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No need to sugarcoat

I am disheartened by the misleading front page of the article about abortion in Mississippi ("Welcome to Mississippi," Jan. 27). I read and thoroughly enjoyed Sharon Lerner's approach to a complicated issue. I was even slightly scared, considering the political state of our nation and the path it looks like we may be heading down in terms of a woman's right to choose.

But, I found it very poor journalism to misrepresent the article on the front page. Nowhere, among the covers' statistics, "The poorest state in the country, Highest infant morality rate," etc., is there ever a mention of abortion or Roe v. Wade. Interesting, since that was the basis for the whole story.

I'm not sure if this was just a way to get the strong pro-life community of Colorado Springs to pick up the Indy, but does that sort of trickery really need to be resorted to? Have a little faith in what you include in your paper. It was a very good article and did not need to be sugarcoated to be appreciated.

-- Amber Bailey

Colorado Springs

The great U2 scam

After my 16-year-old son pointed out, for the 20th time, how cool it would be to go to the U2 concert in April, I finally had to agree with him. A great band, great music and who knows when we'd get another chance? He was elated. We agreed to get online to try for the cheapest, $50, general admission tickets by 10 a.m. on Saturday. This was the earliest that tickets would be sold by Ticketmaster or anyone else, according to all the publicity. We'd get three tickets so I could take both boys and it would be a great old time.

By 9:45 we were signed in and ready to go with credit card in hand. We excitedly punched in our order as soon as they opened and we were promptly (within minutes) told that no tickets were available at $50, $95 or $165. No way, no how, unavailable. What a disappointment. We did everything right and by the book.

By 10:10 a.m. those $50 tickets were on eBay and several scalper sites for $200-$300, and the $165 tickets were being hawked for upwards of $1,000 each. Congratulations to Ticketmaster and U2. This is truly capitalism at its finest.

It turns out that the band bilked countless fans out of $40 for premium "fan club memberships" that promised pre-sale rights to tickets. In other words, $40 for the rights to buy tickets before the advertised sale dates. Many of those people also got shut out and now have useless passwords and PIN numbers. Scalpers have the tickets. Why not treat everyone the same? What a novel idea. Sorry, but I'm pretty mad about this.

-- Mike Heck

Colorado Springs

Amusement needed

Greg Hartman concludes his cranky, snobby letter ("Inside the newsroom," Feb. 3), with an impertinent question to the Independent -- "Wondering if your collective insight and self-awareness will ever rise to the level of a garden slug." Rather than snipe back at his lowbrow attempt at wit, let me just say, Hartman proves my contention that the dumbing down of America continues from its inception on Nov. 2, 2004.

Hartman was upset with Rick Tosches' funny, dissecting article about the SpongeBob Focus on the Family caper ("Focus on SpongeBob," Jan. 27) and even went so far as to call Tosches a "two-bit hack." I would suggest that Hartman could be the only one in our community who believes that, but then again, I think of the political persuasion of our town. I would also suggest that name-calling is his strongest suit. Think upon it; two-bit hack, looney left, unwashed morons, rutting tomcat, garden slug ... I don't know if Greg has some inner rage going or if he's simply incapable of rousing pugilistic verbiage, sans defamation.

Whatever his problem is, logic isn't part of it. He indicates the Independent blew it for not just poking fun at James Dobson, but complains when it did just that by assigning Tosches to poke fun at Dobson. Perhaps Tosches' inimitable way of amusing readers doesn't tickle Hartman's craw -- too bad because his letter could have used more amusement and less discontentment.

-- Phil Kenny

Colorado Springs

Pooch patrol

Whittling? Hardly.

Mr. Hazlehurst, were there drugs found that day at the traffic stop you mentioned in last Thursday's article "Whittling away the Constitution" (Outsider, Feb. 3)? I would have to say that police-caliber drug dogs are relatively infallible -- yes, everything is prone to mistakes, but you're still able to write, correct? The Fourth Amendment is a great protection set forth by the likes of James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and Franklin Roosevelt, but then again they were paranoid elderly men, weren't they? Imagine -- if the person you referred to in your article was selling his "dope" to your children, nephews, grandkids or friends' children. The epidemic of drug wars on our American streets needs to be stopped, and if during a traffic stop a drug sniffing canine expressed to his "partner" there were drugs present, then by all means, search the damn car. That's what the pooches are there for, anyway.

-- Traci McDaniel

Colorado Springs

Keep wolves free

There was a time when the gray wolf roamed throughout the Rocky Mountains. We hunted them to the point of near extinction, because cattlemen were losing cattle.

Now we have a program to bring the gray wolves back into the Rockies. The program is a marvelous idea; the politicians need to get over themselves and the boundary debate. The federal government runs two different wolf protection programs in Colorado -- one north of I-70, the other south of I-70

We've eliminated a lot of animals in the past 100 or so years. What a shame it would be if we lost the gray wolves too. They really do have a purpose in the wild. You can't cage up and successfully breed endangered species.

