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I've been awfully disappointed in my fellow Christians lately (including myself).
Here's why: There are a few loudmouths out there claiming that they are Christians, but embracing some very concerning policies, while the majority of us don't speak out as Christians against this kind of rhetoric and political posturing.
Here are just some of the policies embraced by the few mentioned above: tax breaks for the rich and outright disdain for the poor; inhospitality to strangers (immigrants) and looking the other way while those same people's labor is exploited; advocating stiff prison sentences for even the most petty crimes while letting the powerful get by with much more costly and destructive behavior; and waging wars against innocents abroad that mainly benefit big civilian contractors.
The last time I looked, Christianity was still about love and tolerance and especially about concern for the "least among these." Are the rest of us so embarrassed by the antics of these vocal few that we're afraid to claim our heritage and to speak out as Christians against the kind of divisive policies advocated and fostered by this vocal minority? Let's try that and see what happens ... I know I just did and I feel a lot better.
— Marsha Smith
I read with chagrin your article "Big-money mayor" (News, Feb. 23). We are paying non-professional city staff salaries of $165,000 and $182,488 just to mention a couple.
U.S. senators and congressmen make $174,000 per year. Now, one could make the argument that this is way too much to pay them for what they (Congress) do or do not do. I find it hard to believe that these city staff members have as many or more responsibilities than U.S. congressmen and senators.
These city salaries are just ridiculous when we are facing budget cutbacks in all areas, and we were told that the new strong-mayor form of city government would cost less. It is clear there is open warfare between the mayor's staff and City Council, and that this is causing duplication of staff at a higher cost.
This is very disappointing, and another reason I will never support any kind of tax increases in Colorado. The taxpayers are being taken for another ride.
— Scott D. Myers
Only facts, please
City Planning Commissioner Donald Magill was quoted in the Feb. 23 Indy ("Commissioner targets MMJ," Noted): "We've lost three kids under 20, in the last year, from OD'ing on heroin, which has been the transitional drug from marijuana in high schools — fact! — delivered directly by the cartel."
I'd like to know where Magill gets his so-called facts. I have been smoking marijuana for years and have never once touched heroin — fact! And, for the record, I am a college graduate with a 3.5 GPA — fact! So, commissioner, before you go demonizing the medical-marijuana industry and stereotyping anyone who has ever smoked pot, do some research.
You might just find out that the dangers of alcohol enormously outweigh those of marijuana. And it's legal — fact!
For obvious reasons, I request to remain anonymous. I don't need any law enforcement officials knowing my name, thank you very much — it would kill my buzz.
— Name withheld
In response to Colleene Johnson's letter ("Back to the future," Feb. 23): Rick Santorum wants nothing but the best for his children. Considering that kids that are home-schooled are better educated and have better social skills than their public-school counterparts is only one facet of the discussion. Teachers are great, but the greatest teachers are your parents. I'm sure all of his children have better test scores than most school districts.
Don't forget about Climategate and the zero evidence for evolution.
Also, Santorum just wants to make sure that I don't have to pay for your birth control. If you want to pay for it, that's awesome, but I'm not paying for your decisions.
— Rob Annese
Oil's dirty secret
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, in the first nine months of 2011 the United States became a net exporter of oil products for the first time in history, importing 689.4 million barrels of oil and exporting 753.4 million.
Mitt Romney states that as president one of the first things he will do is approve construction of the Keystone XL pipeline to "ensure American energy independence." The pipeline would run from Alberta, Canada to Port Arthur, Texas, a deep-water port where oil and oil products can be loaded on ships and sent overseas without benefit to American consumers. Shell Refining in Port Arthur is currently doubling the capacity of its facility from 275,000 barrels a day to 600,000 barrels a day. Saudi Aramco, the state-owned oil company of Saudi Arabia, is half-owner of this refinery.
On Feb. 16, the Republican-dominated House of Representatives passed HR 3408. It would override President Obama's stand that the pipeline, as planned, is destructive to the environment and needs to be relocated away from sensitive environmental areas, especially in Nebraska. Democrats offered an amendment requiring that all petroleum products transported in the pipeline be used in the U.S.; Republican congressmen, including our favorite son Doug Lamborn, voted it down.
A good number of Americans actually believe that oil extracted in the U.S. is somehow the property of Americans and that it will be used here. It will not. Oil companies will sell it to the highest bidder. Just because we find new energy sources in the U.S. does not mean that shortages of petroleum products in this country will suddenly evaporate.
Until laws are passed to keep U.S. oil in this country, there will be no "American energy independence" and we will continue to pay dearly for obscene oil company profits.
