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Tantalizing questions

Now that hot summer weather is here, it's time to take cold drinks out to the shady spots, sit and gaze at the sky, and think profound thoughts. These will get you started:

• Why do Americans and Springs citizens fervently claim their love of country and city while enthusiastically trying every strategy to torpedo the nation and city by avoiding or cheating on taxes, which are utterly vital to the survival of both country and city?

• Does Douglas Bruce live in a slum?

• Why does America keep spending trillions on nuclear submarines and aircraft carriers, when the current threat is from suicidal fanatics with an ingenious plan, such as 9/11?

• What would Dick Cheney look like in Spandex and toting a waterboard?

• Why do city boosters and politicians think they can bring new businesses to this city as they cut basic services and make the place shabby, lame and substandard in parks, museums, roads, etc.?

• When local news stories show the Rev. Donald Armstrong's photo as he faces multiple felony charges, why is he smiling?

• Now that our politicians are desperate for money to stop vast deterioration of the city they are charged to improve, do they regret running on pledges of "smaller government and tax cuts"?

• If America were bombed and invaded and our president killed, would we then be trapped in a country where citizens are spied on by government, people are thrown into secret prisons, tortured, with no lawyers or trials, even though they are "innocent until proven guilty in a court of law"?

• If a god exists, why won't he come over and wash my windows?

Profound questions, indeed. But these are only a start. You know how your mind wanders philosophically on long summer afternoons ... get started.

— Larimore Nicholl

Colorado Springs

Dangerous defeatism

It's about time someone made the effort to talk honestly and directly to both Israelis and Palestinians about the need to support peacemaking. I very much appreciate President Barack Obama's appeals for nonviolent, parliamentary actions to bring democracy and justice to the region.

However, the defeatist rhetoric of representatives in Congress who are still stuck in the failed policies of fear really disturbs me. This kind of talk only creates more violence and destroys any attempts at peace. To support force over negotiations and condemn other countries rather than appeal for the kind of cooperation that the president articulated is totally archaic and destructive.

Have wars ever worked out well in the Middle East? One definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Kudos to President Obama for trying something new in a bold, articulate and peaceful manner.

— Sharlene White

Santa Fe, N.M.

Violence ensues

As a longtime former Colorado Springs resident who has talked with Bill Carmody about these issues, I would like to respond to his letter ("Anti-anti-abortion," Letters, June 4):

• All statements of sadness at Dr. George Tiller's murder from the anti-choice side ring hollow. Carmody has not favored reasonable compromise and finding common ground so America can halt what is becoming a civil war. Common ground can only be the right to privacy, which religious and secular people all want for themselves.

• Carmody attempts to distance himself from "many in the abortion debate," trying to distinguish between those who incite others and those who become emboldened to take the next step: clinic bombers, acid sprayers, vandals and shooters. Any active participant in a group that bullies and intimidates outside clinics, and insinuates that "abortion doctors should be stopped," had his finger symbolically on the trigger when Dr. Tiller was murdered. I see no ethical distinction between those who whip up passions and those who act on them.

• Carmody says, "I can picture the day when abortion will remain legal and yet there will be no doctor willing to perform abortion."

I say, "There undoubtedly were rooms filled with other white men in other robes who once said, 'It may be legal for niggers to vote, but by God, we'll make sure none of them will want to!'"

The Inquisitors ferreted out those who didn't believe correctly. The Crusades followed, using violence for political and religious dominance.

Anti-choice people have used the Inquisitor tactic by demanding to see private medical records, intimidating at clinics, writing down clinic clients' license-plate numbers, videotaping people's faces to harass them and continuously discussing doctors' names in the news and on the Internet. The culminating activity of that is always going to be violence.

— Marsha Abelman

Beaverton, Ore.


There's that quote again

Fr. Bill Carmody professes "great sadness" at the murder of Dr. George Tiller, and tries to absolve himself of blame, claiming he is "pro-life" rather than "anti-abortion." Yet it is his opposition to abortion, especially the outdoor Mass he holds each Saturday at the local Planned Parenthood clinic, that encourages fanatics.

Carmody doesn't sound sad when he notes Tiller's death reduces the number of doctors doing late-term abortions in this country from three to two. He adds, "I can picture the day when abortion will remain legal and yet there will be no doctor willing to perform abortion."

He seems not to understand what that would mean for women, since abortions will always be medically necessary. Pregnancies can endanger the health of women with pre-existing health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and epilepsy. Others must take medications or receive chemotherapy, endangering their health or their fetus' health. Some conditions developed during pregnancy can leave women with lifetime impairment if their pregnancy continues.