What are we leaving for the future generations? Cattle farms, zoos, high-rises, ski resorts and life with no actual wildlife that isn't behind bars or glass. Will the children of the future have to read in a book what a wolf is?

-- Corrie Detwiler


Wolves are killers

I'm writing in regards to the article "Waiting for wolves" (News, Feb. 3). This article struck a chord with me because I grew up on a farm in Minnesota and when they declared wolves endangered they endangered more animals in the process.

I do not like wolves, I don't think they're cute, I don't think they're good for anything. They are on the top of the food chain. Nobody preys on them; they are predators. They do not need our protection. They kill calves in the middle of birth; they kill rabbits, cats, deer and many other small and not-so-small animals, and occasionally humans. This should not be a subject under debate. Wolves are killers.

-- Jill Gustafson

Colorado Springs

Lay off Doug Bruce

I was reading your paper today and had an idea for your IQ section.

You could ask people, "Should Doug Bruce be burned at the stake?" After all, you seem to have some sort of bug up your collective butts about the man, so why not. In fact you could rename the paper The Springs De-Brucer or even the Douglas Must Die Weekly.

Every week I get an eyeful from your paper about why Doug Bruce is the most horrible person to ever descend upon El Paso County. If you folks are to be believed, Mr. Bruce is the reason for the potholes, un-timed traffic lights and teen drinking. I imagine in your offices there are pictures of him with horns and beard drawn on, hanging over dartboards.

I know Doug Bruce. He is a decent fellow who is passionate about cutting the burden of government from those who can least afford it. Perhaps an overpaid journalist wouldn't understand this idea but those of us who have spent some time closer to the poverty line than we'd like to admit know that every tax imposed on us to pay for some so-called service that we never use is one less night out for dinner and a movie, one less trip to someplace fun for our kids or even one month of Top Ramen Noodles instead of real food.

So lay off the man. Focus your attention on the real problems facing our city, the problems that Doug Bruce sees clearly: over taxation, idiotic use of tax money and lazy and ineffective bureaucrats.

-- Scott Graves

Colorado Springs

For more on County Commissioner Bruce, see page 12. -- Ed.

Oppression and vengence

Colorado's self-righteous are competing to see who can be the more outraged at the remarks of CU Professor Ward Churchill.

As the mob rears its ugly head, those without sin, such as our Legislature and governor, are lining up to cast the first stone.

Even those enlightened bearers of truth -- our religious folk, having entirely forgotten that they objected not one whit to Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson's macabre reference to homosexuals, liberals and the ACLU causing God to allow 9/11 to happen -- now excoriate Churchill. Local businessman Ed Bircham, an American citizen of British origin, said (and I'm not kidding): "Winston Churchill is spinning in his grave knowing that his name is being degraded by such a person."

And, in their staunch conservatism, our strict constitutional constructionists -- you know, the ones who call for absolute, unfettered gun rights, have little problem applying all sort of after-the-fact conditions, codicils and interpretations to the free speech clause of the First Amendment -- tailor it to fit their anger profile.

The few, like myself, who found Churchill's remarks to be reprehensible yet stood for his right to utter them without retaliation or retribution, are the real standard bearers for democracy. Defending intellect against the brute mentality in Colorado Springs is a thankless and seemingly endless job.

To the secular, an admonishment: This is an act of the "oppressive majority" about whom Jefferson strongly cautioned us.

To the religious, an admonishment: "Vengeance is the Lord's."

-- Richard Baker

Colorado Springs

Academic witch hunt

As students in the CU System and as students in the state of Colorado, we are deeply disturbed that Gov. Bill Owens has taken it upon himself to decide what ideas are acceptable and safe for students to be exposed to in an institution of higher education. We are further saddened by the implication of many Colorado representatives that because we attend an institution that is funded by tax dollars, we do not have equal freedom in the ideas that we study as those students who attend private colleges. State funding for an academic institution should not mean that curriculum may only include "politically correct" statements.

The statements made by Ward Churchill have been distorted, exaggerated and drawn out of context in an effort to justify the censure of any ideology that is not in line with the current political establishment. The statements themselves, however, are not the issue at hand here. As students of a university we are continually exposed to a variety of viewpoints and ideas on a myriad of politically charged topics. That is the point of pursuing a higher education. Furthermore, as students we are able to take the information presented and analyze it and determine, for ourselves, whether or not we agree or disagree with the viewpoint expressed. We do not need, nor will we tolerate, a politically motivated filter for the curriculum presented by faculty. It is alarming to consider that any professor or faculty member would feel uncomfortable expressing their ideas on or off campus; this precedent degrades the very foundation of education and free academic expression, and frankly, smacks of Nazism itself.

We consider this witch hunt to be an affront to the academic integrity of our school. If professors must go to a private college in order to teach freely, where will that leave the students of public universities?

-- Students for Social Justice

CU Colorado Springs

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