Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter has taken a step in the right direction for our children. Last week he signed the Comprehensive Sexuality Education bill into law (House Bill 1292). Let me say that again: comprehensive sex education into law.
That means all school districts in Colorado have to teach medically accurate, age-appropriate information. By signing this bill, the governor has recognized the need for young people in Colorado to have this potentially life-saving information. It is a common-sense measure that will include critical information on diseases, prevention and family planning. It offers young people access to information to make responsible choices.
NORAD vs. Titanic
Indy coverage of the NORAD issue ("Bad move?" cover story, May 10; "Mountain of risk," News, May 17) is fine as far as it goes. There is waste, fraud and abuse in the Pentagon's far-flung annual $500 billion budget, and there is a lot of waste in that enterprise locally. There are also turf battles and propaganda differences inside the enormous establishment that presides over that operation. Your reports have brought some of that to light.
For me, it is a bit like getting the deck chairs in the right place on the Titanic. The bigger problem is the doctrine that brings us NORAD, Air Force Space Command and Strategic Command in their current posture.
The U.S. has less than 5 percent of the world's population and spends 50 percent of the total spent on military endeavors in the whole world. That is accepted as a consensus, bipartisan, good idea. With that comes a "space domination" and "world domination" doctrine that calls for preemptive wars, surgical strikes, a secret nuclear war plan and on and on. Until these notions come in for scrutiny, it matters little whether we get the most bang for our buck out of Cheyenne Mountain.
I can't resist asking an obvious question. The pro-Cheyenne Mountain folks say they are afraid that a clever, crazy hijacker might fly an airplane into the new building at Peterson. Wouldn't that mean there had been a total system failure? And if that could happen, couldn't the same airplane fly into any number of other "strategic" targets? Just wondering.
Who's worse: Ward Churchill for suggesting that those who died on 9/11 were "little Eichmanns" who met their fate because they quietly followed orders while their government provoked the attack, or Jerry Falwell for saying, "I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America, I point the finger in their face and say, "you helped this [9/11] happen'"?
Send your answers to University of Colorado President Hank Brown and Liberty University.
Kids and Kurds
We are fifth-grade students from Midland International Elementary School, District 11 in Colorado Springs. We have been studying the effects of immigration. We have been focusing on the people who immigrate and their new country.
We want people to be aware of the problems in Turkey and how the non-Kurdish people are treating the Kurds. We are attempting to raise everyone's awareness to the issues that are taking place. The Kurds in Turkey are being discriminated against in many ways ... with jobs, schools and even not being able to speak their own language freely.
Please contact your state's U.S. senators to help raise our government's awareness of the plight of the Kurds!
Milo Abrams-Hickman, age 10
Kaden Hansen, age 11
Good bill for you
House Bill 1355, which will protect consumers and small business owners from discriminatory health-insurance rate hikes, has been passed by the Colorado Legislature and awaits Gov. Ritter's signature. HB 1355 is supported by a broad coalition including the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative, National Federation of Independent Business, Kaiser Permanente, SEIU, Rocky Mountain Farmers Union and Children's Campaign. Simply put, the more people in the insurance pool, the more affordable insurance will be for workers and employers.
Colorado Consumer Health Initiative
Taking our side
Several curious comments by Duane Slocum in his "Agenda items" letter on May 17 deserve at least a cursory response.
He attacked the Indy's so-called bias and yellow journalism with his own easily recognizable, hardcore, right-wing bias that restricts his rationale, as his letter readily demonstrates. Then he spoke for every person who is not on the radical left (a whole lot of folks) when he stated that only the radical left takes the Indy seriously. I'd call that audacity.
Next, he asked why the Indy continues to "rehash old issues" that "generate conflict" between the city and the "other side," without identifying a single issue or the "other side." It's so smug, so easy, so useless to generalize about the Indy's faults without a scrap of specificity, as he again did when he cited the Indy for "slanting every article" (yes, every article) to "appease some special interest group."
His arrogant suggestion on what issues the Indy should investigate rates a resounding yawn.
Lastly, when he told the Indy to become a newspaper, reporting news, not a "slanted rag," it illuminated a bias that shines like a yellow streak across his darkened sky of prejudice.
I admit my bias, but I try (with some success) not to let it get in the way of factual specifics. At the same time, I can opine with the worst of them. My letters don't always do what I want them to do, but the reader usually has no difficulty in differentiating between my opinion and fact. In Mr. Slocum's 190-word letter, readers could easily detect opinions because there were no facts to find. Perhaps, he meant it to be that way.
Tool for justice
In claiming affirmative action gives preferential treatment to certain groups while others are left out, John S. Rosenberg distorts this program ("Affirmative response," Letters, May 10). The truth is that affirmative action is one of the most effective tools for redressing the injustices caused by our nation's historic discrimination against women and people of color, and for leveling what has long been an uneven playing field.
While citizens would all love to believe that, as a society, we have moved beyond the legacy of segregation, we cannot ignore the evidence of systemic and institutional discrimination and structural inequalities that persists in America today. Despite the enormous gains made by civil rights and women's rights movements, women and people of color still face unfair obstacles in business and education.
Affirmative-action programs, including recruitment, outreach and training initiatives, have played a critical role in providing women and minorities with equal access to educational and professional opportunities they would have been denied, despite strong qualifications.
Affirmative action enables people who might be otherwise shut out to get their foot in the door. It permits factors such as race, gender and national origin to be considered when hiring or admitting qualified applicants, keeping the doors of opportunity open. Race- and gender-conscious affirmative action remains necessary to address obstacles that block the path to success of countless people.
Everyone committed to justice and equality must support, strengthen and expand affirmative action as a way of helping to ensure that all individuals in society have an equal opportunity to succeed.
Dennis B. Apuan
Southern Colorado Organizer
In a photo accompanying "Roll out the barrels" (Summer Guide, May 17), 4-year-old Jaycie West should've been identified as Ardith Bruce's great-granddaughter. The Independent regrets the error.