I would caution those who think the EIS (environmental impact statement) process can solve the railyard expansion issue. All the Army people have to do in the EIS process is demonstrate they will "mitigate" the problem, and any promises made in mitigation, such as a 24-hour pledge for stationing of train cars, is easily overruled by military necessity. Since they have the money and plan to start building in August, the EIS is only a necessary legal nicety. Their apology sounds very hollow at this point.
Routon's column brings up the aviation brigade addition, which would bring 2,000 troops and 100 more helicopters. There were hints in Brig. Gen. Jim Pasquarette's comments at the town hall that this new brigade would bring added pressure for expanding the Piñon Canyon Maneuver Site in Las Animas County. Once the brigade would get stationed here, it is not difficult to imagine that it would often train at Piñon Canyon. Then if there are noise complaints down there (as there would almost certainly be in the Springs area) it would fuel the argument for a large expansion of the maneuver site.
Duh. Backdoor expansion, for sure.
— Bill Sulzman
Let's be honest
I worked for the Census Bureau in 2000 (no problems). I took the test in 2010 and passed. So, I thought my chances of getting a temporary position with the Census Bureau in 2010 were very good. Not so.
When I didn't hear from anyone at the Census office months after I'd taken the test, I called and asked why. I was informed that they were hiring only active military and veterans.
"My husband is a Korean War veteran," I said. "Does that count?"
A simple "no" was the response, which begs at least one question: Why do they let civilians waste their time taking the test if they have no intention of hiring them?
— Jan Zeis
The real villains
On MSNBC last week there was a story about insurance companies targeting women who were diagnosed with breast cancer: "... WellPoint was using a computer algorithm that automatically targeted them and every other policyholder recently diagnosed with breast cancer. The software triggered an immediate fraud investigation, as the company searched for some pretext to drop their policies, according to government regulators and investigators."
How can anyone read information like this and think that our system of for-profit insurance companies is a good thing for American citizens? Do we really want to live in a society that is "profit at all cost?"
Democrats, led by President Barack Obama, have struggled to do what is right by all of us, not just the very rich.
Anyone who thinks that Republicans care about working families has been sadly misled. Republicans who fought health care reform were telling us all that the profits of the insurance companies were more important than anything else — even your mother, sister, wife or daughter who has breast cancer and is denied treatment. Because, make no mistake, no coverage means no care unless you have the cash on hand.
— Christy Le Lait
This is in response to Graig Yarbrough ("Evoking Jefferson," Letters, April 22). While your research on Jefferson's thoughts and constitutional precedents may be well-thought and articulated, you fall short regarding the constitutionality of the health care reform bill. Where you stray is in your use of the word "mandated."
This bill does regulate certain reforms on the health care industry; I don't believe you are referring to those regulations as a mandate. The federal government has regulated many industries and will continue to do so. We learned from the Reagan presidency how CEOs, financial institutions and other corporations can and will raise havoc and take unfair advantage of employees, investors/borrowers and the environment when we give them a green light to do as they please. There has been no challenge to the Constitution regarding regulation of industry.
So you most likely are referring to the mistaken notion that this reform bill is mandating some form of health insurance by 2014. This is simply not true. If you do have insurance, you will get a nice reduction in income tax. Conservatives will state it differently: If you don't have insurance you will pay more income tax. Either viewpoint is valid, and neither is unconstitutional. No one is mandated to have health insurance; your income tax will simply be adjusted accordingly. This is no different from married people getting reduced income tax.
Why aren't you arguing the constitutionality of mandated auto insurance? This is indeed mandated, and you can be fined or do jail time if you drive a vehicle without mandatory coverage. Yes, it is only mandatory to those who drive a vehicle, and it is to protect others than yourself. But it remains a mandated purchase, unlike our current health care reform bill.
End of story?
— Michael McMahon
One is enough
To the mayor and Council members of Manitou Springs: I fully support the single-hauler trash collection program. I'm so proud that our city is walking the talk to reduce our impact on the environment and improve the quality of life for all of us.
I know this initiative has its detractors, but I'm certain even they will come to see this change is for the better and for the greater good. I'm especially proud of the citizen committee members who have worked intensely and, in spite of hurdles, taken this initiative and run with it. What an inspiration you are to our neighboring towns and cities ... may they follow in your reduced-carbon footsteps!
— Catherine Lee
Liberals, I've noticed, like to shut down arguments by saying "end of argument, period." In a recent letter one of these liberals said health care is constitutional because it's covered under "promote the general welfare." I guess the word "promote" to him means "dictate."
So here's a list of other general welfare things for the government to promote: Food — gov't will tell you what to eat and how much it costs. Housing — gov't will tell you where to live and how much it costs. Transportation — gov't will tell you what to drive and how much it costs.
Gee, I guess this is the beginning of totalitarian socialist thought.
— John Wark
Regarding letters from Dwayne Schultz and Patrick M. Faley about Obamacare: You beautifully prove my point that "information is not intelligence" and is the reason politicians get away with the crap they do!
I've been carrying the Constitution for 45 years and when it wears out, I get another one. By no stretch of the imagination does "to promote the general welfare" mean someone should sacrifice and pay for another's health care.
