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Holding the bag

When I think of all the cost-cutting measures Colorado Springs adopted instead of me paying a couple dollars more per week in property taxes, my favorite has to be removing trash cans from city parks. Anyone who has spent time in Colorado Springs knows that, in this city, trash belongs on the streets, not in trash cans.

I also thank City Council for improving my running form. I used to run with my arms tightly against my chest. My college ROTC instructor pushed me to swing my arms back and forth to create momentum. Several exercises encourage this, but none work for me. Until now! Without trash cans, I have nowhere to put the bag of poo that my dog makes when we run, and carrying a bag of steaming dog shit forces me to swing my arms back and forth to keep the stench away from my face.

This has enhanced my running performance by over 60 percent (I measured it!). I can only hope my dog shits at the beginning of the run and unloads enough to fill two bags, one for each hand. That's balance!

I've been here almost 18 months; the last two places I lived that long were at opposite ends of the spectrum. Germany, with a very big government, had immaculate roads with no potholes, and the only time you saw beer bottles on the street was when a German set it down momentarily to relieve himself. Iraq is what we call a "Third World" country. There are some decent, if bomb-laden, roads connecting the main cities (Saddam built roads when he wasn't gassing people), but most of the country has terrible roads. The free market hasn't motivated Iraqis to build them yet, and they have very small governments in rural areas ... no property taxes, though!

— William H. Smith

Colorado Springs

Defending Amy

Longtime reader, first-time writer. Just responding to a recent letter titled "Chasing Amy away" (March 4). Please don't. I must admit, she's the first column I personally look forward to reading in each issue. But beyond that, she always tells it like it is. Don't silence the Advice Goddess, just ask her ...

— Mike Procell

Colorado Springs

No country for ...

Music genres are often times blurred and musicians difficult to categorize, but referring to James McMurtry ("A crazy heart," Audiofile, Feb. 18) as "country veteran"? Might as well say "black bluesman Hank Williams."

OK, that is a stretch, but to be labeled "country" can alienate a certain audience before the first note is played. McMurtry is not country by any standard, but one hell of a songwriter with a guitar-playing talent that is unique. He and his band rock. Listen to "Choctaw Bingo" (live), "Bad Enough" or "Valley Road" and you will be hooked, unless you have a tin ear and/or no taste.

— Bob Wyman

Colorado Springs

Reid hits a nerve

On March 4, The Healing of America author T.R. Reid educated all of us (standing room only) in the Gates Common Room at Colorado College. His combo lecture on health care worldwide, and shaming of the U.S. for its unique standing — as the only country among all developed nations in the world that fails to provide health care for all as a human(e) right — brought cheers and laughter. The big laugh came when Reid discussed the world's leading health care provider, France, and quoted France's explanation as to why it does not cover the cost of Viagra: "We just don't need it."

Glazed over, but nearly as intellectually shaking to many, was the question Reid left hanging: "Why is it that the U.S. does not have the same compassion as the rest of the developed countries in the world?" No easy answer to that one. Then the New York Times published a front-page article Sunday: "U.S. Enriches Companies Defying Its Policy in Iran." The answer to Reid's probing question wriggled, then ran screaming into this reader's mind: GREED!

Yes indeed, the U.S. of A. has become the U.S. of (greed and power) A(ddiction). The coup d'état crowd, those controllers behind the military/industrial/corporate/terrorism coup, have evolved into the evil-based empire President Eisenhower feared. The unending Bush Oil Wars, unquestioned and manipulated, should cause us all to point both index and middle fingers at the coup crowd, just as the greedy banks and insurance companies (it's all about profit corporations) point their middle finger at the vanishing middle class and rapidly growing poor class.

The neo-con mantra of a classless society should shake even the most spun and manipulated citizens into awareness.

— Rita Walpole Ague

Colorado Springs


Might of Monsanto

Duane Slocum ("People still rule," Letters, March 4) never fails to amuse and enlighten! By which I mean enlighten us to the true extent of his political naïveté.

First, he says "progressives don't like to be called 'liberals'"; well, true, but because the right and its think tanks have defiled the word, like they're now attempting with "community organizers." Sadly, when a term's rendered an epithet, there's no choice but to find a new one, given the uncritical corporate Wurlitzer Machine.

Second, he's guilty of false analogy by comparing corporations to trade unions and PACs. The latter are technically not corporations, nor are they regarded as "corporate persons" under the misapplication of the 14th Amendment used in the (1886) Supreme Court Santa Clara ruling. More to the point, all the Dem PACS and trade unions don't have 1/100th of the monetary resources of Monsanto, or the corporations comprising Big PhRMA.

Third, as grubby as the D.C. politicos are, they don't wield the might of a Monsanto — to patent seeds for food crops, thereby delimiting their distribution and availability (including preventing farmers from using their own seeds). Nor do they have the clout of the corporations of Big PhRMA, which can purchase the skills of thousands of lobbyists to overturn and even write legislation favorable to their interests. (Case in point: the 2003 Medicare legislation, actually a gift-wrapped heap of corporate welfare.)

True, "corporations can't enter the voting booth," but their fearsome grip (via money) on our politicos assures their will and money will always trump our votes. Now even more so! Their establishment as "corporate persons" (since 1886) means that, de facto, they are now super-persons in relation to ordinary flesh-and-blood citizens. A pity Slocum can't see this.

— Phil Stahl

Colorado Springs

Community effort

How many people does it take to renovate a kitchen? More than you think!

