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On the ever-controversial topic of birth control, I saw something today that speaks volumes: Snooki is with child.
For those of you who are ultra-conservative, I ask one thing: Watch the first two episodes of Jersey Shore. Then we can have an open debate on birth control and its cost.
— Vicky McLaughlin
No time to kill
One of the first things I read in the March 8 Indy was a letter ("Cut to the chase") suggesting we should just start killing those on Death Row — right now — because it will save money. Wow. No consideration of the documented cases of Death Row inmates who were eventually exonerated and set free, nor of those who were exonerated after they were executed.
What happened to the principle of allowing a hundred or even a thousand guilty people go free rather than causing a single innocent person to suffer? This principle isn't new; it has been with us for a couple thousand years.
I'm just a heathen, and even I know that saving money isn't a good reason to kill another person.
— John Andrews
To letter-writer Marissa Heald-Mattes ("Cut to the chase"), I would like to go over some numbers with you.
According to the Death Penalty Information Center, as of July 2011 there were 3,220 people on death row in the U.S.. The cost you cited for housing a prisoner for a whole year, $30,000, applied to all of them comes to $96 million-plus a year. That's no small amount, for sure!
But according to the Department of Justice, in 2005 about 800,000 people were arrested on possession of marijuana. At least one estimate placed their incarceration costs at more than $1 billion. Marijuana possession being a crime costs we the taxpayers $904 million more than the people sitting on death row.
I understand that the crimes committed by people on death row are awful and strike hard emotional chords for all of us, but what does it say about a society where a billion dollars is spent incarcerating people for possessing an often small amount of harmless plant matter but will kill a handful of citizens to save a comparatively trivial amount of money?
Maybe I don't have a solution that everyone is going to like, but there are other areas of our legal doctrine that could be reformed which would have a much greater impact on expenses incurred to the taxpayer.
— Thomas Nelson
Follow the mail
Let's take a little trip to the destination to which you are mailing a letter or card!
First, you walk out of your location (home), place the letter or card or whatever you are mailing requiring a 45-cent postage stamp in your mailbox, and then your postman (come rain or shine) picks up your correspondence and delivers it to a local post office, where it is sorted to be transported by truck, plane, train or however needed to reach the destination to still another location to be sorted with tons of other mail and then given to a local postman for delivery to your receiver. However, you might rather use that 45 cents and hand-deliver in person.
Let's face it, nothing can take the place of a hand-held letter or card. E-mail just does not do it for me!
— Janet Skokan
Race and reality
Sam Taylor gets important things wrong about racism and capitalism ("Race to the top," Letters, March 8).
First, racism: Since African-Americans continue to experience racism in a variety of forms (read Michelle Alexander's book, The New Jim Crow), it's not reasonable to assume they are just like people who don't experience racism. It is not racist to acknowledge differences that really exist when those differences are the result of societal devaluation; it is respectful since it acknowledges reality and does not whitewash continued racism.
That's all Rob Andrews was saying, not that African-Americans were intellectually or morally inferior. We may all be Americans, but those of us who pay social penalties for being poor, female, non-heterosexual or people of color are not "just" Americans since we can't ignore the experiences of being treated differently based on these attributes.
And remember, Dr. King said America did not yet judge people of color based on the content of their character, but looked forward to the day America would. We still don't, and it will take continued effort to get to the point where we do. Perspectives like Taylor's don't help us see the work remaining to do.
Second, capitalism: Creating wealth does not eliminate poverty, at least not on the large scale. Recall the robber barons of a century ago, when the gap between rich and poor was huge. We're in the same situation today because rich people tend to like to keep their money rather than sharing it with the poor. (Mink coats don't trickle down.) We've had decades now of trying to eliminate poverty by creating wealth, and it's not working.
As for Democrats running poor cities, I'm not surprised. Poor people in those cities know Republicans don't care about them and vote for Democrats who at least try to improve their lives.
— Amanda Udis-Kessler
Good readers, I should like to make a request: Don't let the comments of other letter-writers shape your opinions on homeschooling. It's not the backward, isolating prison some people think it is, but stereotypes have, once again, clouded perceptions.
Instead, please speak with people who were or are homeschooled, and listen to their experiences. For instance, I started homeschooling in the middle of fourth grade, using a correspondence course, and I got my high school diploma at 16. I did not lack for socialization, and I certainly wasn't taught that the world is flat, or that evolution doesn't exist, or anything else like that.
