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Double standard

"Airing dirty laundry" (cover story, Dec. 8) was misleading. It is interesting that Amanda Marcotte feels Bill Clinton's (and other prominent Democrats') behavior falls into innocuous territory. Perhaps Ms. Marcotte has never heard of Juanita Broaddrick or Paula Jones.

— Scott Haffley

Colorado Springs

Poorly portrayed

The Independent's Dec. 8 cover is outrageous in its patriarchal and sexist depiction!

Ms. Amanda Marcotte's article is to be commended, for addressing and exposing a core issue of our social and political landscape. And persons addressed are, ironically, all men: Why not their underwear on the cover?!

— Peter Hazen Le Var


Need to focus

I often refer to Colorado Springs as "an overgrown cow town." Our thinking is so unfocused. I believe that may be why I am so incensed about the brand, "Live it up!"

If we chose to be a tourist destination, we could focus on that. Not with a paragraph or two in the state guide, a few ideas on a website, but really put out what a perfect central hub we are to many interesting things that can be taken in not only here in town but on various day trips depending on a person's interest. We have wonderful things at various times of year that could be highlighted.

Or focus on the sportsman's interest, which could include all sports and the U.S. Olympic Committee, Special Olympics, biking, fishing, or whatever.

Or appeal to the artist.

No place can be everything to everybody, but we could be so very much if we would just focus and not give away the farm in the process. By that I mean the mass exit of so many businesses, a lot of which were on Garden of the Gods Road, back in the early 1990s. I recall overhearing business people comment about various religious organizations being given privilege and tax breaks, and businesses having to make up the difference. They didn't like it and they left.

It is common knowledge that veterans are attracted to retire here, but vets' skills don't transfer, many have PTSD, and employers no longer are compensated for educating and training new hires. We could focus our efforts to say to veterans, come to Colorado Springs to rebuild your life, to heal, to grow.

— Jean Marsh

Colorado Springs

Night to remember

Last week, downtown businesses stayed open late for the "Tejon Street Holiday Stroll." For one night, I was reminded of the beauty of walkable streets, fine arts and food, neighbors, and Christmastime.

As we parked and walked to Tejon and saw nothing unusual except lights in the trees, I made a cynical remark. It was a classic Colorado Springs event: The only way to know it was going on was to already know it was going on.

Then we noticed the first participating store, and I was utterly silenced henceforth. Vintages Wine and Spirits had a wine-tasting; we tried Chardonnay, Merlot and a deliciously smooth French blend, as soft Christmas music played in the background (the good stuff, not Brenda Lee).

Next we found a store we didn't know existed: Splash, where you could learn from an artist how he'd done a painting — and then paint yourself. (They gave you wine as well.) Again, we lingered. It was a kind of Third Place that was new to me.

We encountered a small gallery, which fed us delicious, cranberry-baked Brie and hot mulled wine while we chatted it up with artists. Then we passed the Pikes Peak Ringers, a handbell ensemble playing Christmas carols. We went on and on, entering savory spice shops and interior furnishings stores filled with red and green; trying more drinks, delicacies and dark chocolate fondue-covered strawberries.

I felt almost dazzled by the cozy warm atmosphere, even in the cold winter air. I had encountered one of the charming, small-town-style December moments that are so rare these days. Many were dressed in their holiday best, and I was walking downtown with the prettiest woman alive on my arm.

Thanks to the people downtown for Christmas beauty. And mulled wine.

— Brian Brown

Colorado Springs

Stop demonizing

Don McCullen ("No compassion," Letters, Dec. 8) is welcome to believe differently about abortion from us pro-choicers, but his assertion that we will eventually turn to "exterminating" the "weak" completely misunderstands and misrepresents how we see the issue, and demonizes us in the process.

We are not Hitlers. We are people who disagree that life begins at conception. But we are also "pro-lives" — we seek the flourishing of all people, strong or weak, female or male, of all political perspectives, sexual identities, and so on. Our focus is on the well-being of those who already walk in the world, who have already built up networks of relationships in which we are enmeshed.

And so in cases where a woman risks her life or health to carry a pregnancy to term, or where she has too many children to take care of and too little money, or where other such circumstances arise, we believe that her well-being, her flourishing, her health, cannot be put second to the fetus.

We do not demonize those who believe in the right to life, though we work against them politically. We would appreciate not being demonized in turn.

— Amanda Udis-Kessler

Colorado Springs

Remedies and recovery

Move-On councils of Denver, Westminster, Boulder, Littleton/Centennial, Colorado Springs and Pueblo endorsed the following message delivered to Colorado legislators Dec. 1:

Addressing the jobs crisis will resolve the deficit crisis. Job creation will increase spending money, stimulate employer hiring, and reduce the long-term debt-to-GDP ratio.

