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A hopeful sign

Thanks for the good news about Chuck Baker -- he and I go back a few years and it wasn't pleasant. He once invited me to an on-air debate -- I immediately accepted, then he changed his mind -- my chance at glory gone. I hope his departure is a sign of things to come for the Springs -- long, long way to go but it's a good step in the left direction.

-- Phil Kenny

Colorado Springs

He'll be back

I hope you feel better. It seems Chuck Baker-bashing is the fashionable thing to do right now. Because of your political views, you obviously focused in on Chuck's conservative actions, and not the many compassionate things he's done for this community. I would guess he's done much more for this community than you have. I know you'd love to think Chuck is done but no such luck. He'll be back and I can't wait, for you're against everything I stand for!

-- Garry Dooley

Via the Internet

Sounded like static

The only reason I didn't listen to Chuck is because it is hard to receive in Teller County. However, for people like you who never liked him, did you ever hear of frequency dial change or the on-off button?

-- Steve Levine

Florissant

Mere coincidence

Was it mere coincidence that your March 20 Publisher's Note on Doug Bruce appeared right next to an ad offering relief from Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

Mr. Bruce is intelligent and has the patience and perseverance to be a problem solver. Unfortunately, he is quite inept in communicating his message and alienates most folks he comes in contact with.

-- Jeff Wheeler

Colorado Springs

Child abuse

As an instructor at one of our local middle schools in Colorado Springs, I see firsthand what the kids eat every day ["Unhappy Meals," March 20-26].

I think the world of the women that work in the kitchen and I know what they're serving is mandated by the government. However, most kids have a steady diet of french fries and "fake" pizza. I watched for three years a boy, from sixth grade to eighth grade. His lunch consisted of fries and a slice of pizza. By the end of eighth grade, that poor boy grew about 6 inches but gained about 100 pounds. Now that's child abuse.

Writing to your congressman/woman is tedious and ineffective considering what you're up against. Here's what I did and do with my seventh grader who eats lunch at school maybe once a year:

Most schools have a huge container (brown in color) where all the grease from kitchens gets dumped. It is usually located outside because of the rank smell that emits from it. In April or May (or even in summer months when this vat of grease sits in the summer sun), take your child for a walk around this container. One good whiff and they'll ask, "What's that smell?" Your reply will be, "That's what's for lunch every day." What's in those grease vats is what's going on inside our children's precious little bodies.

No matter what your income is, it's every parent's responsibility to be involved with every facet of their child's life, nutrition included. Wake up half an hour early, feed them breakfast and make their lunch. If your child revolts and throws their lunch in the garbage, then make sure that child has no extra money to go to school with. Their peers will soon grow tired of either giving up portions of their lunch or coughing up cash for their friend.

For follow-up, use an informant. That's right! A teacher. Every faculty member in every building knows the difference between food from the cafetorium and food brought from home. Ladies and gentlemen, you're not being a Nazi if you're at all concerned about the health, well-being and education of your children.

-- Al Lawrence

Colorado Springs

A clean artistic slate

While I applaud a quick and enthusiastic comeback, I'm concerned about the signal that the newly arisen Colorado Springs Philharmonic seems to be sending [Art News, March 27-April 2] Are we in store for the same old Top-40 classical warhorses?

Hopefully, this is just part of an initial effort to establish a firm financial base, and that when this has been accomplished, we'll see some innovative but audience-friendly programming (more 20th-century works, perhaps?). You've been given a clean artistic slate, folks. Dare to be different, find your niche, and don't let the safe, middle-of-the-road, must-sell-out-every-seat marketing mentality rule the day.

-- Mark R. Jackson

Colorado Springs

Grammar police

Dear anarchists at the Independent:

In a recent edition, I noticed you are still using the word "xeriscape" in a context where it appears to me it does not need to be capitalized.

To digress on this subject:

1) Apparently, Nancy Leavitt of environmental planning in Denver takes credit for creating the word "xeriscape" and/or "xeriscaping" in 1981. My research on the Internet suggests this is true.

2) My 1978 edition of The American Heritage Dictionary contains the words "xeric," "xerophilous," "xerophyte," and "xerosere," which all relate to ecological plant communities and/or growing conditions. In the same dictionary, there are also numerous medical terms beginning with the prefix "xero-". None of these terms is capitalized.

