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Happy employee

If medical marijuana clinics are legal, then I suppose they have the same right to employ sign-twirlers as any other business.

I have noticed, though, that they do things a bit differently: I saw an MMJ sign-twirler on Platte Avenue last week. He wasn't twirling his sign, though. His sign was propped against a lamppost and he was sitting next to it on the curb, eating a bag of Cheetos.

A testimonial from a satisfied customer, I suspect.

— Greg Hartman

Colorado Springs

Lamborn's payback

I wondered what shape and form it would take, but I was under absolutely no illusion that our "congressman for life" Rep. Doug Lamborn would one day be asked to "pay back" one of his largest benefactors, patrons, supporters and close family friends — the Koch Brothers and Koch Industries — from his home state, Kansas. Lamborn also is fourth on the "Big Oil Ambassadors" supporters list (more "payback") leading even "marvelous" Michele Bachmann — no little feat!

Now we know why he wrote his narrow-minded, self-serving, and certainly ill-advised letter to the House subcommittee on Energy and Water Development to "unplug" Golden's National Renewable Energy Laboratory, which may cost Colorado $714 million annually, plus 5,500 jobs! I thought the object of the Republicans in the last election was to create jobs — guess I was wrong?


I presume because Rep. Lamborn believes NREL is not related to the "military industrial complex" it is a "boondoggle"?

I have personal working experience with NREL. It's a world-class research and development facility.

Not only is Lamborn out of step with an overwhelming majority of Americans and many in his own party, but also with all those supporting the need for a comprehensive energy policy. Mr. Lamborn is shameless in his "payback" to the Koch Brothers and Koch Industries and their anti-progressive hate machines that propelled him to his first and subsequent congressional campaign victories, although I understand the last campaign cost Lamborn and the Kochs very little!

Shame on you, Rep. Lamborn! Stand up for all of Colorado and save jobs — don't strip them away!

— James M. Hesser

Colorado Springs

Climate battleground

With all the rhetoric surrounding the federal budget and leaving a debt burden to our children, I don't understand the lack of concern for the condition of our planet and the climate-change ramifications that our kids will endure.

There are five main drivers of climate: the earth's rotation and orbit; solar intensity; volcanic activity; greenhouse gases; and ocean current. Yes, our climate was once much warmer, particularly 55 million years ago during the Paleocene-Eocene thermal maximum, or PETM. Fossil records show an atmospheric carbon level much higher than today. Why? As Newt Gingrich so brilliantly pointed out, dinosaurs did not drive cars. There are several theories, but the point is that fossil records undoubtedly show extreme climate change (warming) simultaneous with a huge release of carbon into the atmosphere.

We track atmospheric carbon by studying Antarctic ice cores. There is no dispute that carbon dioxide and methane levels have increased significantly since the Industrial Revolution, and burning of fossil fuels emits CO2. To reason that there is no human-caused climate change is akin to saying forest fires have occurred naturally throughout time and therefore are not caused by human activity.

So why the controversy? The financial influence of the fossil fuel industry over our elected officials. John McCain was a vocal supporter of climate research and believed strongly in human-influenced climate change, but was mum during his 2008 presidential campaign. Gingrich joined Nancy Pelosi in an ad produced by Al Gore warning of the consequences of human activity on climate, yet now wants to dismantle the Environmental Protection Agency. Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty and Jon Huntsman all supported cap-and-trade legislation as governors. It will be interesting to see how the lobbyist dollars change their minds.

Please take the time to learn about our climate from scientific websites, and not from politicians or talk-show hosts.

— Andrea Storrs


Shallow reasoning

Mrs. Gail Vaught's defense of her husband's career ("Tired arguments," Letters, June 2) was heartfelt and sincere, to be sure. She is, however, a bit short on logic and facts.

For the record, I live close to the Air Force Academy and have a deceased father — an Army Air Corps veteran of World War II who took the family to countless air shows all over the country and held his pilot's license well into his 70s. Plus, I love watching the Thunderbirds and all the flyovers at the Academy. These are indeed exhibitions of superior American technology and heart-pounding patriotism; air pollution has never crossed my mind.

But, the outlandish statement by Mrs. Vaught, "Colorado Springs is blessed with winds that blow the jet and car pollution out of the area," is so ignorant and ridiculous that it demands response.

Just where does she think our "blown away" pollution goes? New Mexico? Kansas? Utah? Maybe the ozone? I wonder if her home in Falcon has experienced the haze, smoke and acrid smell — i.e., pollution — that has "blown in" from Arizona?

Please, Mrs. Vaught, educate yourself and resist such knee-jerk diatribes in the future; this one was full of holes, just like our ozone.

— Kay Jones-Hutchins

Colorado Springs

Forget the noise

I assume people are responding to Bill Sulzman's hysterical (and I don't mean funny!) letter regarding the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds ("The sound of death," Letters, May 26) that visited for Air Force Academy graduation. So just add mine to the pile.

They are the Thunderbirds, though Bill goes to great lengths to avoid using the actual name of the "circus act" in his letter. I'm not sure how you hear "death and destruction" from a circus act, but hey, Bill has his own perspective.

Don't worry Bill, this year's Academy graduates will go right on defending your right to have your perspective and express it, however irrationally you choose! And Bill, the Thunderbirds thunder, they don't "screech"!

