E-mail letters, January 5, 2011

Earmarks will lead
us to financial ruin

Hardly a day goes by but what some politician or pundit doesn’t try to defend earmarks. I am opposed to earmarks partly due to the corruptness surrounding them, but mainly due to the destructiveness they pose to our financial house.

What if we were to think of earmarks in the context of a single family? What if a family of six — a man and his wife and four kids — were to put the entire family yearly income in a large bowl on the kitchen table and whenever a family member had a need, instead of discussing it with the entire family, he or she simply took the needed money from the bowl and purchased the new dress, boots, video game or tool?

Maybe the dress for the daughter wasn’t as important to replace as would have been one for the working mother. Maybe the father could have made due with the saw he had and instead replaced the barely functioning bike the son was using for his paper route. As the year draws to an end, would the family have money for a down payment on a home, a family medical emergency or even a family vacation? They would have to borrow.

Our senators and congressmen are acting like a family without a budget. It is fun to spend money but, as a nation, just as in a single family, we clearly cannot afford family members dipping into the bowl without discussion with the rest of the family or our congressmen attaching earmarks without defending them before their full respective bodies.

Whether it is one earmark at a time or one fist full of dollars at a time, the end result is the same: financial stress or worse, financial ruin.
Grand Junction

GOP election victories
boosted business hiring

It is no mistake that the elections last November lead to better business hiring in December. That election allowed Republicans to hold the Democratic lame ducks hostage and that resulted in the extension of all Bush tax cuts for two years. Business is counting on Republicans reining in these out-of-control spenders for the next two years.

Next up is bringing the problems with Obamacare into focus. As former Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, it is only after passage that we will begin to fully appreciate all that was tucked into the 2,000 plus pages. The list of pros is short compared to the long list of cons. It’s going to take two years. I like it that voters will have the last word in 2012. 

The modus operandi of Congress of the past two years was to say: “It is an emergency. Trust me. No need to read this. Just sign here.” What sane person does that?

That all came to an end in November. For the next two years, there will be real transparency. The Democrats are now saying we can’t go back and actually understand what was passed and repeal what we don’t like. I can’t decide, are they crazy or just think we are stupid.

The president will try to implement his failed policies through executive fiat on things like cap and trade, but businesses can live with that if it is felt that generally he can be held in check and then defeated in 2012. If that assessment changes, all bets are off. 
Dave Kearsley

Attack on letter writer
lacked usual objectivity

I always read the letters of Robert Laitres because he often demonstrates an ability at objectivity and a certain courage to take the road less traveled. But, in his response to my Dec. 29 letter to the editor, his usual objectivity was quite watered down.
I did not say, nor do I believe, that lust is associated ONLY with gay people. I tried only to point out that it is at least one of the most powerful motivators of human emotions — for good or not.  If Laitres feels it is not part of the homosexual condition, I’d think that is the case he might make.
Even the universally accepted distinction between “rank” and “rate” are apt to become loosened under certain conditions, including, especially, combat.  Good friends can be a distinct asset in selected cases, but a pair of lovers could very well result in disaster for the whole unit.

In reference to his fifth paragraph regarding my claim that very few of the military I know would PREFER to serve in mixed or all gay units rather than all-straight units, why not just ask the question of as many of both groups as possible? See if it tells anything. Just try to know which group you are asking.

Regarding his last paragraph, even Laitres must agree that any semblance of required demonstration of “equality for others” between seaman and admiral or private and general, in all things military is imaginary window dressing at best! And, I believe, that’s as it MUST be
Ray Lashley
Grand Junction

Penry and Salazar
kick the can down road

In his column of Dec. 31, Josh Penry makes so bold as to share some predictions for 2011. His first prediction, that earmarks will disappear, is by far the wildest of the lot.

As an NPR analyst concluded, earmarks will disappear, but will live on under another name. You can entertain yourself trying to conjure up the sobriquet under which they will arise from the swamp

On the same page former Congressman John Salazar gives his swan song, which consists of enumerating the earmarks which he worked tirelessly to secure for the deserving people of Colorado

Incredibly, on this same page we have an editorial lauding the selfless public servants, including the two aforementioned, who put themselves through the “public-service ringer” to assure us of freedom and the pursuit of happiness. A dedication so overwhelming that they will do most anything to get re-elected.

