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Mute with rage
In England, campaigning for years was limited to six weeks prior to an election, which, presumably, kept the focus on issues, rather than hype, nuttiness, fear-mongering and smear tactics. We should wise up and demand something similar here — maybe limit campaigns to eight or 10 weeks, rather than having campaigns start the week after an election. (Yeah, just try telling this to the Koch brothers.)
I must be the only person in the U.S. who is ready to vomit from campaign ads, though I don't listen if I can prevent it. A few years ago I learned where the mute buttons are located on the remotes. I can find them in the dark, and I mute all commercials, not just political ones. Still, I'm tired of simply seeing the faces of the politicians.
I have even extended this to X-ing out the dialogue on most of the shows. It's more amusing to imagine what they're about than it is to actually watch five minutes' worth of How I Met My Future Ex-Wife; America's Fattest; Two Broke Bimbos; and Bloody Guts.
I got tired of hearing Jake's jabbering; irritated by everyday moms; fed up with barfburgers and disgusted by dental minutes. And don't get me started on the perpetual, boring blah blah of sports commentators and infomercial creeps. The mute — it's just that easy!
Yeah, it's sorta quiet without 13 or 14 minutes of commercials per half hour, but silence is better than hearing these jerks ragging on and on. I can't help but wonder and dread exactly what will replace the political ads after the election. Will it be for the great American cars which will be recalled in another year?
I must put in a plug for PBS! It does have its boring side, but it really is the absolute best TV channel.
— Bernadette Young
In recognition of Veterans Day, I wanted to share some facts about the Congressional Medal of Honor, "the highest award for valor against an enemy force," as compiled by the Congressional Medal of Honor Society:
• There have been 3,492 recipients of the Medal of Honor. Among them are 88 African-Americans, 59 Hispanic-Americans, 33 Asian-Americans and 32 Native Americans.
• A total of 16 service members have received the Medal of Honor for 21st-century actions in Afghanistan and Iraq. Twelve of them are deceased.
• The most recently awarded Medals of Honor were given Sept. 15, 2014. Spc. Donald P. Sloat was posthumously awarded a Medal of Honor for actions at Hawk Hill Fire Base, Vietnam, on Jan. 17, 1970. And Sgt. Bennie G. Adkins was recognized for his actions at Camp A Shau from March 9 through 12, 1966.
You can find much more about Medal of Honor recipients at cmohs.org.
— Charles H. Guy
As a traveler I was merely "passing through" Colorado Springs on my way southwest when I spotted the Independent ... I began to flip through the pages until I got to p. 15's "Free Thought Views" [paid supplement], written by Bill Durland.
I never, ever expected to read such a statement — so clear, condensed and packed full of information and insight about Palestine. Thank you for granting readers, even transitory ones like myself, the opportunity to acknowledge that there are rational thoughtful people on the "other side" of the discussion — who are too rarely published or heard — but do exist in growing numbers in America, fortunately. Much appreciation!
— Miriam Adams
Whither the economy?
After living in the Springs for over 19 years, I get the distinct impression that our economy in this town is split pretty evenly between tourism and Department of Defense contracts, both of which appear to be shrinking. I don't believe that what sustained this town in the past is going to continue to do so in the future. Colorado Springs may still have that "small-town charm" but we've got real big-city problems.
What will the future economic base of Colorado Springs be? We have Old Colorado City, our small-town nostalgic sector, and nearby Manitou Springs, our local "hippieville." How does the existence of these constitute a plan for economic sustainment?
We have pockets of the arts scattered here and there, but it seems that most of what gets serious promotion here is sanctioned by Dr. Seuss and Mother Goose. It seems that all the profound, real works of art such as the play Equus, or the Greek classics like Antigone and Oedipus Rex, are staged by local colleges, which aren't very widely promoted.
Although there are a lot of creative people in this town, we're not drawing the kind of high-powered business that would tend to exploit these talents. I see no reason why Colorado Springs can't support a thriving music and television industry, if we can just upgrade our transportation infrastructure, and make the costs of doing business here more appealing than what Vancouver, British Columbia, has been offering to attract production companies. Do some research on the science fiction TV series Stargate: SG-1 to see what I'm talking about.
— Bob Szekely
When droids rule
Have been reading A History of Artificial Intelligence and Law in 50 Papers. Didn't know that computer scientists have been getting computers to argue law cases better and better since 1989. They are quite good now. Tested on 60 years of Supreme Court cases, they have correctly predicted outcomes on average 70 percent of the time. This compares with a group of 83 legal experts' rate of 59 percent.
But, like the early weavers who smashed automated looms, U.S. lawyers refuse to let "legal expert systems" do even trivial tasks for the public. (It took a local judge a month to "accept" our lawyer's resignation, so we can continue our probate case.)
When these Artificial Intelligences (AIs) finally are allowed to counsel/represent people, and write law ... we will have arrived at "backseat humanity." AIs will be driving our cars, doing our designs, doing our research, and governing us.
Throughout organic life, when something is no longer used ... it shrivels and disappears. Is there any chance that the human race can move gracefully toward this inevitable, and natural end?
— Joseph Mitchener
Help a seventh-grader out
Dear editor and citizens of Colorado: I am writing to you from the smallest state in the union, Rhode Island. I am a seventh-grade student at Goff Junior High School in Pawtucket, Rhode Island.
For my geography class, we are working on a project in which we are creating an oral, written and poster project on a particular U.S. state. I chose to do my report on Colorado. Could you please publish this letter in your paper so your readers could help me out on my project? If your readers could send me some information, pictures or tourist information it would help me so much with my project. Your readers could send the information right to me at school. Thank you for your help.
— Corey D., Seventh grader, Goff Junior High
Mr. Gilmore's Period 7 Class
974 Newport Ave., Pawtucket, R.I. 02681