Letters to the Editor

From the week of January 27, 2005

Uncle Tomahawk

Beating the drum: In the January 20 Off Limits, Tom Tancredo is asked by the interviewer, "Any truth to the rumor that you're going to declare yourself Native American?" To which he replies, in part, "I'm calling myself Tom Tom Tancredo. And I came up with that all by myself."

Yow. I guess he thinks that's funny, but I recall reading an interview with him in one of the dailies a couple of years ago. He was going to march in the Columbus Day parade, and he was insisting that he would only march if they didn't capitulate to the Indian groups that wanted the name changed. And in a rant in the Rocky Mountain News last year against what he called "radical multiculturalists," he referred to North America as the "New World" -- which is, of course, how the European colonizers/occupiers thought of it.

Of course, North America is a very old world, and there were millions of folks already here when Columbus and crew arrived and proceeded to take the gold and land, and kill, often by incredibly bestial tortures, most of the native inhabitants they encountered. So by my way of thinking, Tancredo has no right, even in jest, to suggest any sort of kinship with the Indians. It's obvious from what I've read that he is more sympathetic to the invaders. Thus I think a nickname like "Dumb Dumb," or maybe even "Dik Dik," would be much more appropriate, don't you?

Neil Haverstick
Lakewood


Of Mouse and Holthouse

Skull session: David Holthouse did a great job on Rob Ramey with "Building a Better Mousetrap," in the January 20 issue. I never imagined a leftie pinko paper like yours would play a story on scientific integrity with such journalistic integrity.

Even libertarians such as myself would be willing to make changes in our lifestyles if and when the science justifying those changes is credible. Building a mini-consulting industry and a political empire upon three skulls and eleven skins is not justified.

Anyway, good work.

Dave Skinner
Whitefish, Montana

Lacking support: As a scientist who has studied the genetics of endangered animals and questioned Rob Ramey's conclusions on the Preble's Meadow Jumping Mouse, I was stunned by David Holthouse's recent article and its inadequate portrayal of the scientific community's response. Ramey's research may sound sophisticated, but many of his peers, including myself, have strongly criticized his work (see reviews of Ramey's work at http://mountain-prairie.fws.gov/preble/#news and in the August 1 Daily Camera). In my opinion, Ramey's conclusions extend far beyond what can be adequately supported by the data. Ramey claims he'll go "to the mat" to defend his conclusions, yet he refuses to make his data -- paid for by tax dollars -- public, and has not subjected his science to standard peer review. Ramey's call to "update the ESA to meet today's scientific standards" echoes hollow, since he himself failed to apply the high standards that scientists currently use to assess the taxonomic status of species.

Holthouse's highly biased perspective on the important issue of endangered species suggests that Ramey isn't the only one with standards that fail to meet general expectations.

Andrew Martin
Associate Professor of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
University of Colorado at Boulder

The write stuff: I get Outside magazine e-mailed to me, and since I was in a hurry and focusing more on what I was reading and not where, I literally thought I was reading an Outside article when I read David Holthouse's "Building a Better Mousetrap" on the web. At the end of the article, I saw I was in fact reading Westword. I've read Westword for about twelve years and Outside about forever. What I want to say is that this story was outstanding in its own right, but is worthy of the highest outdoor writing standards, including Outside when it's not selling clothing and such.

A pleasant surprise from Westword. Good work, and thanks for a well-written, informative article.

Bill Skaggs
via the Internet

Correction: In David Holthouse's "Building a Better Mousetrap," published in the January 20 issue, comments were incorrectly attributed to Michael Harris, chief legal counsel for Earthjustice. Although Harris was a member of the panel that discussed the proposed Preble's jumping mouse delisting, the comments were actually made by Jacob Smith, founder and director of the Center for Native Ecosystems. We apologize for the error.


The Ride Stuff

Wheel life tragedy: I read with much angst and sympathy Luke Turf's article "The Ride of Their Lives," in the January 13 issue. That was a tragedy that no family should have to go through.

Most bikers I've seen on the roads are very careful riders, and I respect that. However, there are exceptions. Some of them weave in and out of traffic at very high rates of speed and also tailgate. They have to pay attention, too.

The bikes that I am mainly concerned with are the smaller sports bikes that have a loud, almost "buzzing" sound and can be very distracting. They seem to come out of nowhere and cut in front of me, causing me to slam on my brakes. One time, a whole "gang" of them came screeching around a curve, encircling my car and almost daring me to hit them. I've never experienced anything like that before, and it scared me to death!

Let's just hope that both worlds -- cars and motorcycles alike -- can come together and be more careful and considerate of each other on the roads.