Plus, all that toxic exhaust material ... oh, the humanity! If they had been screeching over New York City on Sept. 11, 2001, we would have had a real toxic mess on our hands.

Don't fret, Bill. Like Christmas, it only comes once a year and you'll just have to get some earplugs and a breathing apparatus so you won't be too inconvenienced.

— Ryan Davis

Colorado Springs

Conservative socialism

Geraldine Russell argues that we should "Give Bach a chance" (Letters, June 2). One might ask, "a chance to do what?"

Bach's maintained that attracting new jobs will be his top concern. But the conservative playbook, as Ralph Routon observes ("Story developing at EDC," Between the Lines, June 2), is to be "more aggressive in pushing for lucrative incentives to major companies who might bring operations and jobs to this market."

Whatever happened to hating government interference in the "free market"? Not a problem when it rewards their base.

If that's Bach's plan, what he knows about creating jobs is absolutely wrong. Such incentives do not "create jobs" in the U.S. as a whole, instead rearranging them from "there" to here. And, yes, it is a zero-sum game thanks to the Federal Reserve's adherence to its bogus NAIRU (Non-Accelerating Inflation Rate of Unemployment) theory that limits how low it allows unemployment to go; Google "There's no 'free market' for labor" for details.

Subsidies may bring jobs, but it's a "beggar thy neighbor" policy, waging a price war among regions in which everyone loses. It also beggars us because the drain of subsidies leaves us with too little funding to provide needed infrastructure and government services.

That's a major reason for calls for more taxes to provide them, and a root cause of Colorado Springs' economic woes. It's the conservative version of socialism: redistributing costs onto the public.

So, give Bach a chance to continue destructive economic policies? I sure hope not.

— Bob Powell

Colorado Springs

Bleak outlook

Those who lost jobs in good sectors will not get them back. The jobs moved to India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, etc.

Competitive advantage has disappeared. Microchips, PCs and LCDs can be designed and built in offshore locations.

— Nick Werle

Colorado Springs

Pundit watch

Colorado Springs Media Matters (CSMM), a group with varied political views, analyzes the mass media and its impact. During a week in late February, CSMM listened to and/or watched two prominent media personalities, Rachel Maddow and Rush Limbaugh.

Each has many followers, sponsors and their own flair for the news. We looked at sources, language, tone, and content.

Maddow: She had a playful, humorous tone to her programs. Occasionally, she used sarcasm in excess. Most sources came from within the media, followed by politicians and academics. Much coverage was an attempt to peel away Republican/conservative views. We felt the thrust of her stories promoted a singular point of view. Her primary focus was to preach to Democratic viewers.

Limbaugh: He also was playful, humorous and self-deprecating at times; other times he was edgy, sarcastic and childlike. Limbaugh was prone to conspiracy theories and had a tendency to whip people into a frenzy through fear tactics. Limbaugh made some outlandish statements with little or no evidence. He spoke with a firm conviction that his view is the right view.

Both divided issues in a black-and-white, good-and-bad perspective; they belittled the opposing side and left out large pieces of information. With the focus on Wisconsin state worker benefits and collective bargaining, neither mentioned those same benefits for members of Congress or the military. The objective was to simply smear and denigrate the other side. Neither provided constructive solutions or what would be best for the country.

It is our opinion, for a democracy to be effective, citizens need to make informed choices. In functioning democracies, balanced public information should draw individuals and groups into the political arena to debate, reflect and engage in public policy. Democracy needs a healthy, diverse media; unfortunately and sadly, Maddow and Limbaugh did not contribute to such a venture.

— Scott Lovaas

Colorado Springs

Handheld grenade

Albert Einstein is believed to have said, "Humans will perish four years after the last bees disappear." If he knew that many of the frequencies that bees use to communicate would overlap with the frequencies dedicated for cell phones, he would've probably issued a more dire warning.

Don't believe me? Put a 4G hotspot next to a hive before you go to bed tonight, and voila, no bees in the morning. Now the World Health Organization has issued a report that microwave radiation emitted by cellphones is cooking your brain. Famous lawyer Johnnie Cochran spent over eight hours a day on a cell phone and died from a brain tumor next to his ear.

I know cellies are sacred to most Americans. Every guy at day labor or the food-stamp office has an Android, even if he doesn't have a car. Of all the dangers we face in the modern world, this could be the one that takes us out. I know, crazy, right? OMG. Can you hear me now?

— Kenton Lloyd

Colorado Springs


Smoke and minors

Regarding Bryce Crawford's June 2 CannaBiz column ("Keef crumbs"), not only should medical marijuana be made available to patients in need, but adult recreational use should be regulated. Drug policies modeled after alcohol prohibition have given rise to a youth-oriented black market. Illegal drug dealers don't ID for age, but they do recruit minors immune to adult sentences.

Throwing more money at the problem is no solution. Attempts to limit the supply of illegal drugs while demand remains constant only increase the profitability of drug trafficking. For addictive drugs like heroin, a spike in street prices leads desperate addicts to increase criminal activity to feed desperate habits. The drug war doesn't fight crime, it fuels crime.

Taxing and regulating marijuana, the most popular illicit drug, is a cost-effective alternative to never-ending drug war. As long as marijuana distribution is controlled by organized crime, consumers will continue to come into contact with hard drugs like methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin. This "gateway" is a direct result of marijuana prohibition.

— Robert Sharpe

Common Sense for Drug Policy

Washington, D.C.

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