Felines and finance

We used to have a cat that was not declawed, so our living room furniture was in shreds. Oh, we periodically clipped his claws, but the inevitable drive of Corby was to sharpen his inborn tools of survival — his claws — while desecrating our home. Such is the nature of cats.

Financial institutions are much like cats. If Congress merely clips their claws, it is only a matter of time until they grow new ones in the form of more complex, innovative tools that feed their innate drive for profit, no matter the social or environmental capital they use up in the process.

How did it come to be that our economic system now dictates our cultural values? How did We the People lose our ability to decide how our natural resources and productive capacity would be organized to assure the protection and well-being of ourselves?

It seems we have forgotten the necessary role of government in our American vision for assuring equality and justice for all. The job of government is to declaw Big Business so we all can benefit from its positive aspects rather than be desecrated by its drive for monetary profit. The problem is not Big Government, but rather the loss of government's ability to declaw the Fat Cats of Wall Street.

Specifically, this means: Any bank too big to fail is too big to exist, and commercial banks and investment banks must be separated. Anything less is merely clipping claws.

— Lucille Koch

Colorado Springs


Hold the applause

Ralph Routon wrote ("Merrifield battles to the end," Between the Lines, May 13) that bitter state Rep. Mike Merrifield's unsuccessful effort to kill and defeat the teacher-evaluation bill (SB 191) "was an admirable fight." What Merrifield calls "the teacher punishment bill," bipartisan Colorado legislators consider to be a much-needed overhaul of teacher-tenure rules. Under the bill teachers will be evaluated every year and their students' academic progress will count for half of the rating. Positive evaluations are required to earn and keep tenure.

I see nothing admirable about Merrifield's so-called battle. This article can't be for real. Did Rich Tosches sneak this article in under Ralph Routon's Between the Lines?

— Dick Standaert

Colorado Springs

Quick learners

I was sitting in a theater waiting for the movie to start, and this teenager next to me was chuckling and smiling and humming a snappy tune. Wanting to be sociable, I said, "You seem pretty happy."

"Yeah, man, you know it. Every student in town is celebrating." He laughed and squirmed joyously.

"So ... what about?" I asked.

"It's this new law that just got passed. The governor signed it! Don't matter now what we do in school; we can screw up royally. So what?! This new law says our teachers get blamed for our failures. See? Don't matter if we earn grades or not, the teachers take the hit! It's easy going from here on out, and every kid knows it."

"Aren't you worried that if your grades are super-low, you won't get into college or get a good job?"

"Naw, the teachers will give us good grades no matter what we do, since they get canned if enough of us get bad scores. No worries!"

Suddenly he looked thoughtful. "I do worry about one thing, though. There's this principal of ours who seems pretty horny most of the time, and he has his eye on a couple of really cute teachers. Looks like he wants to make some moves on them. If he gives them a low rating, they can get fired on his say-so and they can't even appeal it! I feel for them."

I nodded. "So you wouldn't want to be a teacher."

"Hell, no, man! Why go four years to college and maybe a couple of years of graduate school, and then get low pay and get blamed for somebody else's failures? Screw that."

"So what do you think you'll do after high school?"

"Don't know for sure. But I've been thinking about running for City Council."

— Larimore Nicholl

Colorado Springs

Condoning the war

Only one Colorado congressman, Rep. Jared Polis, has signed the "Get Out of Afghanistan" House bill. Frankly, I was not in attendance at the Democratic state assembly last weekend as a delegate for Sen. Michael Bennet, due to Bennet's unwillingness to take a strong and outspoken stand opposing the wars.

The other Democratic candidate for Senate, Andrew Romanoff, is being spun as a "real progressive." Not. He praised our entry into the war in Iraq, and praised George W. Bush for the same. Some progressive.

It's way overdue for all of us peace and justice advocates (aka anarchists) to assist the sheeple in taking off the blinders. We've got to get the word out, as difficult as that may be. We have to be our own media now. The only possible way(s) that I have found: blogging every day, attending as many meaningful and not-under-government-control protests as possible, wearing and displaying my Grandmothers for Peace and other peace buttons and bumper/window stickers, anywhere and everywhere.

The more silent and passive we become, and the more we are entrenched in and controlled by the military/industrial/terrorism/corporate complex that's taken over government, with its greedy and power-addicted rulers and their operatives (NSA, FBI, CIA, etc.), the more we will pass on this mess to generations to come.

— Rita Walpole Ague

Colorado Springs

Bring the copters

Reference the news brief by Pam Zubeck ("Choppers: just say no," Noted, May 20): Mr. Bill Sulzman clearly has the right to his opinions, but he and Zubeck should at least understand some of the facts, and I believe, the support and impact our military has in our region.

No one can argue that the military has a positive economic impact on our region — to the tune of $5.281 billion. Including the military, government civilians and contractors, they employ a total of 59,581 people on the installations. Fort Carson alone accounts for about $2.1 billion in economic impact.

Approximately 70 percent of our military live off base, in our communities — they pay property taxes, sales and use taxes. Some also pay state income taxes if Colorado is their home of record. Those in the military, and their families, contribute to the diversity and vibrancy of our community.

They are full partners in all our community represents, and we welcome them. If you talk with the law enforcement in our city and county, they will tell you that our military is not overloading them.

Mr. Sulzman apparently doesn't understand the facts. There are many reasons a Combat Aviation Brigade would be an invaluable asset to the 4th Infantry Division and Fort Carson. It is not about welcoming additional soldiers and their families, it is all about the ability of the 4th Infantry Division and other units to operationally and realistically train the way they will fight to ensure mission success. The Army has not yet made a decision on stationing a CAB at Fort Carson, and there are environmental impact studies that will need to be done.