A fetus diagnosed as anencephalic (lacking a forebrain or cranium) has no chance of survival outside the womb. A woman forced to carry an anencephalic fetus to term may suffer complications that jeopardize her physical and mental health.

Carmody's devotion to the Catholic dogma that a woman's life is subordinate to that of her fetus causes him to oppose all abortion, callously indifferent to the avoidable suffering that a lack of abortion services would cause individuals. Thankfully, global trends recognize denial of abortion access constitutes a violation of women's rights. As Margaret Sanger said, "No woman can call herself free who does not own and control her own body."

— Janet Brazill

Colorado Springs

Where's the unity?

The Independent recently published a letter from Leon Rodriguez of Denver titled, "GOP glossary" (May 28). Both the GOP glossary that Mr. Rodriguez wrote and the Democrats dictionary that Debra Saunders wrote are grossly inaccurate.

I am a former Republican, but I can say that I never believed any of the things that Mr. Rodriguez wrote when I was in the GOP. My parents were both hard-working Democrats. They never matched remotely anything that Saunders wrote. They respected and supported Republicans when the GOP was on the right side of the issue and opposed them when they were not.

Yet these two articles bring to light a larger issue. There are too many political hacks in this country. I don't care if they are named Limbaugh, Carville, Hannity or Olbermann, I don't frankly believe that blind obedience to a political party is healthy for America.

It seems that when Party A does wrong, Party A is silent. If Party B's leaders do the same thing, then Party A screams for their head, or at least for their resignation.

I could cite endless examples. Let me just say this. Lincoln was right; a house divided against itself cannot stand. Until Americans realize that political parties are just organizations craving power and money and nothing else, and they start electing people who use common sense, not liberal or conservative special-interest guidance to solve issues, then America will continue to be in the same sorry state we are in.

— Matthew Randquist

Colorado Springs

'Multimillion-dollar eyesore'

My wife and I are longtime downtown residents, hoping to gain attention to the plight of America the Beautiful Park. Its previously beautiful grass has died and is now a multimillion-dollar eyesore.

This park and its fountain center were funded largely by El Pomar Foundation. The city basically acts as custodian (a job it has surprisingly fouled up), which includes watering the plant life, including grass, a fact that seems to have eluded the horticultural geniuses.

The newly sodded grass was watered until September 2008, the obvious cause of the needless, tragic homicide of healthy groundcover. Anyone who has used bluegrass in the Front Range knows that as a Southern varietal it requires watering well into October and ideally into November, even if just occasionally. As master gardeners, my wife and I, upon hearing of the decision to stop watering in September, just when bluegrass is at its most prolific reseeding and growing cycle, thought we must get to the bottom of this mind-blowing, idiotic decision.

After speaking to many distraught and equally frustrated groundskeepers, I was referred to a gentleman in charge of the park who used budget cuts as the blanket reasoning for murdering our beloved park. All that was needed to save the centerpiece to this jewel of our village was a few more weeks of watering during our notoriously warm early fall. Water purchased from a city-owned utilities company.

So now we have allowed our city's newest and finest park to look like a cattle hold for underprivileged bovines. Everyone I speak to is sick at the sight of our once-pristine park and even more distraught over the bogus excuses by parks officials. We really deserve some accountability, and I hope enough people will demand it.

— David Puett

Colorado Springs

Ethics volunteer

Maybe someone should investigate City Attorney Pat Kelly. How could a person with supposed smarts, training and education make such a bonehead decision about Jan Doran — who campaigned for Mayor Lionel Rivera — serving on the city's ethics committee investigating Rivera? Who would trust the outcome and findings of this committee? Not me, and I don't even know Ms. Doran or any of the committee members.

Thankfully, Ms. Doran saw the light this week and agreed to recuse herself from the committee's consideration of the ethics case.

But that leaves only two committee members handling a vitally important matter. I volunteer to replace Jan Doran. I have 40 years as a human resource professional. While at Western Forge and SCI Systems as HR director, I was responsible for investigating any issue of sexual harassment, discrimination, etc. If there was any conflict or allegation, my staff and I had to interview all involved parties in an attempt to resolve and solve the problem.

We have lived in Colorado Springs since June 1978. My experience within the city goes back to the days of Mayor Bob Isaac and George Fellows. Maybe it is time to return to those days when there was no question about integrity and transparency within city government.

The city/U.S. Olympic Committee effort needs to get back on track without all the outside distractions. Now is the time to clear the blackboard while using a clean rag to pick up all the spilled chalk dust.

— Duane C. Slocum

Colorado Springs

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