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He's here all week
As the presidential campaign heats up, it's not without its humor. Sen. Obama is accused of being too slick and popular, and Sen. McCain is suspected of being dazed and confused.

But we have no fear about McCain answering the White House phone at 4 in the morning. We worry instead he won't be there at 4 in the afternoon; he may be at the "early-bird special" at a local cafeteria with the other early-snoozers.

McCain counter-attacked with an ad accusing Obama of being like ubiquitous, vacuous celebrity Britney Spears. Not a chance. He will never, as Britney did, go out night-clubbing without underpants. Oh well, no big thing.

Humor aside, Republicans will try to forget McCain dumped his first wife after an accident put her in a wheelchair. And McCain was a backer of Charles Keating, a big-time crook in the savings and loan scandal.

If you can forget eight years of Republican rule, taxes favoring the rich, gigantic deficits and national debt, secret prisons, Katrina and Iraq, McCain is your man. You're welcome to him. It won't be a laughing matter.

Larimore Nicholl
Colorado Springs

Worthless attack
I looked at Jerome Corsi's book The Obama Nation, and on the cover it said: "Coauthor of Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry." It seems obvious Corsi has become the attack-book writer for the Grand Oil Party.

What, I should ask those who were swayed by it, did you get for voting against Kerry? Is the Iraq war over? Did you get peace? Did you get prosperity? Did food and gas prices come down?

The price of that book, $28, would buy me food for a week, and then some.

Donald Pelton
Colorado Springs

Slippery situation
The Bush administration is making a last-chance grab for drilling in our protected wildlands and off our coasts. These demands from John McCain should not hide the fact that the beneficiary of increased drilling will be the oil companies, not the general public.

Domestic drilling will do nothing to lower gas prices or create energy independence. The Energy Information Administration says it would take at least 10 years to develop any oil at all. Coastal drilling will not produce oil for 20 years and will have hardly any effect on gas prices. As Barack Obama has stated, oil profits are going to Iraq in the billions while our economy is worsening, a clear indication that our addiction to fossil fuels is destroying our country in more ways than one.

It is crucial that we start shifting our priorities and policies immediately toward creating a clean, alternative-energy economy.

Sharlene White
Santa Fe, N.M.

Different leaders
The Colorado River Compact, signed in 1922, allocates Colorado River water among seven Southwestern states. The agreed-upon distribution has become more of an issue, but this disagreement is not a historical novelty. Even though the compact was signed in 1922, the state of Arizona was the last to approve it, resisting until 1944.

Therefore, I am not surprised a U.S. senator from Arizona has suggested renegotiating the compact, presumably to his home state's benefit. After all, this is what senators are elected for. What makes this suggestion troubling is that it originates from a candidate for the White House. What's good for one state is not necessarily good for the country, and in this case, offers no benefit to Colorado. Why should we, as citizens of Colorado, support him?

Barack Obama has a long record of supporting Western issues. Obama supported, while McCain repeatedly opposed, the Water Resources Development Act to authorize greater spending for Colorado. Obama plans to increase cooperation and collaboration to promote water conservation, help local communities develop water-saving projects and help farmers with water conservation.

McCain is a powerful advocate for Arizona, but we need a national leader. Colorado needs Obama.

Thomas Anthony Jacobs
Colorado Springs

Supporting J&P
I speak on my own behalf, not for any organization. As a longtime Pikes Peak Justice & Peace Commission member and civil-rights attorney, I was privileged to serve as civilian co-counsel for defendant Robin Long in his general court martial on desertion charges. I was impressed with the integrity of his conscientious resistance to the illegal Iraq war. Pete Haney, J&P dynamic peacemaking director, was the first witness on Robin's behalf and did an excellent job.

The Indy did not cover the trial or two demonstrations J&P organized. However, the New York Times, other national media, local TV stations and the Gazette did so. Also not present were the persons a recent Indy article publicized on their opposition to J&P.

In regard to that: According to J&P records, Eric Verlo called a meeting of a group he recently formed, "Active for Peace and Justice." J&P's longtime newspaper is called Active for Justice, creating potential confusion. It was announced via e-mail the meeting would take place at J&P though no one asked to be placed on the calendar, the procedure followed by everyone for years.

Staff asked the group to meet elsewhere. Yet, an e-mail went out at 5:15 p.m. saying the meeting would take place at the J&P at 6. The board chair called police to ask them to make sure no one was inside the building. Subsequently, one group members called for people to stop contributing to J&P because "its members never actually support a (social justice) cause as they claim to."