There is nothing to "blow the whistle on." Many in the community and our leadership support adding a CAB at Fort Carson.

— Brian A. Binn

President, Military Affairs

Colorado Springs

Chamber of Commerce

Worse Down Under

Ranger Rich ("Living with slow progress," May 20) is complaining about the disruption caused by construction of an intersection upgrade. What's the problem? He should come over to Brisbane, Australia, and see what real traffic disruption is all about.

The traffic congestion on the route to Brisbane's airport is being solved by a massive tunnel underneath several housing estates and small businesses. The congestion and disruption to homes and businesses is world-class. It isn't even sure that this tunnel will solve the problem.

— Don Smith

Brisbane, Australia

The mayor's mess

Almost never do I agree with Ranger Rich Tosches; however, miracles do occur. His (May 20 column) on the Woodmen Road bypass/overpass/underpass is right on target.

We have lived here since the days Woodmen Road had gates coming down, when coal trains were rumbling into Colorado Springs to support our high-priced Utilities. The need for this monstrosity of a make-work project is completely unnecessary. Not only has it ruined several businesses, the operation is going to produce cost overruns of a magnitude the city hasn't seen since the first estimates of the Southern Delivery System (SDS). Then to partner with the state and federal government; dumb decision!

We don't even try to go to our favorite wild bird feeding store. Getting to Home Depot is a nightmare, making Lowe's on North Nevada Avenue an easier trip for the same flowers and manure. Going to the grocery store is not even a consideration.

The Woodmen-Academy interchange is another one of the mayor's boondoggles; him wanting to be known as the biggest finagler in town. Maybe they will name a side street after him so he can be known as more of an egomaniac than Barack Obama. At least Moe, Larry and Curly tried to be comedians. The mayor and Obama are just clown wannabes.

— Duane C. Slocum

Colorado Springs

'A flagrant disgrace'

Medicare was legislated by President Lyndon Johnson in 1965 and taken out of our paychecks. And you have to be 65 years of age to receive it. As far as fair share, Americans already pay 43 cents-plus in taxes on every dollar we make. We all chip in, and I don't mind it.

Are you paying more now than one, five, 10 years ago for your food, utilities, rent/mortgage, gasoline and every necessity involved in living? It's called inflation, that nasty sneaky tax when government prints money or borrows to support its entitlement legislation. Obamacare's proclivity for spending other people's money will run in the trillions.

Look at Greece! France is a poor example as it, too, is a welfare (nanny) state, along with Italy, Spain, Portugal, Ireland and Britain. It is in trouble because the vast majority of people can't get in through their craniums that governments are supported by the private sector. Where do you think money comes from? Santa Claus? The median income is a little under $50,000 a year. We all have to tighten our belts and sacrifice!

Obama's policies have an odor. Since he adamantly refuses to show his birth certificate, what does that tell you about the man? He behaves childishly and like a celebrity because he is half-Negro. In Martin Luther King Jr.'s memorable words: It is not the color of your skin that counts, but the contents of your character.

The U.S. Constitution is the law of the land. If you want to change it, we have an amendment process. To place our country in such serious debt is a flagrant disgrace and no different than an alcoholic addiction. Next.

— Joan Christensen


Terror lives here

I recently looked up the definition of terrorism in The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, and here is terrorism definition No. 3: "a system of government that uses terror to rule." I also looked up terrorize, for which the definitions are "to fill or overpower with terror; terrify ... to coerce by intimidation or fear."

Some may say I am reaching on this, but I feel this is what the Colorado Springs city government is doing. It starts slowly and quietly, like removing people living in tents (their homes), closing restrooms in parks and taking away trash cans. Reducing public transit services, making it difficult for people to get around town. Trying to rid the city of unionized employees, and replacing these employees with lower-waged workers. Getting rid of the outspoken and the strong-willed.

If this doesn't scare you, you don't know about pre-World War II Berlin, Germany.

I would like to leave you with a little U.S. history. First, during our revolution a flag was flown with a coiled rattlesnake and the words "DON'T TREAD ON ME" under the rattlesnake. Second, in the words of John Paul Jones, "I have just begun to fight."

— Jim Gosse

Colorado Springs

Different Democrats

The operatives for the socialists in Washington can demonize and marginalize mainstream Americans, but they will never silence or get rid of us.

Have we reached the point where civil discourse is not possible? We are choosing sides because we are no longer able to compromise or pursue common goals. It is simmering and will boil over.

The Democratic Party is no longer the party of Jefferson. It is the party of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin, Mao Zedong and Ho Chi Minh. That is sad because Jefferson, the first Democrat (Anti-Federalist Party) president, is my historical hero, the writer of the Declaration of Independence and very influential in our Constitution. He is embraced and honored by Democrats every year, yet Jefferson's philosophy of the relationship of government to We the People is totally at odds with the party today.

Two times in our history, we were unable to settle our differences, so out came the gunpowder and firearms. That was the Revolutionary War and the Civil War. Is that what will happen, that "might will make right"? Will it boil down to Mao's famous quote: "Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun"? Are we heading for the killing fields of family against family, neighbor against neighbor, the mightiest force wins? It appears to be heading that way.

Many citizens are siding with a tyrannical government, and other citizens are siding with the Constitutional principles of individual liberty, limited government and free-market economics.

It is sad the party of patriots is now the party of socialists. It is not too late for rank-and-file Democrats to take their party back and purge the Marxists/socialists out.

The change Obama promised and is delivering with his allies in Congress is not good for We the People.

— Julian Van Dyke


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