As a volunteer, I would like to thank lots of people for helping to renovate the kitchen at the Crawford House, a transitional home for homeless military veterans in Colorado Springs. The old kitchen was dysfunctional and needed to be upgraded. It is truly amazing what happens when you ask people to help!

We received a grant from the Home Depot Foundation. USAA donated money. We received money from Dr. John Ley, Col. (Ret.) Bob and Gayle Emmons, Col. (Ret.) Verne and Virginia Campbell, CW4 (Ret.) Donald Holliday, the VFW in Salida and the VFW in Eagle County. Joan Sell, owner of Oasis Salon, Mike Berans along with Boy Scout Troop 68, Denise Oesterle from United Restaurant Supply, Helen Upton from Home Builders Association Cares Foundation, along with Jim Shirley from United Flooring also helped.

Thanks to Cheers Liquor Mart for helping us raise money, and to chef Jocelyne Fay, chef Mari Younkin and chef Richard Carpenter for helping with our fundraiser.

Now you know how many people it does take to renovate a kitchen!

— Stephanie Cardwell

Colorado Springs

What about PPRTA?

Approximately five years ago, the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority was created, and what big improvements have we seen? Do you realize some of the same people on City Council sit on the PPRTA board? I find this very disturbing. Did you know, according to the PPRTA Web site, that Colorado Springs spends $21 for each passenger annually while other cities spend up to $57 per passenger annually? And for every $1 invested in transit, the return is $3-$4 in new jobs, new developments and increased property values.

Are we any better off since PPRTA was created, or are we worse off? I would love to see an investigative report on where PPRTA and city tax dollars have been spent over the past five years in regard to public transportation. It seems to me that public transit in the Pikes Peak region has gone backwards over the past five years, and that money must have been severely wasted, because the funds must have increased with the additional 1 percent to the sales tax. I challenge our local press to investigate the facts and give the people of the Pikes Peak region what they deserve — the truth!

— Jim Gosse

Colorado Springs

The Schubert solution

I ask you, please, to support stronger sanctions on Iran and to promote responsible friendly relations with all people in all countries on this little planet. Someday we may see that there are many other planets with many other peoples on them. Shouldn't we be able to get along on just this one planet? How are we to expand if our home planet is in civil unrest? We should be one people, united in love and responsibility, unwilling to take from our friends or neighbors, whether they are looking or not.

If everyone were to enjoy classical music and hang out on the weekend, how would we have all of these wars? This is a hypothetical, but it bears thought. There are groups on this planet that intentionally promote racial hatred, national prejudice and other forms of division that make up a large portion of our motivations to be willing to hurt each other. We must stop this foolish self-destruction and love, forgive and assist. The individual must also retain and gain more freedoms than they have in the U.S. and other countries as well. We should live in love, and let fear melt away.

I hope this has helped you to see what kind of world we can have. I hope you will join me and millions of others to make it so! If we just locked up all of the world's leaders, even those transparent ones that run things behind the scenes some, and have them waited on by children, wouldn't that break down their insecurity and let them see we are really all one people? Just another hypothetical, but, ya gotta wonder, eh?

— Joel Thompson


Burton's special place

Jonathan Kiefer's review of Tim Burton's film Alice in Wonderland ("No wonder," Film, March 4) is clearly written by a person who knows nothing of Tim Burton's genius. This American filmmaker recently had a retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. The art world currently recognizes Tim Burton's reinvention of Hollywood genre filmmaking and denotes Pop Surrealism to Tim Burton, as he is a contemporary artist working in a recognizable form of art that he created.

This ingenious filmmaker is "of our time" and is in the league of the legendary filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock. Your magazine should review your standard of art reporters and print art reviews by people deeply knowledgeable in art, or at least those who love art deeply.

— Maria Lopez


Move beyond fear

It seems the more I look to the news, television, the radio and, yes, the Indy, I see and hear fear for sale. It seems that the best way to oppose positive change locally, nationally or in the world is to sell a message of fear. Psychologists have known for years that fear holds the individual back from taking action. It is a potent paralyzing agent.

As I read Susan Davies' tenderly devised treatise on fear of the homeless ("The time is now," Letters, Feb. 4), it pushed me over the top. Imagine a poor, helpless runner turning back after being confronted by a snarling, smelly homeless person. The terror, the terror. Having worked as a volunteer at Marian House soup kitchen for years, I could not recommend in general a kinder, gentler, more respectful group than the homeless. All you need to do is smile and they simply smile back. Sure, not all; but more do than the average businessman walking along Tejon or the Nike-decked-out runner in Monument Valley Park.

We need to realize fear is a commodity we either buy or not. Our history is filled with wholesale offerings of fear, purchased with money and more, but they have proven to be worthless in the long run. Remember the weapons of mass destruction! Fear still sells, however. Why? Because those who sell it are afraid someone may take it from them.

We can make another choice. We can turn away from the salesmen of fear and buy into our community. Working together we can make change occur that benefits all, and, best of all, helps us overcome our entrenched fear of others. So, Ms. Davies, the next time you trot past a homeless person, don't turn away but smile. Take a small chance. See what happens.

— Merl Wallace

Colorado Springs


José Muldoon's restaurant and bar, 222 N. Tejon St., has its happy hour from 4 to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, not all seven days of the week as indicated in our Drink issue of March 4. The Independent regrets the error.


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