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Improving the arts

To the Editor:

Kudos to the Independent for providing a double-barreled assault on audio arts mediocrity in the Aug. 30 issue.

By giving Rob Gordon a place for his piece on the Society for the Promotion of Live Music in Small Venues ("Facing the Music: House Concerts Build Community," Your Turn), and having Brian Mandabach grill Mario Valdes on the future of radio ("Easy Listening"), you've given space toward possibly improving the arts outlook in southern Colorado.

On the live music front, an optimist might argue that the arrival of Acoustic Coffee, and the NIPP promotions at Colorado Music Hall, has diversified concerts considerably from a few years ago. But the live house concerts put on by people like Gordon and Walt Bonnet really do expand listener networks in a way no for-profit venue can. They also give borderline obscure artists a chance to be heard in Colorado Springs, which they might not get otherwise. If Colorado Springs can ban Gordon's variety of house concerts, what about the person who has weekly organizational meetings at a private home in order to help the housing crunch or to ban Wal-Mart? Will these types of meetings be the next to be proscribed?

As for radio, Mandabach's article dwelt primarily with the lack of local news and local talk, with good reason, but the same can be said about music programming. The trend is not unique to Colorado Springs, but says a lot about how wretched Colorado radio has become statewide in recent years. Just as KRCC programming has become more canned and more bland, KTCL has fallen completely under the clutches of Clear Channel Communications, and KBCO has fallen victim to its own predetermined playlists. Only KGNU can claim a bit of originality from time to time.

I've stopped contributing to KRCC, both because I find little to fit my notion of community within its playlist, and because I have a problem with the station's affiliation to National Public Radio, since NPR was one of the primary lobbyists fighting the decriminalization of micropower FM radio.

Thanks for reminding us in this issue that better live music and better radio programming is worth fighting for.

-- Loring Wirbel

Helping Dan's cause

To the Editor:

Thank you so very much for the wonderful article about Daniel and his struggle ("Keep Trying," Aug. 23). Your article not only raises awareness about the war in Sudan but it brings attention to the humanitarian issues and, locally, to Dan's effort. I have contacted him and hope to help in any way I can to realize his dreams.

-- Claudine Malcolm
Colorado Springs

Let there be light

To the Editor:

I read the letter from R.G. Stone ("Damned Socialists, er, Democrats," Aug. 30) equating Democrats with socialists with interest, being one who is always interested in a lively debate. When I read that Stone considers Democrats, who (working definitions be damned) are all socialists, to be the irrational ones I read on with interest wondering what information would be presented that I might, with typical socialist zeal, dispute.

Unfortunately, like most of the rabid right-wing "arguments" I've experienced since moving to this town, the talking points are not too well formed and consist mostly of ad hominem straw-man attacks on a sinister group of unmotivated, lazy zealots.

Stone is also conveniently clairvoyant, able to instantly grasp the motivations of those who disagree with pure and noble status quo views on the virtues of the business class over those of the lazy and unworthy worker.

It's difficult to believe that conservatives actually believe that they have logic and rationality on their side when their arguments seem to be composed almost entirely of this kind of demonstrably false nonsense.

Implicit in Stone's argument is the belief that progressives and Democrats are all poor (due to inherent laziness), yet most of my liberal friends, like myself, seem to be rather well off with six-figure salaries and plenty of amenities. I also seem to recall conservatives complaining loudly and often about the prevalence of liberal newscasters, Hollywood moguls, and popular actors and musicians. In general, I don't believe that this is a demographic that is deeply concerned about where their next meal is coming from.

Unlike Stone, I won't impugn the motivations for the letter, which I assume are sincere. I would however suggest that conservatives in general test some of their dearly held preconceptions and see if they actually stand up to higher criticism.

Are all rich people deserving folks who've achieved noble ends and worked hard for what they have? Are all (or even a significant percentage of) poor people lazy underachievers? Can any system of laissez-faire capitalism achieve anything approaching equanimity? Is racism an insignificant relic of the past? Does a level playing field actually exist in America today or are socio-economic factors still the best predictors of success?

