E-mail letters, April 11, 2011

Logic is absent in
GOP attack on Planned Parenthood

Not everyone can be on welfare. True to this consciousness, the Republicans in both the state and federal legislatures are fiendishly slashing every possible social program they can lay hands on —
Medicaid, child nutrition, schools. The list is aggressive and endless. Slash it all.

You would think in all this that the concept of slowing population growth would be a central theme to the Republican platforms, but population except as it relates to illegal aliens, is a pariah word in the Republican vocabulary. Not even the facts that the population of this nation has increased by 82 million people since Ronald Reagan took office in 1980, that we have one of the highest growth rates in the industrialized world, and the that the United States has the third largest population on the planet are being discussed openly in any realistic way.

No, just the opposite. Last week, the Republicans in the House of Representatives nearly shut down the government of this nation over funding for Planned Parenthood, one of the few organizations working to reasonably slow the growth of the population. The Republicans staunchly refuse to
contemplate that their position on abortion is mandating the birth of poor, indigent populations within this nation, totally in need of the very social programs they are slashing.

That these growing impoverished populations, without any other provision, would turn to illicit means to survive, does not detour the fanatical resolve of the Republican right. The Republicans, after all, have the NRA at their side, and the consciousness that these folks, no matter how sanctified they were in birth, are now fair game to gun down the second they enter your

Where is the logic?
Fred Pittenger
Grand Junction

State trooper not to blame
in tragic auto accident

My thanks go out to Trooper Jeffrey Vrbas of the Colorado State Patrol for attempting to perform the duties he was assigned, buy upholding the laws of the State of Colorado to the utmost of his abilities as he swore to do when he became a State Trooper.

On November 6, 2007 Trooper Vrbas attempted to stop and arrest a driver who was violating the laws of the state by speeding in a reckless manner, endangering the lives of others. It ended tragically.

A local law firm sued the Colorado, claiming that Vrbas unreasonably escalated the risks and was the “proximate cause” of a victim’s death. This was after the criminal who was driving illegally and dangerously, pleaded guilty in causing this tragedy.

The cause of this tragedy was solely the fault of the violator, absoloutly none of this was the result of Trooper Vrbas’ actions.

Trooper Vrbas could have decided to ignore this situation when the violator refused to stop. This would have been in violation of his sworn duties. Would this have saved the life of the victim? Maybe. Would the violator have slowed down and continued in an orderly manner?  I doubt it.

How would the trooper have felt if the violator had continued in his recklessness and crashed into someone else or ran off the road injuring or killing himself or another because of Vrbas’ nonaction? We will never know.

I am a 28-year career police officer in the state of Colorado. My prayers go out to the victim’s family in this and other similar tragedies. However, let’s place the blame for them where it belongs.

James S. Birdsill
Retired Grand Junction Police Officer
Grand Junction

Renewable energy won’t
do what is suggested

When will we, and our elected representatives, ever learn that any time it requires a government mandate or tax subsidy to promote an industry it is an economic loser.

The Udalls claim that a national renewable-energy code will “create jobs, reduce energy bills, revitalize rural America, slow global warming, and strengthen our energy security.” It will do none of these things. This is nothing but political grandstanding for expansion of government power through political favors at the expense of taxpayers and consumers.

The jobs it will create are at the expense of other more productive jobs. It will increase energy costs to be paid by either the consumers directly through higher rates or through higher taxes to pay the subsidies. It will do nothing for global temperature, even if you believe the global warming propaganda, but it will produce eyesores over vast areas of land, not to mention all the hidden resources it will take to produce the “renewable energy” equipment. Certainly, it will not strengthen energy security but will reduce it by hindering development in real energy sources.

What this proposed bill is really about is government favoritism to certain companies and constituencies at the expense of others. It has nothing whatever to do with energy supply or security or the environment.
Jim Gesick

Anonymity amounts
to little more than cowardice

In a recent letter to The Daily Sentinel, a gentleman suggested that every complaint, even anonymous ones, to an organization should be investigated. The reason, actually rationalizing, for using anonymity, he said, is fear of retribution.  That is known by any other term as cowardice; i.e. surrendering to fear.  Those who choose that path, some of us would consider to be little else than “spineless wonders.”

When an individual chooses to speak, and he or she is a responsible and mature adult, that individual will do two things. First is to inform himself or herself (ascertain real facts) and second, is to be prepared to accept the all of the consequences of such speech. If not, the individual has the choice to remain silent.
Anonymity is most frequently the choice of those who are prepared to do neither. Some of us consider such individuals little else than gossips and whiners. We place them in the same category as those who engage in making anonymous telephone calls or sending anonymous letters. That being the case, we have learned to treat them as such.

