The letter from Julian Van Dyke of Rye ("Different Democrats," May 27) is a classic example of the propaganda generated by the likes of Rush Limbaugh and FOX News. The current Democratic administration is far from "socialist." In fact, as a progressive Democrat, I don't understand why Republicans and so-called conservatives are so upset. The "centrist" position taken by the administration and many blue-dog Democrats has been a grave disappointment to those of us who want more change — more of what you consider "socialism."
Things like health care for all, real gun control, equality in education, real environmental protection and maybe even peace. Imagine...
As for taxes, unless you make more than $250,000 annually, you're paying lower taxes now than since the 1950s. And if you do make more than that, it's about time you paid your fair share. Furthermore, it takes more than 18 months to undo eight years of damage.
Stop and pay attention. Read real newspapers. Stop listening to Limbaugh and Glenn Beck. Divorce yourself from the "tea party" ignorance. You might be surprised to discover that the current "centrist" government is more in line with your beliefs than my progressive ones.
I challenge every Independent reader who enters a place of business with a waiting-area television playing FOX News, or a radio blasting Clear Channel nonsense, to approach the receptionist and request that the broadcast be changed to something where patrons will be exposed to real news.
— Deb Stover
Outside the lines
You devoted four pages in your May 27 issue ("B4 itz 2 L8," cover story) to the experts on teen suicide who missed the obvious — namely, that our culture manifests only one life script: heterosexual, "Don't ask, don't tell," crushing out the lives of those who do not fit it. We can broaden our culture and attitudes and save the precious lives of our teens and young adults.
— Ted Nace
I applaud the Independent for its tackling of a subject as scary and complex as teenage, and younger, suicide ("B4 itz 2 L8,"). Although no one can pinpoint the exact reason for suicides, I feel it is important to point out that there has been extensive research done into the increased suicide rates of GLBT teens.
According to multiple published and well-respected articles, the rate among GLBT youth can be up to nine times higher than their heterosexual counterparts. This is likely a low estimate as many, many GLBT youth do not let their sexual orientation be known to peers, friends or family members.
In an area that is known for being conservatively religious, I feel this is an important fact that was excluded from your article. Non-acceptance by family and peers can and has been proven to be a major contributing factor of completed suicides.
I am by no means making an issue of the youth and families profiled by your article, as I have no knowledge of their circumstances. I am writing this in hopes that more people will become aware of the risk to GLBT youth, and am hoping it will be included in the curriculum of the DBSA-CS and any other organization that speaks in schools or churches.
— Amy Thompson
Beware of bears
It was with considerable interest and enjoyment that I read "How to train your bear" by Ranger Rich Tosches (May 27). But a charging bear is a serious situation! Experts offer various advice, such as making yourself look big, or throwing things at the charging bear, but as Rich found out, that does not always work.
The only sure-fire way to stop a charging bear is to take away his credit card. If our politicians had done that a few years ago in Wall Street, we probably would have prevented the resulting bear market.
— Matt Gaunt
The Gulf oil disaster is their fault! It's them! They're responsible! All those people who drive and heat their houses in the winter and buy plastics and do anything else that uses oil! They're the ones who are responsible!
We all know someone like this: They're our husbands and our wives, our children and our friends and neighbors. They look just like us, disguised to fit in and not raise any suspicions. And we're all afraid to confront them. Well, it's time we rose up and took back our lives! The time is now!
Are we ready? Are you with me? Everybody turn to the left and yell at the back of the head of the person next to you.
— Steve Suhre
Separated by birth
I am neither a Democrat nor a Republican, and I have voted for various candidates of both parties over the past 44 years.
I can understand many Americans being disappointed and even mad when considering some policies of the Obama administration. I cannot understand the continued hysterical rants by "birthers" about his supposedly being born outside the United States and its territories ("A flagrant disgrace," Letters, May 27). In my opinion, their motives for this crusade include the invalidation of Obama's presidency and in some cases, outright racism.
Unlike most birthers, who present opinion as fact, I will present some facts: The director of Hawaii's Department of Health, Chiyome Fukino, has issued a statement confirming Hawaii holds Obama's original birth certificate on record. The Republican governor, Linda Lingle, has stated Obama was born in Hawaii.
Per the generally conservative WorldNetDaily: "The governor of Hawaii is now publicly voicing the alleged exact location of Obama's birth, saying 'the president was, in fact, born at Kapi'olani Hospital in Honolulu, Hawaii.'" Lingle was also quoted as stating: "I think it's again a horrible distraction for the country by those people who continue this."
Finally, the Honolulu Advertiser announcement of Barack Obama's Aug. 4, 1961 birth was published Aug. 13, 1961, on page B6. It is available on microfilm in Hawaii libraries. The announcement is fourth from the bottom of the left-hand column.
Other than the elements of this letter that I show as my opinion, the rest contains facts. Conversely, statements by "birthers" are mostly dogma.
I will add my opinion that this letter will do nothing to change the mind of anybody. At best, some will cite it as part of the overall conspiracy to keep a non-American in the presidency.
— Ron Green
Sgt. Major (Ret.), U.S. Army
Naïve or savvy?
Andrew Romanoff, who just won 61 percent of the Colorado Democratic Assembly support for the U.S. Senate, won't take money from corporations or unions. He will only accept donations from voters, the only people he intends to be working for. Is this too idealistic?