Rosemary McManis
Denver

The people next door: Thank you for a wonderful article about the LaFore family. We used to live next door to Mike's mom and dad on Yates Street from 1978 to 1990, when we moved to Georgia. We got to see the LaFore kids grow up, and our boys, Garrett and Brandon, grew up with them. We were saddened and shocked when we heard that Mike, Chris and Sarah had lost Christian, then stunned when the same thing happened to Jason. We can certainly attest to all that was said in Luke Turf's article. The LaFores are a really fine family. It would be a better world if more people were like them.

Wayne and Teresa Phillips
Douglasville, Georgia


The Pile High City

An open invitation: In Michael Roberts's "On a Wave," in the January 20 issue, he omitted mention of the two most important aspects of this deluge of newspapers.

First, it places an obligation, unwanted and unlooked for, of going outside and picking something up that you have not asked for. Surely this falls under the "no-call" legislation that applies to telemarketers? In fact, I believe this is an attempt to circumvent this legislation.

Second, and perhaps most important, it results in newspapers piling up outside -- since, if you haven't ordered them, how the hell do you know they are being delivered? Many people go in and out of their homes through the garage and never bother to look at the front pathway, or wherever they are deposited. This results in a pile of newspapers, giving the impression that the place is unoccupied and thus an invitation for break-ins.

And what if you are away, anyway? All advice in the travel sections of papers says to be sure to cancel your newspapers before traveling. If this offer were made through the mail and only delivered with your positive response, then it would make sense. As it is, I consider this a grave invasion of privacy. And if burglars break in, thinking a place is unoccupied because there is a pile of newspapers outside, and somebody gets hurt, who is responsible?

George Armstrong
via the Internet

Junk mail: I agree with Marie Kurth: If I didn't subscribe to a given newspaper; if I didn't request a copy of a given newspaper, I do not want to find it on my property, with due reason and cause: Neither the Denver Post nor the Rocky Mountain News, along with a substantial number of newspapers in Colorado, are worth the paper they are printed on. Not that those responsible for the publication of these newspapers actually care what I, Marie Kurth or anyone else who doesn't work for them or agree with them thinks. We are, as one employee of the Post recently told me, inches from my face, "not worth a damn."

James C. Hess
via the Internet

No free lunch: I have long had a problem with the Denver Post's "free paper" programs. Years ago, I subscribed to the Sunday edition, which then became the "weekend" edition, with papers on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. If my delivery had been limited to those days, I would have been okay. But as I traveled on business, the extraneous papers arriving during the week advertised my absence. Nothing like returning from a week on the road to find several papers on your doorstep. They also frequently ignored "vacation holds" when I had longer trips. So I canceled! Every few years, I would try again, with the same results.

When my job changed, I started subscribing to the Rocky Mountain News. I still had some travel, but they were quite willing to stop delivery upon request. Then came the joint operating agreement between the Denver Post and the Rocky Mountain News, forming the Denver Newspaper Agency. Vacation holds once again became meaningless. So again, I canceled!

I have not subscribed to any paper for several years. But I keep having papers arrive at my doorstep. I've called the police about the litter, but since the DNA is providing a service/product, they're not covered by litter or soliciting laws. I've called the DNA several times to complain. And deliveries would stop for a while, only to begin again. The last time I called, I was informed that they would put me on a never-deliver list but that my name would be removed in one year, just like the do-not-call list.

I mentioned their liability for announcing my absence to burglars, but the DNA felt the revenue generated by the advertising issues exceeded their risk.

Steve Shapland
Aurora


Fox in the Penhouse

Leaf him alone: Regarding Michael Roberts's "New Leaf," in the January 13 issue:

I almost choked on a chicken finger when I read the article on Charles Leaf. I happened to be working at WPMI in Mobile when both incidents happened. Not only does this guy have a violent hair-trigger temper, but he's a liar -- and a bad one. The police were called to the TV station after several of Leaf's (and my) co-workers witnessed him punching and choking a photographer. Why he wasn't fired for that one is beyond me. Hmmm, funny how the tape that was supposed to show what really happened was recorded over. Finally, he was fired after another victim of his aggression filed suit against the station and Clear Channel. Trust me, there was no amicable sendoff for him. He walked in ready to go chase another hot lead, and his desk was being cleaned out. Surprise!

I am not shocked to hear of more drama in Detroit involving Leaf. I just wonder what's going to happen next. Stay tuned, folks!

Name withheld on request

Avoiding trouble: As Kirk told Khan, "You keep missing the target!" Wonderful that Westword's media watchdog, Michael Roberts, is yapping at some oafish, lawsuit-magnet hot-dog new hire over at Fox 31's Mod Squad. But isn't that sorta like casting at a disinterested carp ten yards downstream while a hungry seventeen-inch rainbow nips at your piggies?

Roberts closes with an obsequious appeal to keep in mind that Boss Hogg's got no input in who gets hired by the station to ride shotgun in the Troublemobile. Hmmm...maybe Roberts is bucking for a spot in the back seat?

JM Schell
Arvada

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