trash cans in storage somewhere — unless they have been sold or thrown away. It's not cans we need, it's a creative local solution to solve this mess!

— Gail Finlay

Colorado Springs

Sorry, Canadians

I would like to know where and how President Obama is getting all these extra doctors to care for all these millions of illegals in this country, and the 30 million poor people they are adding to the health care system. We already have a shortage of doctors, with some doctors calling it quits.

My guess is that people will have to wait at least a year or more to see a doctor. By then, they could be dead! What's going to happen to our neighbors in Canada, to those people who come to the United States to get treated, because they don't want to die waiting to see a doctor under socialized medicine in Canada.

Sorry, they won't be able to get the fast treatment they were getting in the U.S.A. anymore.

— David E. Core

Colorado Springs

Just to be clear ...

• We tried to give readers plenty of hints, but some of you took everything in the April 1 issue seriously. The cover story, "Pikes tweak," and a news story headlined "Slip slidin' away" were intended only as part of our April Fools' offerings, which also included the Ranger Rich column, several news briefs (recycling streetlights, Dog the Bounty Hunter, Balanced Rock), some Side Dish and Listings items, and even a fake ad about a free marijuana sample.

We wanted everyone to share in a laugh, but some were still fooled — and others obviously didn't see the humor, regardless. Maybe next time.

• Also, in Nick Chambers' feature, "Surf on Turf," (InSider, April 1), Chambers reported that a manager from Jun Japanese Restaurant told him that most sushi restaurants don't receive fish deliveries on Mondays. The Independent stands behind this as a general rule, but Jun would like to clarify that it actually does place orders on Sundays for Monday delivery.

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