Root of all problems
To Ralph Routon: After reading your Independent article from Dec. 2 ("Some lawmakers out to lunch," Between the Lines), it is evident that it is you who is "out to lunch."
Call me, and all the others agreeing with state Sen. Kent Lambert, whatever you like. The fact remains that until citizens of this country understand the negative impacts of allowing illegal aliens to remain, we will continue to have major budgetary shortfalls in K-12 education, housing, Medicaid, prisons, higher education, human services and the judicial system.
— Jim Shafer
About our reputation
I want to thank Ralph Routon for his Nov. 24 article ("The war on weed," Between the Lines). One section of the column mentioned the words of Carla Hartsell questioning if we really want Colorado Springs to be known as the state marijuana capital.
I have a set of questions for Ms. Hartsell and others in the self-declared, moral-authority police guard of our City Council and its moral-authority supporters.
What are you doing, specifically, about those things which this city is already actually known for, not just in Colorado but nationally?
What are you doing about the fact that Colorado Springs is known for such things as: an excessively high suicide rate for teens and military; an excessively high DUI rate; excessive growth in the murder rate of a city this size; lack of adequate resources for the huge military population; treatment of the homeless, which involves arrest and inadequate shelter assistance at the very least; and more.
How do these things this city has to be proud of measure up with the vote of "most religious"? What is the religiousness for?
And, what specifically are you doing about the actual weeds that made this city butt-ugly for the population and all visitors this past summer?
Would you be willing to question your moral priorities and consider actual action on these other things this city is known for?
— Ani Rose Whaleswan
Worn out on Haggard
I have a personal and special request for the Independent: Please ask your writers — like Rich Tosches, specifically — to stop using Ted Haggard as a way to get a cheap laugh or snicker in your columns ("Dealing with TSA gropers," Ranger Rich, Dec. 2).
It's been over three years since his maximum embarrassment and public humiliation and he is trying to rebuild his life. This stigma will obviously be with him the rest of his life, and yet I find no further valid reasons why you, or others, should continue to publicly beat him down and harass him — especially with lewd comments.
His wife and five children (young adults) are trying to move forward and continue their emotional mending and public healing amidst the chaos Ted created by his confused choices at the time. Yes, he was high-profile and made national news. But now he knows the heartache of being down-and-out, broken and feeling totally rejected.
When Rich Tosches makes lewd comments about Ted's past as a cynical way to get a chuckle, it really doesn't help the human condition, nor does it build a tolerant society. Please don't squash Mr. Haggard's attempts to find restoration with further media humiliation. He is trying to rebuild his life. Just give the guy a break! We all need second chances and hope for our lives and future. Thank you.
— Rev. Tom Pedigo
Let's get tough
After hearing about the threat that Iran's neighbors fear on WikiLeaks, I agree that the United States and the world need to impose stronger sanctions on Iran.
It's time for the world to unite against this dictator. Think of your children's future.
— Peter Rodriguez
Aiding the AIDS battle
The holidays are almost here, and as a member of ONE and a resident of Colorado Springs, my holiday wish is to give the true gift that keeps on giving — lifesaving Anti-Retro Viral medications for the 33 million people worldwide suffering from HIV/AIDS.
HIV infection rates are far outpacing the number of people added to treatment. The disease has a wide socioeconomic impact that threatens development progress in many poor countries, especially those in sub-Saharan Africa. Over 14 million children in the region have already lost one or more parents to the disease.
But there is hope. With groundbreaking initiatives like the Global Fund, millions of lives are being saved. Through innovative partnerships, the Global Fund channels resources to country-driven programs with demonstrated results in delivering essential treatment, prevention and care. Since 2002, programs supported by the Global Fund have saved an estimated 5.7 million lives.
Many suffering from HIV/AIDS are working too hard to survive to ask for help. This holiday season, we can provide these children, men and women with a way to be heard. Please go to ONE.org to find out ways that you can help. It doesn't cost any money, just your voice.
— Megan Marsh
Food for thought
Sunday, Dec. 5, my family and I found ourselves with a huge surplus of food. Rather than throw it away, we decided to give it to the homeless. Brilliant, we thought! We'll solve our space problem and do something honorable at the same time.
First, we brainstormed about where we had seen the homeless before. None of us were quite sure about it, so we called friends who might know better. Nobody did.
I started calling homeless shelters and other such organizations. I tried four different places and couldn't get a human being on the phone. Then my brother had a great idea: Call the police and ask them where to find the homeless.
I called, and the very nice officer said, "Well, since the homeless camps have been dismantled, I'm really not sure where to tell you to go ... umm ..."
I decided to drive over to the Marian House Soup Kitchen. When we arrived, we found not a soul in sight. There was a very clear sign in the window saying that they were not open on Sundays and that any donations should not be left unattended.
On Monday, I got a call from Jim Benevidez from the Marian House explaining why they cannot take donations on Sunday. It was pretty much what I expected: lack of personnel and funding plus stringent rules from the health department. Jim is to be commended for his thoroughness and punctuality in addressing my concerns. He is obviously working hard and doing the best he can. As he put it though, his hands are tied. It's just sad.
Need has no appointment book and no set season. I hope that someone can tell me where to go in the future when I have quantities of perishable food I cannot store on a Sunday.
— Dana M. Gass
Editor's note: Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment regulations insist that while raw produce from home gardens is OK to donate, "Food prepared in a private home shall not be used or offered for sale." As for Sundays, Marian House offers meals in the morning; Colorado College's Shove Chapel in the afternoon; and Westside CARES in the evening. To learn which food pantries are open on Sundays, call Pikes Peak United Way at 2-1-1.
