Grasping for hope

There has been a lot of talk lately about El Paso County's suicide statistics. About how we need to deal with this situation as a community. That was why I was surprised to see the small article about the closing of the St. Francis program, 3 East ("Penrose cutting service," Noted, Nov. 24). Why is such an important facility closing during a time of crisis?

Colorado Springs does not have many choices when it comes to helping those with mental-health issues. In my case, depression is actually a symptom of my chronic pain issue, which I have been dealing with for over 10 years.

Twice, 3 East has helped me at the worst times in my life. I can say from experience that the staff is amazing, the facility a safe environment, and if it did not exist, I would not be here. To hear that it is closing is devastating.

This city has already "clumped together" its "mental health problem people" — we are all sent to the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, regardless. This group cannot cover everyone's needs — bipolar is different from depression, etc. A group for survivors of suicide is needed. I often leave this group feeling frustrated because so many different people have different needs that are not met. There is not enough support as it is, and now an important support center is being taken away without a replacement.

The alternatives are Cedar Springs and the Lighthouse, both underfunded and overburdened, without the level of care that 3 East offers. I was told that if I am in crisis, my "best bet" is to go to Skyview in Pueblo.

I am currently on the 8½-month waiting list for Peak Vista in hope of seeing a pain management doctor and to be prescribed depression medication. In the meantime, I seem to be in limbo with nowhere to turn. When you have depression, no medical help available and your city obviously could not care less about you, how does one keep enough hope to keep from becoming a statistic?

Please withhold my name. I've lost so much already because of my disease and need to stay anonymous here to avoid more pain. Just call me "Someone's Daughter, Someone's Mom."

— Name withheld

Colorado Springs

Short memories

Public perception often trumps reality. By running paid ads lobbying for City Council and public support, Memorial Hospital acted inappropriately. The ads compromise the notion "independent" from the Memorial citizens commission. The fact that Memorial agreed to pay the $333,000 plus fees for the commission and its 173-page recommendation report might now be perceived as a quid pro quo. In appearances before the commission and in the paid ads, Memorial administrators expressed strong preference for a nonprofit option.

Despite all the research, consulting and discussion, there is one glaring omission: the 67-year participatory role of Colorado Springs taxpayers as owners of Memorial. We know that City Council in wartime 1943 purchased a small hospital in dire financial straits for about $75,000. Six years later, taxpayers voted to ratify the purchase and keep the hospital afloat. For the next quarter-century, the hospital survived by dependence on city (i.e., taxpayer) subsidies.

In 1976, City Council ordered executive Bob Peters to make Memorial a self-sustaining operation — free of city subsidies — and provide a full range of services. And it was to do so without turning anyone away. Peters got the message and for 24 years oversaw unprecedented growth and change. On his watch, Memorial became a crown jewel among city enterprises.

Surprisingly, the dollar figures of taxpayer contributions for over 40 years are locked in archives and were not available to the citizens commission. Research would likely prove the total amounts to have been in the millions.

Needless to say, Memorial would like to see its entire system and assets conveyed to a nonprofit for free or a token amount. But that would be unconscionable and unfair to taxpayer owners. As a negotiating figure for assets, let's see the total of city subsidies from 1943 forward to when red ink turned to black.

— John A. Daly

Colorado Springs


Be nicer to Ted

I never thought I would agree with anything that Tom Pedigo says, but I have to admit that I think he was absolutely right when he chastised Rich Tosches for too frequently mocking prominent citizens (in this instance, Ted Haggard) who have had serious, grievous or stupid errors in their behavior and have already paid dearly, many times, for their transgressions.

Also recently, Rich mocked John Newsome, the former district attorney ("All laws are not created equal," Ranger Rich, Dec. 9). When he makes fun of these men or women, he also hurts their families who are totally innocent of the "crimes."

But perhaps I've missed something. Maybe Rich is perfect and has never done anything wrong, thus giving him license to say anything he wishes.

Trying for a laugh at someone else's expense is cruel and not funny. Rich, you can do better than that ... I think.

— Jan Zeis

Colorado Springs

Be nicer to artists

Your Dec. 16 issue included an article about me ("Glass menagerie," Seven Days). While I really do appreciate Claire Swinford's positive critique of my art, I do not appreciate her using it as a slingshot to hurl unnecessary and hurtful offenses at my peers and patrons.

I understand Swinford is trying to express her high opinion of my art, but when she states "that it is putting the art work inside to shame," it does not elevate my art or myself, it only makes me embarrassed to be the subject of an article that includes such a thoughtless remark about somebody's artwork.

Art is a very personal expression of oneself. I look forward to a day when we no longer need to put others down to feel good about ourselves. I hope that my art conveys the joyful spirit in which it is created. It is not about bringing shame.

— David V. Gonzales

Manitou Springs

Bring on the CO2

Re: "This is happening" (cover story, Dec. 23), I did not make it past the Al Gore argument. It was such a half-truth that the rest of the "article" was tainted. The proceeds from his book, movie and prize are not even pennies on the dollar of what he was to make on the carbon exchange board [Chicago Climate Exchange]. He and Goldman Sachs lost big time when the board was shut down this year. We are not talking millions. We are talking about billions for him and trillions confiscated from everyone in the civilized world.

Now, did Al Gore make this global warming up? I sincerely doubt it. My brother-in-law worked with him in the 1990s and talked about how much of an environmentalist he was and how he was looking for something to make our planet greener. Al Gore comes across as not being the sharpest tool in the shed. (We say that a lot about him.)

No, I can see him being used by a select group of powerful men and using his connections to become a billionaire while they became even richer.

Now, does this mean global warming is not happening? No. Is man contributing to a warmer planet? Yes. Is the contribution significant? Depends. Everything that breathes, every fire and just about every natural process produces carbon in one way or another.

