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Critic of the ages

In regard to Noel Black's geriatric slanted review of the UCCS art exhibition "Manifestations of the Sacred," unlike Mr. Black, I am not going to pretend to know a lot about art, but I do know prejudice when I see it, however sugarcoated. I would like to encourage the individual artists (mummies?) vilified in this review to take heart. As Gertrude Stein once noted, the United States is the oldest country in the world.

And by the way, isn't the term "usual suspects" one of Mr. Hazlehurst's catchphrases? Perhaps the well is going dry. How old is Mr. Black, anyway?

-- Larry Kledzik

Manitou Springs

Editor's note: Mr. Black acts 12, is 30 and feels 72. Last year he wrote a super-duper review of Mr. Kledzik's installation at the Fine Arts Center.

Goofy politicians

A friend sent me the article "Ten Republicans We Love," from the Aug. 7-13 issue.

I served in the Colorado Senate from 1993 to 1996. MaryAnne Tebedo was there all four years I was; Charlie Duke one or two [of those] years. Doug Dean was in the House. My home was in Northglenn. I seldom got to the Springs so didn't know any of the other 10.

Congratulations on being able to stay in business for 10 years in that environment.

My wife and I moved to Ohio in October 2000 to be close to our youngest daughter and youngest grandchildren. I really miss Colorado where we had lived for 32 years. It is nice to have friends who send me articles such as yours.

P.S. I was a bit goofy then myself, even at age 66 to 70.

-- Lloyd Casey

Dublin, OH

Informed decisions

I have lived in the Pikes Peak region off and on for over 30 years, and I want to say how wonderful it is to have the Independent as an alternative news source for this area. The coverage that your publication provides gives a very different insight from the other major publications here in Colorado, especially the Gazette.

Don't get me wrong, the Gazette is very informative, but with that publication being very conservative in a very conservative community, its coverage and views are very one-sided. I try to read the news in the Gazette as often as I can, and then every Thursday, I read the news in the Independent, as well as the newspapers from Denver, as well as those around the nation and the world, magazines, local, national, and world news in magazines and TV, and I draw my own conclusions.

The Independent is an invaluable public resource that's here to stay for another 10 years and beyond.

-- Bob Shelby III

Via the Internet

Flying in circles

I had to chuckle at the reprint of Mark Tozer's 1994 letter to the editor, where he says, when comparing his bird to his liberal friends, "It seems that by favoring the left wing, he can only fly in circles, thus becoming dizzy and disoriented." The obvious omission is the implicit conclusion is that by favoring the "right" wing, one can only fly in circles, the only difference being that they're different circles.

That said, I guess his analogy's gone full circle.

-- Alan Sindler

Colorado Springs

Arts and crafts

I couldn't help but notice in the "X" issue that you seemed to forget about the 10 years of arts coverage the Independent has provided. This omission seemed strange. The arts coverage has been excellent. All arts organizations and artists in SOCO (Southern Colorado) have benefited from it-- as your paper has benefited from the support you have gotten from the arts community. As the kids say: What's up with that?

-- Atomic Elroy

Colorado Springs

Dog-eat-dog economy

Genevieve Rojas ("Your Turn," Aug. 14-20) must understand it's not her fault she's unemployed. It's the fault of a profit-oriented capitalist economy that regards unemployment as a "benefit." In 1997 Greenspan once pointed out that every 1.3 million people out of work keeps a theoretical 1 percent off an interest rate spike. It's called the "employment rent" by the Fed.

Large unemployment engenders labor surpluses over which employers [and] corporations have wet dreams. They can now slice benefits -- including health care -- cut salaries, and force overtime on remaining workers without having to pay them time and a half. It's: "Take it or hit the door and don't let it slap you in the butt on the way out!"

That's what we have. And it'll get worse as capital is allowed to accrue gravitas while labor is devalued by Wall Street. (See e.g., the excellent book: The Judas Economy: The Triumph of Capital and the Betrayal of Work, 1997, by William Wolman and Anne Colamosca.)

The worst mistake an unemployed person can make is to take the blame for what a rapacious, dog-eat-dog, capitalist economy is doing. That is the classic "attribution error" in the parlance of psychology. Unemployed blame themselves for what a corrupt, venal, odious system of hidden corporate rewards perpetrates.

The only way to change things is to penalize capital while elevating labor. This begins with some very basic measures, including: repeal of all Bush tax cuts ASAP, eliminate all corporate welfare -- now approaching $175 billion/year -- and tax all capital at least 50 percent of its asset value in any nation it "flees" in less than one year.