First, government has no money, only what it confiscates from the private sector, which generates the wealth.
America has the best health care system in the world. Nobody dies in this beautiful country for lack of health care. The poor have free medical, medicine and dental treatment. The middle class constitutes families making $50,000 a year and if they drink, smoke and have cell phones, they damn sure should pay for their care. Ask yourself if anyone is entitled to one cent of another man's labor? If you say yes, then you damn sure believe in slavery.
What in the hell do you midget intellects think our forefathers fought for? Died for? Escaped monarchies for? Socialism is a liar and a thief and the antithesis of our democratic republic. It would be perfect if people were perfect. Who in the hell do you think government is comprised of? Gods sitting on Mt. Olympus? Government is a necessary economic parasite and its main job is to protect our soil, not to dictate.
Since you seem to have a problem with FOX News, move to China where you are jailed or executed for criticizing these mere mortals. Like Charlie Bronson says in the movie Hard Times, it's who has the gun. Obama and his battalion of economic and socialist idiots are yet going to destroy this country.
— Joan Christensen
Tea party solution
We should give the Tea Party folks what they want: "no more taxes."
Then of course, we must cut off the Tea Party lovers and their immediate families from Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and the use of the highway system, airlines, police protection, fire protection, public schools, libraries, all other government-funded agencies or other entities that receive government grants or funds.
Give them what they want: no taxes, no regulations, no civilization.
We would soon see how these greedy, racist, theocratic, homophobic, rogue Republicans survive in their own tax-free world.
— Leon Rodriguez
Waiting on Lamborn
I recently joined two other constituents in a meeting with U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn's Colorado Springs office to encourage him to co-sponsor the "Lord's Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act." This legislation would require President Obama to play a role in helping several African governments stop a murderous rebel group that fills its ranks with abducted children.
Though Congress remains deadlocked on so many challenges facing our nation, there should be a few inviolable principles on which we can all agree. Namely, the basic cause of life and freedom for all children is worthy of our resources and leadership.
This bill has generated significant bipartisan support, but Rep. Lamborn has yet to respond to our request that he join the ranks of co-sponsors. I hope he will reconsider, and take a stand in favor of protecting basic human rights for our world's most vulnerable people.
— Candace Datz
I want to commend Vanguard Church, the GLBT Pride Center, Focus on the Family and the Independent for sponsoring the Community Conversation on Homosexuality on April 12. It was an amazing and grace-filled event for the six panelists and the 900 attendees. As one of the panelists, please know that we regarded ourselves as one six-person team, not two sides.
This was not a debate; it was simply a matter of calmly sharing our stories. We all have stories! I don't know if many minds were changed, but I trust that a great many hearts were opened. If so, we succeeded — and our wonderful community is the richer for it.
— Bill Oliver
State Coordinator for Integrity, GLBT Episcopalians
Stretch that dollar
A bill before Congress will benefit all Americans: Republicans, Democrats or independents. This bipartisan bill, with senior leaders in the Senate and House taking the lead, has 134 co-sponsors in the House alone. Candidates who raise a threshold number of small-dollar donations would qualify for federal funding. If they accept this funding, they can't raise big-dollar donations, but they can raise contributions up to $100, which would be matched 4-to-1 by a central fund.
It's creating incentives to run people-powered campaigns, not beholden to corporations and big business. Then we can elect leaders who won't start unnecessary, endless wars that only create more terrorists, and leaders who know our debt is bankruptcy for our children.
The White House budget review says by 2019, the U.S. will pay more than $700 billion a year in interest on the national debt. By way of comparison, the Department of Defense is expected to spend about $664 billion this year, including two costly wars. Let's change the saying, "We have the best government that money can buy," to "We have an honest government doing the will of the voters."
The only way to make this happen is to contact your legislators and encourage them to support SB 752 and HR 1826. It may be the only way to ensure our future.
— Stu King
In response to Dave White ("Slaves to corruption," Letters, April 8) — right on! I want to elaborate because I have studied the issue and am retired military.
Yes, we have corruption in our government, but it goes deeper. Decades ago a national security study ordered by President Truman was conducted. The concept designed by cronies in the White House and Department of Defense is a highly classified study: NSC-68. Generally the policy was to build large military forces, well-equipped, to protect America from the Russians. It has since evolved into placing American military forces in other countries whenever the occasion arises.
Such action gives America the means to influence foreign countries' political activities so they are more in line with American ideology. The upshot: It also allows us to influence governments to give us economic favor, with laws protecting American business desiring to enter the country. Such is global economics. No wonder so many nations do not trust America.
America's foreign policy has led us to become an imperial power, no different from those nations who set up the colonial system two centuries ago. I will end by saying the United States cannot win this Arab conflict because it is more a streetfight and doesn't lend itself to marshaling military force and totally destroying a national enemy to protect ourselves.
Actually, our foreign policy is the nation's biggest problem. Health care and a tax increase will work themselves out. The use of military force by elite government officials will not work itself out.
— Lt. Col. Arne Erickson, Ret.
In last week's "7 Days to Live" section, we gave the wrong date for a recycling drop-off event in the north parking lot of University Village (5400 N. Nevada Ave.). You actually can bring your residential recyclables there between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. this Saturday, May 1. We regret the error.