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Soft on leadership

Regarding "Cracks in the code" (cover story, April 11), these are cadets (college students) who are learning to lead, not current Air Force or U.S. Air Force Academy leaders. This is an Air Force leadership problem, and they are in denial. Apparently the Air Force and the Air Force Academy do not think honor is important enough to take a strong stance on.

The Academy leadership is obviously not capable of showing cadets the proper example, or of kicking out those cadets and active-duty training officers who think the honor code is a joke.

The taxpayers are paying approximately $400,000 for each cadet's education, and the morals and ethics of graduating cadets, some now junior officers and AF leaders, are in question.

If the retention rate is the same as AFROTC (50 percent) and the ethics are possibly less (based upon the above study), why do we continue to spend outrageous sums of money on military academies like AFA when ROTC and OTS will provide a better, possibly more mature, result?

— Neil Talbott

Colorado Springs

See you at Starbucks

Thank you so much for printing the letter ("Boycott Starbucks," April 5) about same-sex marriages and how Starbucks is openly supporting them. The author wanted everyone to boycott Starbucks as a result. I will be going to Starbucks more often now just for knowing that, yeah!

— Andrea Collins

Colorado Springs

You might be ...

The letter titled "Out with Obama" (April 5) sounds like it was written either by one of the very elderly among us who have been scared to death by AM radio, or a member of the anti-intelligencia. But Joan Christensen says very little in the rant other than tired "points" and how fearful she is. In response I would submit (with apologies to Jeff Foxworthy) that:

You might be a "red"neck if...

• you still believe in the trickle-down theory even after being trickled on for many years under Bush.

• you subscribe to the "screw you, I've got mine" system of health care, even if you are currently out of work and don't have any.

• you agree with Mitt Romney that the American auto industry, and the thousands of jobs that go with it, should have been allowed to die.

• you think concern for public health or the environment should not interfere with anybody's ability to turn an obscene profit.

• you believe, like Rick Santorum, college is only for elitist know-it-alls.

• you agree that birth control is only for whores and there is no reason to be concerned about overpopulation.

• you get any "news" from people named Hannity, Limbaugh or Beck.

• you liked the idea of unfunded wars, huge tax breaks for the wealthy, a new war with Iran, hatred of the French, huge tax breaks for big oil with less funding for education, and you want to return to those "values" under Romney.

— Max Lowe

Colorado Springs

Barrier methods

Janet Brazill ("Pro- and cons," Letters, April 5) attempts to discredit Robert Blaha with straw-man arguments. Legislation to ban contraception? It would be about as successful as the so-called "Personhood Amendment" has been. Outside of Catholic clergy and a handful of religious zealots, there is a minimal constituency for it, even among Catholic congregants.

If Congress amends the tax code as she describes, wouldn't that also include any nonprofit group that wishes to "participate in partisan politics" to promote groups that agree with her? Are political action committees limited to groups who oppose her ideas?

This is just another attempt at a cheap shot at anything Republican.

— Wes O'Dell

Colorado Springs

Mail call

In 2010, many people decided not to cast a ballot because they didn't like their choices, something that happens in most non-presidential elections. The Secretary of State says those voters should not receive a mail ballot in 2012.

One election missed, so they are no longer on the list of people who will receive their ballot in the mail. It's ridiculous. Everyone who is an eligible voter (citizen, over 18 years old, registered) should be treated the same. Let's pass a bill that fixes this.

I strongly support that voters who have signed up to be on the permanent mail ballot list should receive a ballot. Not sending ballots out is ludicrous as we enter a presidential election.

Let's ensure everyone has a voice.

— Heather Zambrano

Board member, Citizens Project

Colorado Springs

Friendly debate

It is difficult to express how disappointed I am in my friend, Fr. Bill Carmody. After Arval Becker and Dan Wiencek wrote to point out his errors of fact, Fr. Carmody apologized ("Collateral damage," Letters, April 5) for disparaging President Obama and then immediately proceeded to restate his original error, that the war on women is not limited to one political party. Bill, you confessed the wrong sin.

Republican-controlled legislatures in more than a dozen states have passed laws restricting women's access to health-care services and subjecting them to humiliating, unnecessary procedures. No such laws have been passed in states where Democrats share power. None.

Plus, the federal government did not take health-care services away from women in Texas — the Republican legislature and governor did. That misstatement of fact is what deserved the apology, not a "poor choice of words."

The larger error has gone on for years. In his commendable zeal to end abortions, Fr. Carmody and his bishop have supported, and urged Catholics to vote for, any candidate who claims to be "pro-life" regardless of his or her other policies. The results have been the opposite of what they naively expected.

By transferring tax dollars from job creation and social programs to Wall Street gamblers, and by borrowing to pay for an unjust war, phony pro-life Republicans trashed the economy.

This directly resulted in an abortion rate that climbed throughout the past decade. Since the economy has begun to recover, the abortion rate is going back down to Clinton-era levels, which were the lowest ever.