Even in moments of doubt, fear not, for we have the best politicians money can buy. No wonder they are world champs at the game of “kicking the can down the road.”
Jim Thayer
Grand Junction

Obama has increased debt
much faster than Bush did

Here are some point to ponder:

Capitol Hill Democrats rejoice in telling everyone how President George W. Bush increased the national debt. Let’s analyze some figures that are available from TreasuryDirect.Gov on the Internet.

On Election Day, at the end of President Clinton’s last year in office, the national debt was $5.674,178,209,886.

On Election Day, after FOUR years of Bush and a Republican Congress, the debt was $7,379,052,096,330 (+$1.7 trillion).

On Election Day, after FOUR years of Bush and a Democratic Congress, the debt was $10,024,724,896,912 (+$2.6 trillion).

On Election Day, after TWO years of President Barack Obama and a Democratic Congress, the debt was $13,561,623,030,891 (+ $3.5 trillion).

Apparently, the national debt went up $4.35 trillion in the eight years Bush was in office. Using the same Treasury Direct figures, our national debt went up $3.54 trillion dollars in only two years of the Obama administration. If things are allowed to continue at the same pace, Obama’s administration will add at least $14.15 trillion MORE, doubling our debt, if he is in office for eight years.

National bankruptcy and/or awful inflation is coming if we don’t immediately get a grip on spending and budget deficits.
Barry Lindstrom.

There’s more to be done
on pay equity for women

The American Association of University Women, Grand Junction Branch, would like to commend The Daily Sentinel on its recent series of articles on women in the community and pay equity. It must be noted that there is still work to be done on the issue of pay equity.

In 2009, women with college educations in Colorado earned 79.3 percent of what men earned. In 10 years, the pay gap for women widens even more and, over a lifetime, women earn $1.2 million dollars less than men, on average Women who do not have a college education and women of color will earn even less.

To address the pay gap, AAUW has partnered with the WAGE Project to present $tart $mart workshops on college campuses around the country. These workshops empower young women starting their careers to avoid the gender wage gap and teach them to benchmark and negotiate for fair and equitable salaries upon graduation.

AAUW also supports passage of the Pay Equity Act in Congress to work toward closing the pay gap.

AAUW continues to conduct research in areas that affect girls and women with the most recent research being: “Why So Few? Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.” This research presents evidence that social and environmental factors contribute to the underrepresentation of women and girls in these fields.

To learn more about these issues and other research AAUW has conducted go to http://www.aauw.org.

Locally, AAUW offers scholarships for women returning to complete their education at Mesa State College and for women in non-traditional fields at Western Colorado Community College. 

Marilyn Zimmerman, President
AAUW, Grand Junction Branch
Grand Junction

Monument fireworks were
worse than a bicycle race

I have to say that the folks running Colorado National Monument have me a bit confused these days. I attended the New Year’s Eve fireworks display and I can’t see how a thousand people stomping around the visitor’s center and the setting off of bright explosions is consistent with the Park Service’s mandate to preserve and protect the monument.

It is especially ironic that this event occurred just days after the superintendent of the monument announced that a return of the Tour of the Moon stage of a major bicycle race would not be permitted, since such an event would adversely affect the monument.

First, I don’t see how a bicycle race would be any more disruptive to the monument than the typical summer tourist traffic. Second, how could a bike race be anywhere near as harmful to the ecology of the monument as the setting off of loud explosions and the showering Monument Canyon with bits of flaming cardboard debris the middle of winter? So much for anything trying to hibernate.
One thing a major bicycle race would provide is a short- and long-term (and much needed) boost to our local economy. Unlike the Coors Classic of two decades ago, this race would be televised nationally and internationally. Potential tourists from all over the country and in Europe would have a chance to see the spectacular sights in and around our city, and perhaps decide to come out to see them up close.

The monument’s fireworks display, on the other hand, provided nothing in the way of an economic boost, unless you count the money the monument wasted on bus rentals.
John Hodge
Grand Junction


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