3) My research of online dictionaries and Web sites shows the word "xeriscape" is not capitalized (unless used in a title).

4) There is no grammatical precedent for capitalizing "xeriscape." It is not a proper noun, and it is not an eponym. (Note: Xerxes, King of Persia, invaded Greece in 480 B.C. and apparently has nothing to do with the Greek word "xeros" meaning dry.)

5) Capitalizing common nouns is typical in the German language but not the English language (unless we are starting a new trend in the state of Colorado).

Do what you want, but I prefer "xeriscaping."

Oh, and please tell Independent Publisher John Weiss, the next time I see him riding on the bus, I'll be sure and vote in favor of his referendum for a .05 percent sales tax to support a free bus system in Colorado Springs. (But don't we all know, Republicans don't ride the bus. Only anarchists ride the bus.)

-- Peter Dunn

Colorado Springs

News flash

It is truly comical reading the ranting of the various letter writers in the Web letters section [Online Letters Extra. www.csindy.com, March 20-26]. All sorts of conspiracy theories, conjecture, wild accusations, factual misstatements -- all offered without a shred of evidence. Here's an example of one: The bin Laden (oil family) is in cahoots with the Bush (oil family). News flash: The bin Laden fortune comes from construction, not oil.

Others talk about thousands or even tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians dead in a blackened city. News flash: Just watch the nonstop footage from Baghdad and notice how many cars are tooling around the streets. Even the alleged bombing of a marketplace now turns out to be from the Iraqi military, either accidental or -- no shock here -- deliberate.

This is a war for oil. News flash: If all we wanted was oil, why spend all the political capital, not to mention time and treasure, to fight for it?

Anti-war protestors are really patriots. News flash: Would that include those who carry banners that read, "We support our soldiers who shoot their officers" or carry Iraqi flags at protests or those who hope we lose?

The anti-war left is utterly hypocritical, since it was silent when Bill Clinton was protecting us from aspirin factories in Sudan and bombing the daylights out of both Baghdad and Belgrade without attempting to get approval from Congress or the farcical United Nations.

I have heard a few good arguments against this war that, while I disagree with them, were at least put forward in good faith and with an attempt to cite facts. Not a single letter the Indy published (or the various Hollywood celebrities) has done this, which simply proves the intellectual bankruptcy of the movement.

-- Tom Neven

Colorado Springs

Living in cellars

The policy of "avoiding civilian casualties" is costing us lives -- and pretending to give up, then open fire, was used by the Japs in World War II and was one reason few prisoners were taken.

Also, in World War II, after the massacre by German troops at Malmedy (around 100 POW's killed) we didn't take any Germans for several weeks. Then higher people said, "Stop -- we need prisoners." Our policy then was any Kraut captured had best have ammunition on him -- if they fired at us till their ammo was gone and then gave up, we killed him.

We should do as Russia did in Berlin -- use tanks and self-propelled heavy artillery -- blast everything as they moved up. The only things to live were those in cellars.

Incidently, Russia, now selling Saddam night vision glasses, sounds more like an enemy than a friend. Just as with France, it's all about money.

A suggestion: Airdrop thousands of leaflets on Baghdad. Tell civilians either to evacuate or stay in cellars or bunkers. Any civilian visible to troops will be killed on sight -- and do it.

-- Bob Steiner

Yoder

Point of no return

As the bombs fall and the body count starts to mount, I am ashamed to be an American. I am ashamed of a president who says he wants and needs international support, but only when it agrees with U.S. policy after all the arm-twisting, bullying and outright bribery has taken place.

I am ashamed of a country where senior citizens cannot afford medical care and prescription drugs, where growing numbers of families have no medical insurance, and where millions sleep outside or in homeless shelters; while we choose instead to spend billions on weapons, making war, and "rebuilding" Third World countries after bombing them to smithereens.

I am ashamed by government leaders who care so little about the suffering of civilian populations in Palestine and Iraq, that they don't seriously work to avoid war and find peaceful solutions to international conflict.

No matter how much President Bush and his warmongering colleagues try to clothe their actions in patriotism, I remain firmly convinced that "might does not make right." Our nation has embarked on a destructive course from which there is no return, and in which there is no longer any pride in being an American.

-- Cyndy Kulp

Colorado Springs

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