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Get over it -- it's the American way

To the Editor:

While I do sympathize with the ladies who were upset about Target not carrying Hanukkah merchandise, they need to be reminded that we live in a capitalist society. If a store doesn't sell enough of a certain product to be profitable, it will discontinue that product. If this is truly the reason that Target is not selling Hanukkah merchandise, the ladies should not take it personally. Just like I should not take it personally if I happen to like pizza-flavored ice cream, but no grocery store sells it, because no one else would buy it. I guess I would have to go somewhere else to find it, or make it myself.

Also, because we live in this society, we can write or call the headquarters of stores to request they begin carrying a certain product. If they get enough requests, I'm sure they would begin selling that product.

Finally, I agree with the rabbi's final comments that there are more important things to get upset over than where I can find a certain type of decoration.

-- Michael Reed
Colorado Springs

Tiny whaaaat?

To the Editor:

I read the articles on India by Straus and Meadows ("A Life Without Rules," Nov. 25) and noticed that they were both staring intently at a tree and missing the forest that is the human race. Both writers assume there is something, some innate goodness or possibility of the ability to evolve, that should (or could) be saved.

Apparently, history isn't their forte. From the days we climbed down out of the trees and got up off our knuckles, mankind has been in a stagnant cycle of overpopulation and war. In the early days, no one was very concerned, because there was always unconquered territory just over the hill, a nice new nursery for the worker and soldier ants. "There will always be despots, but we will carry on." Carry on supporting despots?

That's the forest the writers are missing. How do you save Mr. Plod, whose sole drives are food, sex and fighting. Why do you even want to?

Human behavior is totally alien to the environment of this planet, which makes me wonder if we are indigenous. If we are a seeded, gene manipulation, then we are a failure ... let us go. If we actually did evolve from amino-acid slime, something arrested our evolution and caused some serious brain damage. (Kill your brother, because he knows you have a tiny weenie?) Again, let us go.

There is also this grim picture: Tiny Weenie gets over his fear of space, and we set off for unconquered territory, taking with us all that we are and ever will be, the species that kills itself and everything in its path, quickly and massively. (With majority support, of course. Mabel, is there another cold one in the fridge?)

-- Phyllis Walls
Colorado Springs

Stick to the news

To the Editor:

I have the opportunity to pick up an Independent about once a month. Maybe it's just coincidental timing, but it seems every issue I read has a zinger or two about the Gazette's and Independent's respective circulation numbers.

Cara DeGette took her turn in the Nov. 18 issue (Public Eye, "City Government 101"). She pointed out that one factor in the Gazette's decline may be the aggressive marketing of the Post and Rocky Mountain News in the Springs. Let's not forget that their aggressive marketing is essentially a giveaway of the two papers (a penny a day delivered). As the Independent is likely finding, increasing circulation is easy when the product is given away. Let's also not forget that comparing Independent weekly circulation with that of the daily Gazette is apples-and-oranges. And let's not forget that some of the Gazette's readership now accesses the newspaper on the Web.

My point is that there are many factors for the respective circulation numbers of the papers in question. I have not seen any of them addressed in your articles when trying to compare them. I would like to see the Independent move away from an also-ran attitude and stop sniping at the front-runner, like Gary Bauer nipping at George Bush. Stick to the news and features that have made the Independent what it is today.

-- Joe Oppelt
Colorado Springs

Low-tech priorities

To the Editor:

I am a longtime supporter of public education, but I was not a bit surprised when District 11's bond issue failed. I am not an educator but have friends who are. They have shared some of the problems concerning the last bond issue.

A tremendous amount of money has been wasted on unnecessary technology. Many of the already obsolete laptops provided to each teacher are used to take attendance only. I have heard the gradebook is not user-friendly, is time consuming and is down much of the time anyway. Teachers are willing to use technology as long as it works.

In my opinion, D-11's priorities are all wrong. Class size should be priority No. 1. We are a growing community, and more families are moving here from out of state. This city's economy is diverse enough now that the odds of seeing a population decrease as in 1989 is unlikely. That was due to a deep recession. New teachers should be hired to reduce class size. Kids learn so much better in small classes. I honestly feel that if D-11 were to re-direct its priorities even a conservative city such as this one would support a bond issue. Here's a radical idea: Let the teachers, not the administrators, decide what they need to educate kids more effectively. After all, they are the ones on the front lines and actually work for a living.

-- Michael Clemente
Colorado Springs

Virtual puppy a winner for losers

To the Editor:

Unless you work at an animal shelter, you might be surprised at the reasons people give for "getting rid of" their dogs and cats. The animals, they say, are a bother; they bark all the time, don't bark at all, take too long to house train, have fleas, keep getting pregnant, are too aggressive or too timid. Countless people throw out their "pets" as they would an unwanted piece of furniture when they move, go on vacation, have a baby. Whether well-educated or barely educated, rich or poor, many people acquire a dog or cat without much thought, as if the animal is nothing more than a toy, then find they don't want to spend the time and money, have the patience, or accept the responsibility animals require.

The good news is brought to us by Sony, which has created AIBO, a dog-like artificial-intelligence robot. AIBO wags its tail, comes obediently to heel when summonned and has all the lovable characteristics that make us ask, "How much is that doggy?" Best of all, when it gets boring or annoying, no one will have to take it out in the country and pretend it can survive on berries, or dump it at the shelter and break its little metal heart. AIBOs are going for $2,500, a steal compared to the average 14 years of paying for food, veterinary bills, carpet cleaning, re-upholstering, dog-sitters, etc.

All cats and dogs need love, attention, care and respect. They should never be screamed at, have their noses rubbed in mess or otherwise be treated in ways which we wouldn't treat a child. Given that an estimated 14 million animals are discarded every year in this country, because they have failed to conform to our whims and lifestyles, my hat is off to Sony. For anyone who wants the cuteness or cachet of animal ownership but is loathe to dedicate part of their life to an animal's care, I'd say plunk down your credit cards at an AIBO purchase point, not a pet shop.

-- Ingrid E. Newkirk, president
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animials
Norfolk, Va.

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