Thank you very much, everyone, for allowing me to speak my mind.
— Leigh Barrow
'A hanging curveball' ...
Regarding Mr. Rob Annese's letter ("Defending Santorum," March 1), I have to wonder about the Indy's motivation behind printing it. I am certain the Indy gets many conservative-leaning letters that are far better written and exponentially more substantiated than Mr. Annese's submission. Yet the Indy had to tee one up for its target audience to ridicule by printing the weakest conservative commentary it could find.
While I hold many of the same views as Mr. Annese, his letter was the epitome of a hanging curveball. Most predictably, your boys tagged it just like you baited them to do.
This little hand-picked exchange was quite transparent and insulting to anybody with any insight or intelligence (and liberals, too). Seriously, Indy ... stop trying to appear fair and open to conservative views; you aren't fooling anyone, and it only highlights your intolerance.
— Ryan Carrigan
... and one more batter
In response to Rob Annese: You made a number of factual errors in your letter. It is not my intent to insult, only to present you with correct information so you may make an informed decision.
In regard to evolution, there are literally thousands of transitional fossils encompassing every kingdom ("kingdom," as used in taxonomy) as genetic evidence, but also documented cases of speciation such as the evening primrose, multiple fruit-fly species, and the Ensatina salamander of California, just to name a few. As well, examples of adaptation like antibiotic-resistant MRSA and Roundup-resistant weeds.
As for "Climategate," you should actually read the e-mails yourself. It becomes quickly clear that they were cherry-picked for key words and phrases and then taken out of context. The unfortunate truth is that anthropogenic climate change is real. The theory (and I mean "theory" in the scientific sense, not the colloquial) is sound and is the best answer to the facts we are presented with.
I don't ask you to take my word. I encourage you to independently verify my claims against peer-reviewed papers on the subject(s).
As for homeschooling, it is difficult to form accurate statistics for performance, and there is the greater danger that homeschooled children may be unable or unwilling to function in the heterogeneous society of America. I am not condemning it outright, but there is something to be said for public schools' ability to integrate and introduce.
— Michael Gall
We must stand with Israel as they will stand with us.
• The attacks from Gaza have aimed at major population centers. Half a million Israelis have been forced to take refuge in shelters.
• Israel's response has been measured. Israel gave the terrorists a chance to calm the situation, but they have continued firing scores of rockets at Israeli civilians.
• Israel has the right to defend itself. Its people should not have to live in constant fear of terror attacks and rockets.
• The United States and the international community should condemn these attacks unreservedly.
• The international community should cut off ties with Hamas, a terrorist organization that receives money and weapons from Iran and is committed to destroying Israel.
• The United States should make it clearer than ever that it holds Iran responsible for arming and financing these terrorists in Gaza — and that Iran's drive to develop nuclear weapons will be stopped by whatever means are necessary.
— Karen Rose
Check into it
During this time of economic and family stress, the number of individuals and families in need of mental health support has increased tremendously.
According to a recent report, three in 10 Coloradans are in need of mental-health care.
As a longtime volunteer in the field, I find the increase in mental-health need troublesome. Years ago, I personally experienced mental difficulties and I needed help. I know well the need for an umbrella organization to provide support for families and individuals in crisis at the local, community level.
Mental Health America of Colorado, along with National Alliance on Mental Illness, Federation of Families and a peer-run organization, Colorado Mental Wellness Network, have banded together to form Families in Action for Mental Health.
We are comprised of individuals who have a mental-health condition, our family members, and advocates who care about each individual having access to local, community-based, behavioral health services or mentorship.Families in Action for Mental Health will:
• increase access to appropriate mental health services, which will strengthen and enhance Colorado's community mental-health system;
• ensure that Colorado families obtain community support and services to ensure children grow up healthy.
Here is a simple and painless, easy way to help. Families in Action for Mental Health is an income tax check-off program. If you have a refund on your state income tax, you can donate some or all of this refund to Families in Action for Mental Health. Your donation will be shared among us: local dollars, local help, local support.
Please check Line 42 on your state income tax return, and know that your contribution makes a positive difference in the lives of your neighbors, family members and friends.
— Diane Wheeler