Michael Bennet supports the theory of campaign finance reform but believes you have to take a lot of money from corporations, because campaigns are expensive and the Republican opponents will certainly be doing it. So Bennet is amassing millions and outspending everyone.
Romanoff says we can "sell Senate seats to the highest bidder and turn Congress into a wholly owned subsidiary of the industries it's supposed to be regulating, or we can say no." He maintains that voters in Arkansas and Pennsylvania sent a message: "Stiffen your spine or get out of the way."
Coloradoans, this is our opportunity to rise and shine and be the state that leads the way.
— Micheale Duncan
Big Oil's Waterloo
As the horrific BP disaster continues to destroy the Gulf, the oil and gas industry continues to fight efforts to hold Big Oil accountable for its pollution.
Last year, the industry lobbied its way out of the mandatory greenhouse gas reporting rule, which would've tracked its massive global warming emissions. The Environmental Protection Agency is now proposing to include both offshore and onshore drilling, but it needs our help because the oil and gas industry is doing everything in its power to keep the public in the dark about the massive pollution. We all must urge the EPA to ensure that the system uses rigorous, detailed, direct pollution measurements, and that the industry's emissions are included in the reporting system as soon as possible.
For many years, Big Oil has been making a killing (pun intended) while we pay at the pump for the destruction of our land, oceans, wetlands, shorelines, marine life and even our own lives. It's time for clean energy now, not sometime in the future. We have the technology — wind, solar, hydro, etc. It's time these corporations are forced to convert to producing clean sustainable energy and find a way to exist without robbing millions of dollars a day from us. We can no longer afford to lose our ecosystem, robbing the quality of life for future generations and possibly life itself.
To fix the loophole that allows Big Oil to hide its pollution, please write to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, giving her the support to stand up to Big Oil before the public comment period ends June 11: action.sierraclub.org/accountable.
— Sharlene White
Santa Fe, N.M.
The crisis in the Gulf is showing some true colors of the players involved. The "Drill, baby, drill" crowd, the "Any government is too much government" tea partiers and the rest of the clown posse are now screaming for Obama's head because of his inaction?
The Coast Guard have shown their ineptness and obvious insider dealings with Big Oil. I find cause for a merger with our Navy and a serious housecleaning of early retirement and/or resignations. The announcement of BP's fourth-quarter profit of $5 billion just before the blowout calls for direct, immediate reparations. When BP's answer to this disaster is human hair, golf balls, knotted rope and the kitchen sink (you can not make this up, folks), I know the scam is going to be long and deep.
This oil strike looks huge and we, as a nation, must get our fair share. The fishing will be fouled for years, and I call for a 90-mile extension of our fishing limits to make up for the loss of our most productive waters. This will give us Cuba and the best beaches in the world. Let us get tough and make some lemonade out of this oily lemon of a deal.
— Karl Knapstein
What we lose
Our group opposing the new aviation brigade at Fort Carson has the attention of the local military booster club.
Brian Binn ("Bring the copters," Letters, May 27) quotes raw information without putting it into context. He notes that the 70 percent of Army folks who live off post pay property taxes. He doesn't report that the 30 percent who live on post do not. He avoids the sales tax question. The recently concluded study he uses to make his $2.1 billion impact assertion estimates an 11 percent loss of tax revenue to local and state governments because no sales tax is collected at the commissary, PX and other retail establishments on post.
Using that source, Colorado Springs alone loses about $1 million per year from taxes not collected. The Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments study identifies an even larger tax drain: income taxes not collected and vehicle sales tax and registration fees not collected because soldiers can register or pay in another state.
The study goes into detail about the overload of social services due to Fort Carson needs, which spill over into the community. That study encourages those agencies to seek more foundation grants. In other words, pick yourselves up by the bootstraps. If those foundations allot money to fill the Fort Carson-created needs, they can't have enough for other community needs. You can't spend the same money twice.
No one doubts that sectors of the local economy represented by Mr. Binn get a big economic boost from military spending. This gives them enormous power to always lobby for more. It's an easy argument to win in a community dominated by the military-industrial complex. On the national scale, this leads to the bloated Pentagon budget, heading for that $1 trillion mark in a few years.
— Bill Sulzman
I would like to write a few words to the person who abandoned a dog in Black Forest last winter, in mid-December. She was in heat and had a large mammary tumor. What a cowardly, irresponsible and cruel act. How could you?
Many efforts to find you continued for a month. Yes, I am the one who had the heart to pick her up, had her spayed and the tumor removed at much expense, and I am not wealthy. Mill Dog Rescue and Black Forest Vets helped me out in various ways.
I named her Nellie and she joined my other five adopted dogs. I gave her a warm bed, food and love for 4½ months until she succumbed suddenly and painfully to the cancer she apparently had, and had to be put down.
She was used for breeding for years and then dumped. Did you enjoy the money you made? Words cannot express how angry I am at you.
I grieve for poor sweet Nellie — not a mean bone in her body. Please be responsible for your pets, and if anyone would like to help with Nellie's expenses, please go to milldogrescue.org. Thank you.
— Jacqueline Marquis
Our 2010 Summer Guide (May 20) calendar included a July 16 listing for the Pikes Peak Young Composers annual Competition Concert. This concert actually is scheduled for Friday, June 4, at 7:30 p.m.; it is the PPYC Summer Workshop Concert that's scheduled for July 16. Both performances will take place at Colorado College's Packard Hall. We regret the error.