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From the week of October 30, 2003

Frank Cavanaugh
via the Internet

Trick or treatment:Thanks for writing about the horrible Colorado workers' compensation system. The administrative trial system for workers' comp is equally bad. I was fired after calling in sick and reporting a back injury; I was subsequently denied treatment. Because the workers' comp laws and procedures are so complex, I had to hire an attorney to represent me.

In Colorado, the burden of proof at workers' comp hearings is on the worker, who has limited resources, and the process is tilted heavily in favor of the employer's insurance company, which has unlimited resources. So workers have an uphill fight to prove their claim. I ended up losing the trial, and now I'm appealing the decision. My attorney was pretty worthless. I could sue him for malpractice, but I don't have the money. I feel that the workers' compensation laws need to be repealed. Let workers sue their employers in court. That would be better than not having any chance of medical treatment for my herniated disk.

Funny, the Republican lawmakers just repealed the no-fault auto-insurance law in Colorado, and now people in auto accidents have to go back to the courts to settle claims. I wonder why the Republican lawmakers won't extend that process to workers who have accidents at work.

Employers have a great deal here in Colorado!

Bob Moser
Littleton

On-the-job injuries:My wife works for Pinnacol Assurance. I can tell you that the people work really hard there; it is the upper management that has all of those perks. If you look into the company a little closer, you will see that the employees do a good job, but the upper management pats itself on the back with all of those bonuses. They aren't just hurting the workers who make workers' comp claims, but also their own employees.

Name withheld on request


He's Good Enough...

Feat of clay:After reading in the October 16 Off Limits about Bill O'Reilly and Al Franken engaging in a near pit fight, I wonder one thing: Whatever happened to Celebrity Deathmatch? Maybe the Claymation series was becoming repetitive, trite and dull, like almost everything else in the media these days. Yet now the show would seem so appropriate.

I would love to put money on good 'ol Stuart Smalley to pummel O'Reilly's fat head in some highly entertaining celebrity boxing. Wouldn't you?

Peter Cohen
Golden


Jam and Dread

Who moved my cheese?Dave Herrera, your thoughts on the jam-band scene have merit, and I appreciate your willingness to explore (The Beatdown October 23). I would like to offer that Widespread Panic is quite different from the String Cheeses of the world. My background is Black Sabbath (the first five albums, when Ozzy wasn't a heavy-metal shill) and Zeppelin, with Skynyrd and the Allman Brothers thrown in.

Believe it or not, Panic sates my savage soul. It has some dirty, dirty music, and I feel it gets unfairly lumped into the hippie classification because of its jams and because some wookies had nowhere to go after Phish disbanded. The core following, however, is unmistakably Southern and educated, believe it or not. That doesn't mean you won't find some rednecks in the crowd. There are probably more Jack Daniel's bottles at a WSP show than there are dreadlocks at one of SCI's. The point is, its sound is not a mellow meandering mélange, as many think. In its purest form, it's ass-kicking Southern rock, and my hardcore roots are amply satisfied by the "heavy hippie" sounds of Widespread Panic.

Rick Gallagher
via the Internet

In a jam:It was only a matter of time before Westurd chimed in with a brilliantly scathing attack on jam bands and hippie music. Dave Herrera, take a page out of the current Music Critics for Dummies, copy it and throw your name on top. I wish I had a dollar for every "music critic" who whines and complains that all of his friends love jam bands, but gosh, he just doesn't get it. Lemme tell you, it ain't no big conspiracy to ostracize you from this music you so mock.

Now, I am not going to sit here and defend bands like local heroes String Cheese or Phish or the Dead, but what I want to know is why is the music so reviled? Reading and re-reading your astute observations, I have gleaned a handful of platitudes and nothing else. You get a weekly column in the local flesh-peddling alt-weekly that reaches a fairly large audience of the unwashed masses, and all you can conjure up at your Mac is "It's b-o-r-i-n-g"? Give me a break. Do some work.

The other beef I have with this piece of so-called journalism is all of the time spent talking about the fans of these bands. You do such a marvelous job of detailing your experiences in the scene, like an ethnographer studying chimps in the jungle. As a reader, should I care about how you feel about other music fans? Write about the music. It makes me wanna puke to know they are cutting down trees to print Westurd so you can tell the world your personal opinions about music fans of bands you dislike. Lemme ask you this: What music fans do you like? What concert did you go to recently where there weren't assholes wasted and/or talking the entire time?

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