The false "deficit crisis" narrative calls for disproportionate budget cuts on the backs of working people. Instead, Congress should reverse the 40-year trend of large tax breaks for the wealthy that precipitated the huge deficit, the widening disparity of wealth and the large wealth shift upward. Economist Dean Baker cites a three-decade effort to suppress wages while redistributing wealth upward and generating huge deficits as an excuse to wipe out public spending.

One in five mortgages is under water, 26 million are in need of full-time work, and we are losing a generation unable to find work. Many economists warn that deficit reduction should wait until unemployment falls to 4 or 5 percent to avoid further economic depression. The Progressive Caucus has provided two plans for rescuing the economy: The "Rebuild the American Dream" jobs proposal and the People's Budget provide a road map to recovery, both ignored by a Congress serving Wall Street instead of Main Street.

Some remedies: Raise the cap on earnings subject to Social Security tax from the current $106,800; reverse $4 trillion in tax breaks to the wealthy over the past decade; tax Wall Street speculative transactions; end corporate welfare to agribusiness, oil, pharma and health insurance; end weapons systems that don't work, and stop wars we shouldn't be fighting; enact improved Medicare-for-All. Save $400 billion annually.

— Michele Swenson


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More to the story

Dear Independent: It is very hard for me to love you, like you, or even tolerate you this week. I have been an avid fan and reader of the Independent since it started years ago.

I am somewhat apprehensive to write this letter, as I do not want to cause a very wonderful family more pain. However, after reading the blurb ("Mann principal dies in fall," Noted, Dec. 1) announcing the death of a beloved principal by "journalist" Pam Zubeck, I can only react with sheer disgust with your peddling of yellow journalism.

I don't care how many awards or kudos this person had received, she has shown she is nothing more than a gossip columnist, as displayed in her articles regarding Mann Middle School. She has managed to belittle the seriousness of the subject as well as insult anyone who has ever known and loved Scott Stanec. She obviously does not know Scott, and has not taken time to research the situation. To report a slanted, unresearched view under the guise of a death announcement was unbelievably disrespectful.

Please let Pam Zubeck know her poor journalism skills and her bad judgment have hurt many people in this community. And please do not continue to pass off poorly researched opinion pieces as journalism. The public is just not that stupid.

— Gretchen Whitworth

Colorado Springs


Start the engine

The word "fault" is likely to loom large in our lives moving forward. By definition in geological terms, "fault is a fracture in the earth's crust accompanied by a displacement of one side of the fracture with respect to the other and in a direction parallel to the fracture."

Californians often mask their hidden fears of the San Andreas Fault erupting into an earthquake. In Wyoming and Colorado, some very knowledgeable people think the Niobrara Fault holds genuine potential for oil and gas. To determine if that is true requires exploratory drilling and fracking. The possible payoff, should production be feasible: job creation in construction, engineering, several craft skills, an improved economy, and substantial tax revenue to governments.

Fault-finders and naysayers are to be expected at the incubation, development process, and maturation of such a project. Most of us would have neither the heart nor money to pursue this search and its many elements of risk. NIMBYs will be out in force; some with legitimate concerns, others treading on property rights of neighbors.

Should there be controls? Absolutely. The Environmental Protection Agency, state of Colorado and local governments should cooperate in a unified approach to regulation and oversight. It might not be a bad idea to have our city identify a few citizens with oil and gas experience.

They could visit Williston, N.D., to observe and report back to our mayor and Council about drilling activity in that area.

In 1988, at the virtual demand of developer Frank Aries, City Council annexed the Banning Lewis Ranch. The vote was 7-2. Mayor Bob Isaac and Frank Parisi voted no. One is tempted to think "what might have been." In any case, let's not run off an economic engine before it has a fair chance to develop a head of steam.

— John A. Daly

Colorado Springs

'A bald appeal'

Janet Brazill's letter ("Permanent issue," Dec. 1) regarding personhood is an interesting collection of fallacious arguments, at least one per paragraph.

The first is her flippant assertion that defining a zygote as a person constitutes idolatry. I will go on record defining Janet Brazill as a person. Does it follow that I commit idolatry in doing so? Is she thereby elevated to a sacred level beyond anything on the planet?

She goes on to state a tired false dichotomy between needs of women and lives of the unborn and between the lives of the born versus the unborn. Not a single argument is given to show that the needs of both groups cannot be met unless abortions occur. It is a bald appeal to emotion with no actual content.

Defining a zygote as a person is not simply a religious concept. It can be argued for by purely philosophical means, and there is literature doing it. (Defending Life by Francis Beckwith is one example.) Natural law ethics, a philosophical enterprise with roots in Plato and Aristotle, does overlap with Catholic moral theology, as the latter often draws on the former. Catholic moral theology also contains prohibitions against lying and stealing.

But why bother dealing with the philosophical issues when shouting "religious" is a much easier way to shut down debate?

If my tone sounds too angry, it may help to picture me smiling with a "God bless you" on my lips that will grate on your nerves for the rest of the day.

— Neil Nelson

Colorado Springs

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