J&P members have consistently followed rules regarding meetings. It has an exemplary 30-year record as the primary local voice for justice and peace and remains true to its long-standing values.

Bill Durland
Colorado Springs

Panache alert

Kudos to the Independent! The Aug. 21 issue in my estimation was the best this year, covering so many news and special-interest areas with panache and humor. When the Gazette abandoned the Telegraph in favor of a direct line to an angry god; so much was lost that readers enjoyed. Thank you for being there for us to balance the news.

David Barton Johnson

Our city's faces
Wonder why there are no billboards to greet the threatening "Lesser Americans," aka Democrats, saying: "Welcome to Colorado Springs, you Minions of Satan. Now give us your money and get outta here ... and remember, God loves you. Signed, Archie Bunker's redneck, saved children."

Last Saturday, Colorado Springs presented its other face, its smiley face, hosting a diversity fest, welcoming all kinds of people, presumably even folks from as far away as (gasp!) Texas. The city also showed its smiley face for the U.S. Senior Open. Those people were treated like prodigal sons, but they, too, were stripped of cash, coin and credit-card numbers. (Y'all come back now, heah?)

As fabulous as it is to dwell here in Xanadu, where one may be permitted to gaze upon and serve the Righteously Ordained, it is sometimes embarrassing that Colorado Springs is as transparently two-faceted and money-grubbing as a prostitute. Besides the military and Wal-Mart, there are few viable sources of employment. We all can't be health care professionals, pizza delivery persons, county employees or preachers, can we?

Speaking of preachers, isn't it about time that they pay their fair share? One doesn't need to study to become a preacher. In addition to hearing voices, you can send 10 bucks to some flaky church or another, and before you can say, "Get thee behind me, liberal," you're in business. If you get three people to listen to your rant, you can, tax-free, keep any money they throw your way. No wonder there are churches in every strip mall.

Bernadette Young
Colorado Springs

Pride and pimps
The opening ceremony of the Summer Olympics was both impressive and scary. It was a demonstration of the pride and power of uniformity and conformity. By contrast, our worship of freedom has given us the appearance of punks, thugs, hippies, pimps and their b-words. Individuality, as we like to call it, will invariably serve the peer group, and, without wise guidance, always on morally low ground.

Shock is the driving force anything that offends. Clothing, skin and hair are the media and music, of course: besides appearing to have no personal pride, the slave must explode music or language disrespectful to the whole human race. Thus, in the malls and on the sidewalks, the f-word is now king.

The end result: China made us look lost. What culture would want to imitate us? Is our present version of freedom worth sending our kids to die for? Our error is in failing to realize taking care of small things, such as the way we dress, music we play and language we use, is the key to success in greater things. The bad image we now project, in practical terms, becomes who we are even if it can be claimed that our hearts are right.

How can a society project a healthy image without practicing censorship on some level? In short, it can't. Difficult choices must be made, and standards must be set and enforced. Until we're willing to do that, we must grow used to humiliation and loss.

Jim Inman
Colorado Springs

Defending culture
This is an incredulously outraged response to Stephen Malfatti ("Defending intolerance," Letters, Aug. 21). He pointed out the values of NASCAR, while citing the Pikes Peak Center as a venue for "useless activities," saying "people go there to watch other people prance around on stage and make noise."

Excuse me? Make noise? Clearly, Malfatti has never been to a concert. I fail to see what is so exciting about NASCAR: countless laps around the same track. But if folks want to watch that, I have no problem with it.

If Malfatti and others took the time to attend a cultural event, such as a Philharmonic concert or dance show, they might view it differently.

As a professional musician hopeful, heading to college to improve upon and learn more about my art, talent and passion, I know how hard it is to put together a phenomenal product of music. Symphonies written centuries ago are so intricate, so delicate, it takes a seasoned, mature group to bring the intention to life.

Orchestras and dance companies spend thousands of hours meticulously preparing their performances, individually and in full rehearsals. The final product? A beautiful, flawless exhibit of teamwork, passion and dedication to an ancient art.

I'm completely baffled that one can spend hours watching the same thing on TV, but that same individual becomes bored at a concert.

There is no doubt why the arts are no longer appreciated in our country. The majority would rather stay home and watch the boob tube than go out one night and experience the culture that cities have to offer. It's sad, really.

Sophie Verhaeghe
Colorado Springs

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