Some of us are not at all tolerant of those who don’t do anything, even take the time to inform themselves, then show up to whine or complain.  The words such individuals so sorely need to hear —  “Show up or shut up!” — we do not speak, but only because of our own self-restraint, and in order to maintain some level of civility.
Robert I. Laitres

Quality programs, not names,
provide prestige to colleges

The effort to find a new name for Mesa State College is, in my opinion, an exercise in futility.

Colleges and other institutions have the power to make a name for themselves by the quality of their academic programs and success of athletic programs. Any name chosen will have the prestige of these programs, for good or bad, but will not ultimately enhance the prestige.

The University of Northern Colorado, for example, does not enjoy the high reputation that Colorado State College had prior to the change in name.

Spend the money on program enhancement, not cosmetic changes!
Jonathan Wilson

Columnist’s view of children
shows he lacks compassion

Charles Krauthammer is ambivalent, just like you and me. Sometimes I agree with his policy positions, sometimes I don’t. And in all cases it’s about political differences. Friendly enemies, you could say.

In his column April 10, he said child poverty had declined more than 2.5 million, with not one word about the other millions of children still mired in poverty. He treated it like numbers on a computer, not the tragedy it still is.

One child living in poverty is one too many, but Krauthammer obviously doesn’t see it that way. As a political writer, he sees them as fiscal liabilities, not as flesh-and-blood children. His lack of compassion is not something that can be politically rationalized. It only reveals his true cold- blooded self.
Richard L Stover
Grand Junction

Halt congressional pay
if budget isn’t passed

I completely agree with The Daily Sentinel editorial that soldiers pay should never be held hostage to congressional inability to pass a budget. The editorial suggests one solution: to exempt the salaries for soldiers for any reason related to budget issues.

Even better, how about a constitutional amendment sort of as follows: “If a final budget is not passed each year by October 1, the salaries and benefits of members of the House and Senate will cease at midnight that date. When a budget is finally passed salaries begin again but are not retoractive.”

If the average person does not do the job he or she was hired to do, there would be penalties. Why not do the same for members of Congress, who seem to think it is not some thing they need to be bothered with.

I doubt this will come to pass. However I think if the idea were put to a vote of the people, it would pass with 350 million in favor and 535 against.
John M. Leane
Grand Junction

Name change needed to
keep Mesa State competitive

I’m proud to be a Mesa State College graduate and proud to be part of its legacy. I had the opportunity to attend an amazing school to get my degree and play tennis against some of the best athletes in the state.

This college has blossomed from a tiny one-building junior college into a regional powerhouse and each year it keeps growing. While this growth is commendable, I don’t know how we can expect this to continue without changing our status from a college to a university.

There are more than 450 colleges, universities and trade schools in Colorado alone, and we need to be doing everything in our power to ensure our Mesa State has a leg-up on the competition.

Unfortunately, many people assume Mesa State is in Mesa, Ariz. This does a major disservice to our school, our programs and our regional economic well-being.

We need to grow. This is not about changing signs on a building. This is literally about sustaining the economic anchor of this region.

I’m proud to be a Maverick graduate and athlete. I’m proud of how this college has grown. And I look forward to the future of this school.
Morgan Sawyer
Grand Junction

Salazar on energy is as
unpredictable as the weather

I know spring is known for its unpredictable weather patterns but I did not expect the government to be just as unpredictable. I certainly didn’t expect the Department of the Interior to keep me guessing at the expense of American jobs.

I was shocked to see Secretary Ken Salazar in front of the House Natural Resources Committee in Washington, claiming oil and gas production in Gulf of Mexico has been and will continue to be at an all time high.

On Monday, the federal government will issue its first drilling permit in the Gulf of Mexico since the BP spill, after a long, drawn-out moratorium. With thousands of jobs lost in the region, I’m hard-pressed to believe that production has been at an all-time high.

The slow process under Salazar has me extremely concerned about the oil shale industry in our area. Recently, the Department of the Interior announced a “fresh look” at oil shale policies, including leases (here we go again) and research and development.

With the demand for oil and gas so high, and the demand for American jobs so high, I can’t believe the slow-moving precedent that the administration has set. And with no known timeline for the oil shale review process, this is the wrong path to start on.

The U.S. Geologic Survey estimates 1.5 billion barrels of oil trapped in formations throughout Colorado and Utah, and new hydraulic fracturing techniques for these oil shale reserves use less water and energy than ever before. Drilling permits for these land leases are already a lengthy process, and now we’re adding more red tape to the pile.

Research and development can move this industry toward sustainable, safe practices and extraction if we can act. For now, Salazar wants nothing more than to keep us guessing.
Dena Watson
Grand Junction



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