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Job opening?

I spent 16 months in Vietnam boots on the ground, Purple Heart, Navy Commendation Medal, yadda-yadda-yadda. Since that apparently makes me eminently qualified for a high level, executive position in government, I'd like to apply for secretary of defense in the new McCain administration. Any idea where to send my resume and application?

Glenn Perry
Green Mountain Falls

Follow the sun
Did I hear right? A 1 percent sales tax increase for jails and other law enforcement, and public health? Sounds like more top-down thinking to me.

Colorado Springs is the safest city I have ever lived in. Laws and prisons don't slow crime. Quality employment does. Good schools and after-school activities do. Parks with sports fields, swimming pools, summer concerts and other activities for families slow crime.

Ask any dope fiend if he thinks about "the law" before he gets high or steals to get high. The Department of Corrections (or Department of Punishment) is an unfortunate money pit, a self-fulfilling prophecy. We need positive industries in Colorado Springs. I think renewable energy, focusing on solar Voltaic, wind and energy conservation, is a good start. We should try to jump on board ahead of the tide and position our local economy as a leader into the future of renewable energy. We need some leadership mayor who?

Karl Knapstein
Colorado Springs

Shame on Keating
Bravo on Ralph Routon's latest Indy article ("NORAD: Dja vu all over again," Between the Lines, June 26). The Colorado Springs Independent has been the only consistent voice of reason on this vital national security issue.

However, you have omitted one key piece of information. The architect of this NORAD debacle (moving the operations center into Building 2 at Peterson Air Force Base) was Navy Adm. Tim Keating.

He is not being held accountable for wasting millions of taxpayer dollars and creating an un-secure command center for NORAD/NORTHCOM. Yet he was actually rewarded for his inept decision-making abilities by getting command of a second Combatant Command, the U.S. Pacific Command in Hawaii.

Adm. Keating's story justifying the move changed every time the disinfectant of truth was sprayed on this issue. First it was cost savings; then it was unity of command and so on.

Why blame faceless bureaucracy or politicians for this issue when Adm. Keating put lipstick on this pig and has escaped any scrutiny or accountability? Maybe you could talk the publisher into an arduous fact-finding trip to Honolulu to ask Adm. Keating the hard questions that no one else will.

I doubt he would answer any questions, but it is about time someone held the perfumed princes in the military that have four stars on their shoulder accountable for their poor decisions.

Name withheld
Colorado Springs

Bombed out
Recently, over 100 countries met in Dublin to adopt a new Convention on Cluster Munitions, the type of weapons that disperse smaller munitions over a considerable area. The convention forbids the use of such weapons and requires existing stockpiles to be destroyed within eight years.

These munitions are not suitable for modern insurgent-based conflicts, in which fighters and civilians are in close proximity. Furthermore, after fighting stops, they can remain deadly for a considerable period of time to the local population, because children can mistake them for toys.

The Bush administration does not support the convention, but a joint House-Senate resolution calls upon the administration to do so. Recently the United Nations Association joined more than 30 other organizations in a letter urging members of Congress to support the joint resolution and asking them to cosponsor the Cluster Munitions Civilian Protection Act of 2007. We believe these indiscriminate weapons are of extremely limited usefulness because humanitarian considerations rule out their use in almost all likely combat scenarios.

The use of cluster munitions needlessly hands over to our enemies a propaganda vehicle of unparalleled effectiveness. One photo of a child mutilated by such a weapon can undo the goodwill generated by countless humanitarian gestures. It can spread over TV and the Internet, turning supportive populations against us. Several of our closest allies, such as the United Kingdom, France and Germany, have pledged to sign the convention. For moral and practical considerations, let's urge our legislators to support the joint resolution and assure our country is on the right side of history.

James J. Amato
United Nations Association of the United States of America

Woodland Park

Second-class citizens
The renewed debate on gay marriage brought about by the California Supreme Court ruling in favor of same-sex marriage makes one wonder if what is really needed is a debate on just who qualifies as a second-class citizen, to settle the matter once and for all.

Anyone who thinks that some citizens are not as deserving of full human rights is obligated to present their case, maybe in the form of a constitutional amendment outlining what traits one might have that would render him/her ineligible for full membership in the American nation, and have a vote on each category. Perhaps being female, or a member of a minority race, or of course, anyone who is not heterosexual is obviously not due the protections granted by the Constitution!

Apparently, it's already been decided that females are not quite ready for first-class status, since the Equal Rights Amendment has yet to be ratified. Most people of color would probably say they have not yet gained true equality; the descendents of the first settlers of America still cling to subsistence levels on the barely arable land magnanimously deeded to them by the U.S. government.

George H.W. Bush said atheists should not "be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots," so their standing needs clarifying, too. Discrimination against religious minorities is widely practiced, and rights regularly abused.

That pretty much leaves straight, Caucasian, Protestant males alone deserving of all the rights and freedoms this nation trumpets so loudly to the rest of the world. But wait, aren't they also a minority?

