I just finished reading Cara DeGette's Public Eye titled "Keeping Score" from the July 17-23 Independent. I just wanted to say how wonderfully written I thought it was. It shows the stupidity of Focus on the Family (and people such as Focus executives Mike Haley and Bill Maier) in a humorous way, while still giving us the factual play-by-play of the closed mindedness of Focus on the Family. I enjoyed it thoroughly, and don't plan on missing future pieces from DeGette, or the Independent. Great job!
-- Blake Suboticki
Pick a date
I enjoyed the article of your cover story "Anxious for the Apocalypse" [July 17-23]. It amazed me that some of the evangelical Christian groups have the end of the world coming again. In the year 2000 the end was here, did we all forget that! Before this, different dates throughout the 1900s were the end of time! It is like these people pick out a date and when nothing happens (they were wrong) run to Kinko's for a new sign with a new date printed on it. Fear is a powerful tool.
When did the war that the United States and England wage become a religious war? We tell other countries that there is no such thing as a religious war. But since we are Christian, we are better than any other faith and a religious war is OK. Nice to have dual standards on your side, isn't it?
I am sad to see part of the Christian community wanting a war based on religion ... wanting the end of all time to come. Maybe some of these groups need to read the Bible again in its true form.
It has to be a sad day when the angels have to look down upon us and see humanity, an angelic creation itself, wanting to kill one another over a difference of opinion, because of a religious belief.
-- Rev. Gary Fearn, D.D.
Truth is dangerous
Thanks for publishing the article "The FB-eye may be watching" by Marc Schultz (July 24-30).
In a more perfect union, everyone who read the article would have gone to the Web site that Marc mentioned, http://charlotte.creativeloafing.com/newsstand/2003-06-04/news_cover.html.
It is news like this that warms the oddly named "cockles" of my heart. It is also one of the sites I try to avoid. Not because it isn't true, but more because "I can't take the truth," to paraphrase a line from a recent movie.
And truth like that is dangerous. No wonder the FBI came a- callin'. Someone out there is getting away with telling the people what is really going on in our government. They must be stopped. Or at least intimidated, bullied or threatened.
In my case, the pent-up fury at our government makes my blood boil and my bile rise. This aggravates my ulcer, I aggravate my spouse and someone ends up punishing the dog for making a mistake on the carpet from all the shouting.
Just remember, on the one hand, I, like many loyal Americans, have been sticking my head in the sand for too long.
On the other hand, isn't that better than sticking it up George W.'s pathetic posterior?
-- W. Dean Morgan
Making gun nuts happy
Let's be thankful we have a city council that sees to it the paranoid mentally ill and fanatic gun nuts feel comfortable and included in our community. Their policy of allowing lethal weapons of all types, unconcealed, concealed and partially hidden, in their own meetings, our public buildings, city parks, etc. ensures these sometimes marginalized groups can feel reassured packing heat everywhere.
Unfortunately some people are bothered by this progressive policy. Of course, whining is being heard from the usual enemies of freedom -- citizens attending City Council meetings regarding zoning changes, teachers wanting to take their students on field trips to city hall, golfers at city courses, parents with their kids at public pools and old people using our parks.
These wimps think that some of our armed citizens may get pissy and actually start firing some of their weapons, maybe blowing away innocent bystanders. This is not New York City. Thank goodness our City Council is brave enough to stand up to these pressure groups even though it might make it difficult for some people to vote for them next election.
-- Mike Maday
Lost and found
My wife and I visited Colorado Springs this past Saturday. Just before taking off on Saturday night, after numerous delays caused by a thunderstorm, my wife hit the restroom and came out with a lovely gold bracelet she had found on the floor. The airport was empty but for the handful of people on our flight. There was no authority around to give the bracelet to so we took it with us and committed to calling the airport police upon our return home. We did so and were told by your airport's finest that there was no point in reporting the found bracelet as several days had passed and no one would claim it by now. Wrong answer. We want to get this lovely piece of jewelry back to its owner. Would you please publish this note and invite its owner to e-mail us with a description? We'll take care of the rest. As for the airport security guy, find a job that does not require you to care about people.
-- Jeff Munks
I had the pleasure of visit in your fair city and Southern Colorado in early June. I recently received a copy of your paper containing the Ludlow story ["Almost like they massacred them again," June 26-July 2]. This was a great piece and I applaud you for it. I visited Walsenburg, Ludlow and Trinidad.