No more mortgages
Here's a better idea for reducing the debt: nationalization of real estate! Forget dropping the mortgage deduction; why not eliminate mortgages altogether? What more appropriate, patriotic way to honor the country of America, to revere its holy land, its sacred earth, its hallowed ground, than to give that very soil to the United States of America?
People would rent the property on which they build their homes from the government, from ourselves. Renters could lease government-owned apartments. The income generated would pay off the national debt and create a nice surplus for various uses, including financing construction and implementation of the new Green Energy infrastructure. There would be plenty of funds to use for other projects that would stimulate the economy.
The retirement age could remain the same or even be lowered, not raised. Education programs would not need to be cut, and the single-payer health care plan could finally be adopted.
— Steve Luera
The enemy is us
Our fellow citizens who are Libertarians, anti-tax advocates or Tea Partiers endlessly rail against "Big Government" intruding on our earnings, our basic rights, and our freedoms.
They are precisely right. The whole point of government is to intrude on individual rights and freedoms of violent and predatory people.
While most humans if left alone would act morally and ethically and nonviolently, a minority can't or won't behave cooperatively and rationally and altruistically. They force us to protect ourselves and take away their freedom to act destructively.
It's a long-known truism that governments are needed only to make, administer, and enforce laws. But laws are needed only to protect us from murderers, rapists, thieves, vandals, embezzlers, frauds, and the like. We cannot efficiently operate unless inside the framework of laws that take away freedoms and liberty of criminals. For examples, check "state of nature" theories of classic philosophers like Hobbes, Locke, Mill and others.
Big government is necessary to carry out huge projects that private enterprise cannot do, such as multi-state dam and water projects, national highway systems, interstate commerce regulation, disease control, and so many others. To pay for all this, we taxpayers must shut up and pay.
There's also forced altruism. Private charities and religious ones do much good, but not nearly enough. Selfish hoarders must be forced by law to help the elderly, destitute, disabled and helpless.
Now, locally, we have many citizens bitterly complaining about all this and voting for "limited government" and "less spending." Then they protest that their streetlights are out, police are understaffed and parks are trashed. They want more spending on those, except at voting time and tax time.
They are punishing themselves, and trying to blame government for it. They need to make their complaints to their bathroom mirrors.
— Larimore Nicholl
Give us facts
I note that someone named Charles Andrew Wood wrote a letter ("Advocacy, not history") in the Nov. 24 issue of the Indy. He criticized Bill Durland for not including enough facts in Durland's Nov. 18 Your Turn guest column, "Lesson from '30s Germany."
Incredible! Facts are pretty much all Bill's column contained. It is Wood's letter that doesn't include any facts. I read the whole thing hoping to find something to hang my hat on, and found nothing but name-calling: "hypocrisy and irony," and "radical progressive agenda," whatever that means.
This, of course, proves Durland's point. If one is ignorant, one has a limited vocabulary and cannot make an argument that is coherent and compelling. All one can do is shout at the adversary and hope his voice is louder than anyone else's.
It is important for all citizens to determine where their best interests lie and to then act in ways that best serve those interests. Were they to fail to do that, they would not thrive and neither would the country. To vote against one's own interests is to cut off one's nose to spite his face. It is suicidal. The more people who are willing to do this, the more likely it is that the rest of us will be forced to follow the lemmings off the cliff.
— Jo Ann Nieman
Lots of numbers
I cannot let Ralph Routon's glowing comments on Franklin D. Roosevelt and his New Deal programs pass without some facts and understanding of which Mr. Routon seems unaware. Such statements as "what a huge impact Roosevelt and his New Deal had, providing jobs across the land..." and "there's no way of knowing how much longer the Great Depression's effects would have lasted" are indicative of Mr. Routon's lack of understanding.
In October 1929, average unemployment was heading toward 5 percent, up from 3.3 percent two years earlier. The October 1929 crash sent the Dow plummeting to 66 and unemployment heading to 17.4 percent two years later in September 1931. After Roosevelt took office, by October 1933, four years after the crash, unemployment stood at 22.9 percent and the still-anemic Dow was at 93.
Now it was time for Ralph's rapturous New Deal to kick in. In November 1934, unemployment edged up to 23.2 percent. Roosevelt's alphabet soup of agencies began coming on line such that in July 1935, unemployment had fallen about 2 percentage points back to 21.3 percent while the Dow worked its way up to 119. In January 1938, unemployment was at 17.4, up from 13.5 in August 1937. Less than six percentage points down from its high is not what I would call a "huge impact on jobs across the land." Unemployment would still stand at 14.6 percent in January 1940.
I'm sure Ralph was all dewy-eyed in his visit to Hyde Park while he looked past the numbers that show the New Deal's bureaucracies stifled job creation rather than engendering it. It is just as indicative that today another progressive, Barack Obama, has an unemployment problem that isn't going away by papering it over with more pork-spending dollars.
— Joseph C. Hunter
Editor's note: The Depression-era Dow bottomed out at 41.22 (July 8, 1932), the July '35 Dow actually rose to a heady 126.56 (July 29), and all pre-1940 U.S. unemployment figures are estimates. Policy makers struggled back then with the lack of accurate unemployment figures, and it was a project run by FDR's New Deal Works Progress Administration that finally addressed this problem. Read more at bls.gov/opub/mlr/1984/06/art2abs.htm.