I come from an area that is not crammed full of people, factories and machines. In fact, I can go outside and breathe fresh clean air, drive out a little further and see almost nothing manmade. I can see millions of trees that were not here 200 years ago when this area was first being inhabited by the evil white European invaders. You see, they saw very few trees but mile after mile of gently rolling grass-covered hills.

In my short life, I have seen many an area being covered with trees that are scrubbing the air of carbon and emitting oxygen. Somehow, I tend to believe that this planet will grow more trees and plants that benefit from the higher amounts of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

— Scott Billingsley

Boerne, Texas

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Warming thoughts

The Dec. 23 lead article attacked those skeptical that the Earth is warming while presenting another emotional appeal that we need to do something. I tend to believe the Earth is warming, but it would have been better journalism to give skeptics room to present their opposing arguments.

Conservatives may be wrong in denying that the Earth is warming, yet they have a valid point in arguing that it is stupid to waste billions upon billions reducing carbon dioxide emissions when the connection between CO2 and global warming remains inconclusive. Actually, the effort to show that carbon dioxide is the cause of global warming has been a miserable failure; yet very few free-thinking scientists are capable of stating this dissenting conclusion without severely damaging their careers.

The global warming debate began in 1956 when scientists discovered the surface of Venus was much hotter than predicted. Most of these scientists latched on to the idea that carbon dioxide must be responsible for Venus being so warm since its atmosphere is 96.5 percent carbon dioxide. Yet almost immediately these scientists were forced to concede that water vapor, not carbon dioxide, was the far better absorber of radiation. More recently, scientists have universally accepted evidence showing that the early Earth had much more carbon dioxide in its atmosphere and yet it was not any warmer than what it is today.

— David Esker

Colorado Springs

Fuel for the fire

When I opened the Indy with "Climate change is NOT real" on the cover, I first bemoaned that I'd have to prepare an article rebutting the alleged "10 arguments" of deniers against it. Then I found an effective rebuttal of each flat-Earther piece of bull pockey. But let me add just a couple points here for good measure:

1. Re: the alleged "cooling since 1998," this was based on misinterpretation of hindcast/forecast decadal variations in global mean temperature in a paper by Dr. Noel Keenlyside et al, published in Nature. Skeptics didn't bother to check that (in a key graph) each point represented a 10-year centered mean.

That is, each point represented the average temperature of the decade starting five years before that point and ending five years after. Thus, the statistics for potential "cooling" for the last point (at 1998) could not possibly have been justifiably extrapolated beyond 1998 + 5 = 2003.

2. Re: the role of the sun, it was noted in several sessions of a conference (hosted by the Solar Physics Division of the American Astronomical Society) last June that the "human component" is more important than the solar by a factor of nearly 4.2. This was reinforced by professor Thomas Woods of the University of Colorado at Boulder, who emphasized that recent irradiance results support the hypothesis that anthropogenic greenhouse gases are the primary contributor to climate change/global warming.

3. Lastly, as reported in Eos Transactions (Vol. 91, No. 30, July 29), so much long-lasting CO2 has been injected into the atmosphere by humans that "it could effectively lock the Earth and future generations into warming not just for decades or centuries but literally for thousands of years."

— Phil Stahl

Colorado Springs

Right to resist

William H. Escovitz's reply to Grace Yenne's thoughtful call to end Israeli illegality ("Just negotiate," Letters, Dec. 16) requires its own reply. It is not a fact that Israel recognizes Palestinians. Former Prime Minister Golda Meir was quoted as saying, "there is no such thing as a Palestinian people. It is not as if we came and threw them out of their country. They didn't exist."

Israel has no intention of cooperating with a nonexistent people. Even so, the Palestinian Authority recognized the existence of Israel in 1993, as Yassir Arafat's PLO did in 1988. It is only the occupied, then blockaded and re-invaded Gazans, suffering the atrocities of Israel's latest war crimes and murders of humanitarian civilians in international waters attempting to come to the their aid, that do not do so. They are the victims of an aggressor nuclear power, giving them the right to resist, as did the victims of Nazi Germany.

Israel returns land but sometimes only parts of it, obtained by military aggression against Syria, Lebanon and Egypt. Giving Palestine parts of the land Israel invaded in 1967 after a permanent occupation of a half-million Jewish colonists, is far short of the independence Palestinians deserve. Israel's mining minerals and producing products on land ethnically cleansed of two destroyed Palestinian towns in the West Bank deprives an indigenous people of their humanity, dignity and freedom in violation of the rule of law.

These violations are codified in the Geneva, Nuremberg and other international conventions, and since they have been made part of the U.S. domestic law they are violations of our own laws as well.

— Bill and Genie Durland

Colorado Springs

'All the sex you want'

At year's end, looking ahead, we all can use this helpful set of Nicholl's Laws for 2011:

• Never get into a game that's been rigged against you (see: "Wall Street").

• Never argue with yourself, of if you do, don't lose the argument.

• Always spend a little bit less each month than you take in, but don't get caught dead rotting on a huge pile of money.

• Never sleep with anyone who has more problems than you do.

• If you crash on a ski slope and see a compound fracture, do not pray for an instant fix; call for doctors instead.

• Never keep running up and down the stadium field in your uniform after the game has been lost and the overweight lady has sung and the crowd has gone home (see: "Afghanistan").

• Never argue with a 5-year-old or someone who acts like one (see: "Douglas Bruce").

• Always consider money as a means to some higher end-goal, never an end in itself — money is only a tool (see: "Aristotle").

• Get all the sex you want, but never hurt either yourself (see: "AIDS") or others in the process (e.g., never betray your lover).

So, follow these laws and have your best year ever!

— Larimore Nicholl

Colorado Springs

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