I am a member of the cemetery board for the Union Miners Cemetery in Mt. Olive, Ill. It is the only union-owned cemetery in the United States. It is also the grave site of and monument to "Mother" Jones. It was her request to be buried with "her boys," the slain miners of Mt. Olive [cemetery] at the Virden Coal Mine Riot of 1898.
-- Nelson Grman
Lynch mob mentality
Patrick Henry is attributed with saying, "I disagree with everything the man says, but will defend to the death his right to say it." I strongly admire his stance and his succinct example of free speech. Personally, I am too much of a wimp to be a defender of a member of the Ku Klux Klan -- a position that haunts me little -- my heritage as a bleeding heart social worker -- a mere cork bobbing in a sea of conservatives.
I speak for myself and thousands of Iraq war protesters of the bruising when we are called unpatriotic (or even worse, traitors!) by many from the right. We love this country and the rights with which we are blessed to speak our minds, and actively debate the different sides of complex issues and facets exceeding the boundaries of our labels.
Having recently viewed documentaries of the growth of the Third Reich, it was easy to see the progress of tyranny in which German rights atrophied until a dissenting opinion was met with imprisonment or a firing squad. I have concern that the tragedy of 9/11 has sown the poisonous fruit that Benjamin Franklin pondered with his alarm over the vulnerability of the Bill of Rights "if we can keep them."
My alarm bell goes when Dr. Hanan Ashrawi, a Palestinian spokeswoman, is greeted with a lynch-mob mentality, Arab-Muslims are detained without probable cause and jailed for months without charges, or a commencement speaker is threatened with physical violence for opposing the latest war. We now have a government with its so-called PATRIOT Act and a small-minded president who has sold himself to corporations (as Jim Hightower said, "He'll leave no millionaire behind"). We have much more to lose domestically from our passivity, unquestioning and silence than Saddam Hussein's myth of mass destructions.
-- Jim Sears
Do the math
I think the vast difference in compensation between the victims of 9/11 and those who die serving their country in uniform are profound.
No one is talking about it, as you don't criticize anything to do with 9/11.
I can't let the numbers pass, as they say something disturbing about the entitlement mentality of this country.
If you lost a family member in the 9/11 attacks, you are going to get an average of $1,185,000. There is a guaranteed minimum of $250,000, [and the amount goes] all the way up to $4.7 million.
If you are a surviving member of a soldier killed in action you first receive a death benefit check for $6,000 (half of which is taxable). Next you get $1,750 for burial costs. If you are a surviving spouse, you will get $833 a month until you remarry. Then there's a monthly payment of $211 for each child under 18 years. This stops when the child reaches 18.
Meanwhile -- some people getting that $1 million to $4 million are complaining that it's not enough.
Some of the victims of the Oklahoma bombing are starting an organization to get the same deal the 9/11 families are getting.
Some families of persons in the bombed embassies are now asking for compensation also.
You see where this is going? It's just really sad.
By the way, the highest civilian medal is solid gold but the Medal of Honor is only gold-covered bronze. For shame.
-- Bob Steiner
Workers take a hit
On June 30, Democratic senators and House members urged President Bush to withdraw his proposal that would eliminate overtime pay for millions of workers. Overtime pay cuts being pushed by Bush and congressional Republicans are slated to go into effect for millions of workers as early as September.
Under the guise of helping workers have extra hours with their families, Bush and Republicans are trying to strip away workers' guaranteed rights to cash overtime pay, and [it] is just another example of George Bush working to help Big Business at the expense of working families.
Nearly 80 percent of all workers are in jobs that qualify them for overtime pay, which is time-and-a-half for each hour that is worked beyond the 40-hour week. Under the Bush scheme, millions of salaried workers making between $22,101 and $65,000 who now are eligible to receive overtime pay could be reclassified as executives or administrative employees and would no longer qualify for that type of payment. You would think that an administration that has presided over the loss of millions of jobs might want to strengthen the protections of workers fortunate enough to still be employed. But that's not what the Bush administration is about.
In addition to Bush's attacks, Republican Senator Judd Gregg's Senate Bill 317 would allow employers, under certain circumstances, to pay overtime only after an employee works 80 hours over a two-week work period. Workers who work 50 hours in one week for example, would not receive any overtime pay if they worked no more than 30 hours the following week.
The quickest way to determine whom Bush's proposal really helps is to note who is supporting it. Groups that represent business such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Federation of Independent Business, the National Retail Federation and the National Council of Chain Restaurants applaud the proposed changes while groups that represent workers are opposing them.
Call Bush and tell him to leave your overtime pay alone.
-- Steve Plutt