Jerry Newsom
Colorado Springs

Wrong wording?
Has anyone noticed the TV commercial announcing the opening of the new Penrose-St. Francis hospital in northeast Colorado Springs, claiming it will be the only full-service hospital in that area?

I see this as false advertising! A "full-service" Catholic hospital? Unless they have declined to sign the "Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Facilities," they will not provide contraception, sterilizations, abortions, in-vitro fertilization or condom distribution for prevention of AIDS.

Even emergency services, like ectopic pregnancies or contraception to rape victims, can be compromised, with patients forced to go elsewhere for comprehensive treatment. A woman with a life-threatening ectopic pregnancy was sent away from the emergency department at a hospital in the Chicago suburbs after physicians followed a new religion-based policy that required them to test for a fetal heart beat.

"I can't sleep at night, worrying that one of these patients will die on the way to another hospital," a physician said after the incident.

Likewise, women who have been raped may be treated, but they will have to find another source for the "morning-after pill" to prevent pregnancy. Some women opt for tubal ligations after giving birth via Caesarean sections; at Catholic-run facilities, that sterilization must be performed elsewhere at another time, meaning another major abdominal surgery.

While this lack of full services might not worry those too old or the wrong gender, all of us can expect to die. Last September, the Vatican declared vegetative patients have a moral right to feeding tubes, which some observers felt was a shift toward a more restrictive policy on feeding tube use for patients who have no hope of regaining consciousness. So, does this "full-service" hospital intend to honor advance directives that reject feeding tubes? Find out before you go!

Janet Brazill
Colorado Springs

Degrading action
To our Colorado Springs Department of Revenue (ahem, I mean police), please allow Eric Verlo and Peter Sprunger-Froese their freedom of speech ("Dem demonstrators charged," Noted, June 26). By trying to make an example, you are making a fool of your entire force and our Constitution.

Free speech is a First Amendment right not limited to a "free-speech zone." Free speech is a given right of the American people to assemble and allow themselves to be heard in a democracy.

By continuing to harass these citizens, you perpetuate Colorado Springs' reputation as an intolerant, backward town that no one in his right mind would want to visit. Also, by continuing these actions under such a weak pretense, you degrade the entire police force and any semblance of respect they may have garnered from the greater citizenry.

Please cease and desist.

Emily Martin
Colorado Springs

Not G-rated
If Porky's wants families to feel welcome, things need to change. The only reason I tried this restaurant was because of the statement in "Hog heaven," Appetite, April 24: "A parent of young kids, [owner Phil Duhon] hopes families will feel welcome, and offers Hula Hoops and sand buckets in the pits."

We, a family of four plus Grandma and two grandkids, arrive about 5 p.m. on a Friday. We think it would be nice to have a few beers, relax and have conversation at this place that will keep the kids busy. There is not a single kids' food item on the menu. No apple juice. I ask for chocolate milk and get a giant, adult-size glass. I have two kids. "Oh, did you want two glasses, or will they share?"

Do kids actually ever eat here? We ask for the Hula Hoops and sand buckets. We are brought two water guns and an octopus. Our waitress says, "Someone else must have beat you to the toys." We notice we are the only family with kids.

We get the wrong orders, but hey, that happens in every restaurant. At 6:15 p.m, the waitress informs us there is a "no minors after 6 p.m." policy and our food had just arrived. She's very nice, but warns that others might not be so nice. And we should only come on league nights when there are plenty of families. At 6:20, some guy tells us "no minors after 6 p.m." and we need to finish eating and leave.


I will continue my quest for a restaurant with entertainment for children while parents relax, eat and converse. Unfortunately, Porky's is a bar with volleyball pits for adults. Kids are not wanted. Spend that $100 somewhere that truly knows how to treat families.

Melanie Clark
Colorado Springs

Money pit
We have spent more than a half-trillion dollars on Iraq and Afghanistan. The Pentagon budget has gone up $70 billion. Billions and billions have been spent on the damage done by Katrina, on Homeland Security, farm subsidies and hidden costs to aid veterans' medical problems.

This administration cut taxes for corporate giants and the super-wealthy, taking tens of billions out of the Treasury, leaving us with a $9.4 trillion deficit more than $3 trillion with President Bush in office.

How can a country spend billions and billions more than we take in? Absurd. Our dollar is collapsing on the world market, and it takes $1.56 American to buy one Euro. Our dollar is in the bucket. These are the billions we are spending now, which we will have to borrow from China or somewhere else.

We're running this country on a credit card. Just borrow, borrow! We cannot constantly go into debt. They try to blame the whole thing on earmarks. This extra spending is wrong, but a small portion of our $3 trillion budget. We have to take in more revenue, or the dollar will go further down, and soon the Arab oil cartels will not accept dollars because they are losing huge sums of money as our dollar collapses. They are talking of going to Euros instead of American money.

This is disastrous. We have to pay our debts.

Irwin MacLeod
Colorado Springs

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