Fr. Carmody is to be commended for being ardently anti-abortion, though he is not fully pro-life. He should apologize for his counterproductive tactics. It is a wealthy 99 percent that reduces abortions, not a wealthier 1 percent, and not Republicans.

— Tim Rowan

Colorado Springs

'Fake Christian'

This is not about religious freedom. Churches are not being required to pay for birth-control coverage. Insurance companies are being required to offer it. How does that infringe on the religious freedoms of the church?

The government is not mandating lifestyle choices. Do you understand how ridiculous that statement sounds?

The government is allowing women and their families to have a choice without costing them an arm and a leg. Of course, you fall back on the religious argument.

You want to gut Social Security and Medicaid; how is that a Christian value? Where is your religion when it comes to the lesser of those in our society?

You are a fake Christian, so don't tell me that you are concerned about religious freedoms. All you are concerned about is appearances; and you appear heartless and uncaring. You don't care about individual rights, only institutional rights. I believe the rights of the individual trump the rights of the large institutions, but you can't understand that.

— Brenda Dickson


Done with one

Solitary confinement has always been a sore subject between politicians and law enforcement. It seems each year new statistics link mental health of inmates and solitary confinement.

Many inmates do not go insane necessarily, but a rising number in released inmates lost their social habits because they received no human contact for a set, and sometimes long, time. Some effects include visual and auditory hallucinations, insomnia, paranoia and even PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).

Inmates spend more than 23 hours behind a locked steel door, only getting one hour to exercise in a small concrete cell. Most who undergo solitary confinement will likely be repeat offenders who get sent off to state prison or, even worse, back to solitary confinement because they are not used to the habits of other humans and the way of society, especially if confined for a long amount of time.

Many citizens say that solitary confinement is a good thing because "it keeps the bad guys off the street" as one anonymous concerned citizen stated. But would one rather have the prisoner go to regular prison, serve their time and be released, or go into solitary confinement, become changed mentally, and then be released with those defects?

That is the people's choice, but the wise thing would be to realize that solitary confinement is a means of cruel and unusual punishment.

— Amelie Doridant



Downtown strategy

As a 71-year-old woman, I do not feel threatened when shopping in our downtown. I have had panhandlers help me with both doors and packages. Did they expect a gratuity? Yes, no doubt. Many times I give, and occasionally I do not. When I politely decline, they have never been rude.

Are a few dangerous? Possibly.

I did not understand the removal of the traffic cameras. They were revenue-producing, paying for themselves. They could also save lives and prevent injury. The word was, "We can't have Big Brother looking." OK, downtown, but not on the street? What is the merit to that thinking?

Many good shops have left downtown and the in-fill are not places that are of interest. Too many bars and beer joints to interest average shoppers. Another large deterrent to shopping downtown is the parking meters — 25 cents for a few minutes? That is no value at all.

Not in Manitou Springs. When Colorado Springs was turning off water in parks and shutting down streetlights, Manitou was planting flowers and putting brick in their streets. Isn't it pretty? Manitou is full of hustle and bustle without cameras.

If it takes cameras, so be it, but that isn't the only problem. Do a test: Bag the parking meters for one month in downtown. Advertise it and see if it helps.

Shoppers will return downtown when the environment is what they want and need.

— Lola Nafziger

Colorado Springs


See the light

Right-turn stoplights are almost as ignored as letters to the editor. You look. Are any cars coming? You look again. Are any pedestrians trying to cross? If all is clear ... you make your turn ... regardless of the light. Sir Edward Coke said that unreasonable laws should have no force over reasonable men.

Which brings me to the stoplights at the intersection of Powers and Old Ranch Road. Traveling west on Old Ranch, you arrive at the light atop a goodly rise. You can easily see traffic coming from either direction along Powers. If there were just a stop sign, you could pull through the intersection as soon as it was clear. But no ... there are stoplights! So you must kill three minutes waiting while no one passes before proceeding.

I have a question. If Deep Blue could defeat the world chess champion in 1997, and a much cheaper computer called "Fritz" (using only two Intel processors) could defeat another world chess champion in 2006, then why the hell can't someone design a computer as smart as a half-wit rent-a-cop to control traffic at intersections?

Imagine a computer with a single camera eye, looking at a convex mirror that shows all traffic activity. For a week or two the stoplights flash off and on as the computer "learns" what kinds of loads to expect and when. It sees how traffic should be moving. Then the computer starts controlling traffic. What it does not do is stop cars for nonexistent cross traffic! Traffic laws are easier to swallow with Coke.

— Joseph Mitchener

Black Forest


Last week's Independent included two errors related to people's names.

In "Fork in the road" (News), PPRTA Citizens Advisory Committee member John Neuer's last name was spelled incorrectly.

And in "Cracks in the code" (cover story), the title and first name of the Air Force Academy's honor division director, Lt. Col. Bryan Huntley, were accidentally deleted.

We regret the errors.

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