— Steve Storrs
The truth hurts
A hunter came to the Pueblo Zoo last week with 42 dead snow geese in his pickup truck. He killed them in one day in eastern Colorado. Yes, 42. The Colorado Parks and Wildlife Division and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife agency allow and encourage unlimited hunting as a "management tool" to control the snow goose population.
This letter is intended to make people aware of the consequences of this policy, in pickup loads of dead geese donated to zoos, piles of dead geese left to rot, and conscience-stricken hunters stunned by their own excesses.
This policy may be legal, but ethical ... not so much.
— Peg Rooney
United we fall
The U.S. Supreme Court has a chance now to fix the enormous mistake it made in the Citizens United decision. A Montana case (American Tradition Partnership v. Bullock) challenging that Supreme Court decision has been appealed back to the court ("Money talks," cover story, Jan. 12).
In an extraordinary statement, Supreme Court justices Ginsburg and Kennedy are calling on their fellow justices to reconsider the enormous mistake that was made in the Citizens United case, where their decision enabled super PACs to provide a way for corporations and the ultra-rich to spend limitless sums, anonymously, to buy our elections.
Polls show 80 percent of Americans want Citizens United overturned [http://j.mp/PHart]. The Citizens United case, crazily, said corporations have a "free speech right" to spend unlimited sums of money influencing our elections, as if corporations were people. They are not.
Ninety-four percent of elections are won by the candidate who spends the most money. That is not an election, that is an auction.
We need to return to the principle of "one person, one vote" so we can regain our democracy! The Supreme Court has just been handed an opportunity to fix this mess. It should take it.
— Dr. Cara Koch
Screw the 'scoop'
To Ralph Routon ("We fight, or you lose," Between the Lines, Feb. 16):
Stop whining! As a citizen, I applaud the city's handling of information requests as you described. How arrogant of you to demand "special" treatment so that the information you might request is made available only to you! Apparently, you also expect the city to respond in a timely fashion to meet your publication deadline!
In my view, the public interest is much better served (and greater transparency is achieved) when the city's response to an information request from one media source is simultaneously made available to all other media sources. As a citizen, I really don't care which publication "gets the scoop" as long as relevant information is made available to the public.
Frankly, I would expect your column to address something much more newsworthy than this!
— Robert Vegvary
Staying on point
Incredible! In replying to my earlier missive ("Halt the Galt," Letters, Feb. 9), the best Joan Christensen can summon is a farrago of straw men ("Misguided rhetoric," Feb. 23). She cranks up the volume by making specious claims (such as socialism being against progress) and even drags in the Wright brothers, but never did address or rebut a single point I made.
Hence, not once in her reply did she show I was wrong in terms of wealthy entities/individuals being able to parlay themselves to their grandiose stations by excluding dependence on public resources. Even the Wright brothers required such to make their simple plane!
But no, Joan goes off on a half-cocked, Randian frenzy. Perhaps the way to explain this is her fawning, self-evident regard with which she holds all things Rand. Now, while Rand in her Virtue of Selfishness castigates altruism as animalistic — unworthy of a Galt — Albert Einstein, great mind that he was, writes ("Why Socialism?" 1949):
"The profit motive, in conjunction with competition among capitalists, is responsible for an instability in the accumulation and utilization of capital which leads to increasingly severe depressions. Unlimited competition leads to a huge waste of labor, and to that crippling of the social consciousness of individuals. ... This crippling of individuals I consider the worst evil of capitalism. Our whole educational system suffers from this evil. An exaggerated competitive attitude is inculcated into the student, who is trained to worship acquisitive success as a preparation for his future career."
Within this obsessive aspiration toward "acquisitive success," cooperation and community are left behind.
Another quote from Adam Smith: "What improves the circumstances of the greater part can never be regarded as an inconvenience to the whole."
— Phil Stahl
Ode to the GOP
I used to be a Republican. Now, I can not bring myself to associate with leaders and followers filled with such strange and, frankly, stupid ideas. The most recent philosophy of my former party is that children should not go to college because they will become Democrats.
Really? Is this what I am supposed to cheer for? I see supporters whooping and fist-pumping supporting the notion that education is the wrong path for our children. Republican party leaders looking straight-faced while saying that the main purpose of these schools of higher education is to indoctrinate our children to vote a certain way.
My guess is that the people supporting this viewpoint are those who indeed did not go into any higher education. If you choose to continue down this ridiculous path of logic, I feel bad for you, but I guess that's OK. My children (and the Chinese) who have educated themselves will have a nice minimum wage job for your children when they get out of whatever grade you feel is right. The world needs ditch-diggers too, right?
— Jack Mangrove