-- Phil Stahl

Colorado Springs

Oppressive exercise

As predicted, the federal court, pending a full hearing, has blocked Colorado's new mandatory Pledge law and taken the first step toward restoring sanity to Colorado government. Kudos to the American Civil Liberties Union for bringing this action on behalf of thinking people everywhere.

Gov. Owens said: "The court action is dramatically out of step with desires and practices of most Coloradans who respect the Pledge of Allegiance."

The same could be said about court decisions that dismantled the Jim Crow laws of the South. Those legal decisions sure went against the "desires and practices" of a lot of Southerners who respected segregation. Yet, those desires and practices were wrong, despite majority support.

I disagree with the governor and others who predict this decision will be overturned. Much like Amendment 2, mandatory recitation of the Pledge is so clearly discriminatory that it will not pass Supreme Court muster, even if our already financially beleaguered state stubbornly spends the money to defend it to that level.

This oppressive exercise was carried and passed by those obsessed with advancing the false patriotism of forced religious nationalism.

-- Richard Baker

Colorado Springs

Airtime for loonies

I'm amazed by the press coverage of Don Ortega, the newly infamous "concerned citizen" who drops in on city council meetings with his shotgun. One local television station even priced out his "plan" for gun control in city buildings and showed the expenses on a full-screen graph.

Perhaps people have forgotten the earliest coverage, when our beloved Mr. Ortega was caught off guard by reporters and explained that he was trying to scare unruly downtown drivers, noting that he had nearly been hit several times in crosswalks. He felt the gun made him safer on the streets.

In my experience, most Colorado Springs drivers are conscientious and courteous. There are those few who will talk on a cell phone, change the CD, and fix their hair while taking a turn at 50 mph, but they're not going to see a shotgun in the crosswalk any more than Mr. Ortega himself, and it's not like he could draw, aim, and fire in that split second, or that the vehicle would magically halt once its driver has been shot.

But none of that matters to Mr. Ortega or the media. We have a long-standing history of giving airtime to loonies, and this guy's cheese has slid clean off his cracker.

-- Thomas Wilson

Colorado Springs

California dreamin'

I watch in total amusement the recall going on in California. Actually, I think it is a great thing. We should pick our politicians like we do our juries -- at random. Juries usually do a fairly good job.

Then, after the politicians have inflicted themselves on us for two to four years, they can retire. When they are old enough they can draw social security like the rest of us. No fat pensions, perks, etc. Let them live like real people.

They could become CEOs of major corporations and slink to the top so they would be in a position to rob from the company, and the company's pension fund. That might be appealing to a lot of these unprincipled robber barons. Actually, I'd be cynical, but it's not worth it!!!!

-- Don Fahrenkrug

Colorado Springs

Civility and reason

The Aug. 7 Colorado Springs Planning Commission meeting was a welcome example of civility and reason.

Having attended public meetings held by the architectural design group hired by the Board of County Commissioners, and, over the last two years, many meetings of the BOCC, I was pleased to at last observe members of a governmental agency willing to listen respectfully to the reasonable opinions and thoughts of the citizens they represent.

For those of us who are not lawyers, judges or architects, the cogent arguments presented of the need for a reasonable view ordinance to protect the history and natural beauty of our city were compelling, to say the least. When all the hype about the history of courthouse architecture, transportation of criminals, enhancement of the "downtown fabric" etc., are stripped away, there remains one basic question -- shall history and natural beauty be sacrificed to political power, judicial arrogance, and entrepreneurial greed? By a vote of 5 to 1 the Planning Commission on Aug. 7 chose history and natural beauty.

Now we must hope that the Colorado Springs City Council will accept the recommendation of their Planning Commission, and with the same appreciation for enduring values, and respect for the citizens of this city, pass the proposed ordinance to preserve the history and natural beauty of the Springs.

-- Charles Merritt

Colorado Springs

Whose side are you on?

Recently, the GOP just voted to eliminate estate taxes, or what they call "the death tax." Claiming it would "help families, " they neglect to mention it only affects the wealthiest 2 percent of the population, but will bankrupt the budget, forcing the elimination of most programs that benefit the poor.

They also claim it will prevent farmers from having to sell their farms but don't tell you that farmers already have an $8 million exemption, so family farms won't even be affected. All the while they are "preaching Jesus" and talking about how this is a "Christian nation."

Well, I've read the New Testament enough to know that robbing the poor to pay off the filthy rich is the antithesis of what Jesus taught. Antithesis=Anti. Jesus=Christ. Anti-Christ. Got it? Now, whose side are you on, again?

-- Thomas McCullock

Colorado Springs

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