Conservatives are not well known for accepting the findings of scientists and academics when they are in any way inconvenienced by them. Perhaps that's why they seem to prefer the kinds of media that reflect their own views back to them loudly and often (such as that other local paper) to the alternative that presents facts and reasoned analysis that might cause one to reconsider.

I congratulate Stone though for at least browsing the Indy, even if it's only for amusement and laughs. In a dark closet, even a little crack lets in a lot of light.

-- Michael J. Harris
Colorado Springs

Genitally challenged

To the Editor:

Why don't you call your paper the Colorado Springs Democrat? It's what your paper is obviously all about -- promoting the party line (with a left-center emphasis) of the Democratic political party. I'm going to stop reading your paper until your editors grow some balls.

--David Anthony
Via the Internet

Get rid of the critters

To the Editor:

What do these birds need rescuing from? (Public Eye, Aug. 23) Have they not survived, and as noted "thrived" right where they are for four years now? With the amount of lightning that Colorado Springs endures each year, doesn't it seem rather odd that this one pole (or the line on it) being hit, as if it were the only one ever hit, should demand such attention? It seems to me that since the utility company already hired a consultant, they were looking to remove the birds long beforehand anyway.

So, this does make me begin to think, which is a dangerous thing.... if this can be done with the Quaker parrots, then why can't it be done with the pronghorn antelope that still try to roam the area? Squirrels? Prairie dogs? Ant hills? All the varieties of little birds through town that like to play dive bomb with traffic at intersections?

Then as town expands, "rescue" the bears, the big cats, if there are any left, or how about raccoons? Skunk families? Are we going to get them too? After all, they might be the cause of the damages to underground facilities, right?!

Could we not have spent the time, money and energy on more important matters that matter? After all, isn't CSU attempting to reduce their budget? Is this effort a way to save CSU money? Or are the birds being charged for the damage they "allegedly" caused? Hhhhmmmm.....

-- Marie James
Colorado Springs

Clinical experience

To the Editor:

The debate over sex education ("Abstain!" Aug. 16) seems analogous to an insoluble super ego -- id conflict. Where is there room for input from the adult ego?

The use of misinformation and shaming techniques in an attempt to persuade youth to abstain from sexual activity is inexcusable, but is it that much worse than a truncated focus on safe sexual functioning to the exclusion of the relational and values aspects of the human beings involved in such activity?

Some may respond that a values discussion opens up a nonscientific can of worms. I would argue that the focus on mere biology has been inadequate because we are valuing people whose highest development is found in relationship (implying the struggle between loyalty to oneself and loyalty, over the long term, to the other).

My clinical experience is that promiscuity and nomadic sexual contacts are more responsible for low self-esteem and difficulties with intimacy than any encouragement to make a public and solemn commitment as part of a relationship defined as sexual.

-- Steven O. Kidd, Ph.D.
Colorado Springs

Owens' bud

To the Editor:

Regarding the marijuana found growing on the grounds of the governor's mansion, reported complete with wonderful photos in The Colorado Springs Independent (Public Eye, Aug. 16):

To anyone who has ever grown more that two pot plants in a closet in their lifetime, the healthy plant photographed in the governor's garden is unquestionably a Cannabis plant: marijuana, pot, hemp or whatever one cares to euphemistically call it these days. So it came as no surprise that the expert botanists at the Denver Botanic Gardens confirmed that it was indeed a cannabis plant.

What was surprising was the immediate and frightened reaction from Gov. Bill Owens' spokespeople and spin doctors. The governor's propaganda machine immediately spun into high gear over this trivial discovery.

How many lies does it take to fool the average citizen?

Had this same plant been in plain view in some private citizen's yard, he or she would certainly have been on the receiving end of a surprise visit by a gang of heavily armed, para-military drug-SWAT types, executing a no-knock warrant, to the peril of any occupant who risks an obscene chance of getting shot or killed in the raid -- correct address or not -- who would then be subjected to vigorous prosecution from the DA's office.

Any questions?

-- Eric Ross

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