Letters to the Editor

From the week of February 24. 2005

Ready for Blastoff

It's the Rael thing: Regarding Patricia Calhoun's "Space Case," in the February 17 issue:

Mr. Roehr's evaluation of the whole Ward Churchill controversy is really right on the money. It couldn't have been expressed more clearly -- but once again, it seems that the media have to make fun of somebody's viewpoint just because he is not "mainstream," philosophically speaking. If you look at things from a rational perspective, between Darwin's Theory of Evolution, what the traditional churches tell us and what the Raelians say, the latter actually makes the most sense.

Thomas Kaenzig
via the Internet


Hip Replacement

Biased sources: Regarding Michael Roberts's "Hip Hope," in the February 10 issue:

Thank you so much for the warning about the vile shit my former employer will soon unleash on an unsuspecting public. I recently left the Denver Post after witnessing, over the last several years, some very troubling changes. For example, it's no longer the case that anyone really cares about integrity or conveying real information. Everything has to be sexed up somehow now. But what really makes me laugh are these forty-something guys who take over departments with no journalism background whatsoever and think they know "cool." (They repeat it over and over: "That's cool." "Can you take care of that? Cool.") To them, blogging and any intimation of oral sex or "diversity" is hip. Who cares about spelling errors or work ethic when there is cash to be made? (As proof, I advise you to take a look at the Post's website. Between pop-up advertising and nonsensical blogs and pathetic attempts at humor, it's nothing but recycled newspaper stories that always contain typos and spelling errors.)

All that recent lip service paid to a new ethical code is a bunch of shit. Jayson Blair isn't the problem -- it's the willingness of the money-grubbing, misogynist whores at the top to sell out that is. How come that isn't addressed in the meaningless staff meetings? I've seen plenty of good people get beaten down to submit to this type of thing, and you know what? The reading public suffers. If Bias actually somehow makes it in this market, we will know the end is here. But hey, at least the two dailies will actually deliver the news (that rape and murder are hilarious) for a change!

In the words of spokesman Jim Nolan, "Peace!"

Name withheld on request


To Preserve and Protect

Contempt of Court: Regarding Alan Prendergast's "Beyond Contempt," in the February 10 issue:

Wow! This is the best exposé on the abuses of the "child protection" services and the corrupt courts that I've ever read in a newspaper. I've known enough people who've had their families destroyed by the system to understand the gravity of the situation.

I have no children myself, but when I do, I plan on home birth, no vaccines, home-schooling and other practices not in the best interests of Big Brother. That gives me reason to fear intervention in my future family on the part of the state.

Hopefully by the time I have a family, enough people like Suzanne Shell will have helped put the arrogant, intrusive, abusive, invasive, bullying, corrupt, holier-than-thou, statist-collectivist, evil "child protection" services and their bed buddies of the courts in their place.

Rich Angell
Missoula, Montana

Watching the wait line: Court order now, maybe justice later.

It is time for the public to take notice of the real problem with our justice system as it pertains to children and families. As an attorney handling domestic-relations cases, I am shocked by the length of time needed to put families back on track, oftentimes with children bearing the brunt of our litigious nature.

Many people abuse the system, knowing that it will take months for the justice system to resolve their disputes. In the meantime, parenting time is lost, child support remains unpaid, and court orders are treated as nothing more than an empty promise of eventual judicial relief.

Too many families are harmed by the failure to fast-track domestic-relations cases. Without some intervention, we may be dealing with a world of adult children whose lives are intimately affected by the extent their families will go to to preserve their own interests.

Todd R. Whelan
Lakewood

Shell game: The relentless pursuit of Suzanne Shell by system legal eagles makes me wonder whether "Beyond Contempt" went far enough in exposing injustices in child-dependency-and-neglect proceedings. Alan Prendergast's excellent article did a good job of explaining the plight of impoverished single mothers fighting the Fremont County Department of Human Services for custody of their children, but the intensity and substance of statements from the agency's attorney, Rocco Meconi, and other insiders makes it pretty obvious that they fear what Ms. Shell represents. Why? As a social worker, I know how easily a family can become enmeshed in the child-protective system. The use of so-called "risk assessment" instruments can lead to children being forcibly removed from innocent families.

Perhaps it is time to move beyond holding in contempt the one advocate who stands up for these families, and investigate the fairness of child-dependency-and-neglect proceedings. Shell has gained the attention of parents nationwide because she has a lot to say, and she says it well. She empowers families who are outgunned by huge social-service agencies and their lawyers. That the legal eagles of Fremont County want Shell out of their sandbox should tell us something.

Douglas Quirmbach
Warrensburg, Missouri

Strike one: Any person who would condone the striking of a thirteen-year-old child -- any child for any reason -- with "a kind of cat-o'-nine-tails with leather straps" should be set adrift on a raft in the middle of the Pacific. This woman has zero credibility, and has no business having anything to do with children -- her own or anyone else's.

Joel Hailey
Denver

Power to the people: Suzanne Shell is not attracted to child-protective-services cases; the parental victims are attracted to her because out of all of those against them, no one is left to care but an advocate. The lawyers admit that the best way to get out of CPS cases is to not fight the quicksand. Doesn't that clearly show that CPS has unlimited power? And how dare Ms. Shell challenge that power?

Has it occurred to anyone that the cases Shell is involved with lose because the courts and CPS are adamant about showing parents everywhere that they will never win, especially if they seek outside help -- so stay clear of those interested in helping you (outside or inside) of the courtroom? There have to be parental legal advocates! It needs to be law. Lawyers are intimidated that parental advocates will help families for little or no money and do far more work than attorneys will waste their own time on.

I see the inside of Suzanne Shell's movement. I know what she is fighting, so I feel compelled to tell it like it is, as unbelievable as it is to the average family not touched by CPS -- yet.

Susan Harrison
Fallon, Nevada

Case closed: Thank you for taking an interest in Suzanne's crusade. Although I was introduced to her after our case was closed with Arapahoe County, she has always been a great source of support as we try to heal from the damages done by the system. Legislators fail to substantially correct the faults in the law that would protect children, and people like Suzanne are needed.

It is a shame that our college students do not aggressively pursue these injustices and the misappropriation of funds as they do Mr. Churchill's essays.

Julia Morgan
Denver


From Free Speech to Smoke-Free

Don't be an ash: Two columns in your February 3 issue -- Dave Herrera's Beatdown and Jason Sheehan's Bite Me -- make light of the effects of smoking in public places in Denver. Both authors take a cavalier and adolescent tone as they scoff at the idea that Denver, like many of its sister cities in Europe, California, New York and even Colorado, will soon be "smoke-free."

Sheehan himself points out that while the Minturn Saloon is betting on a "smoking and drinking crowd," longtime restaurateurs, such as the owners of Racines, know better. Even the Buckhorn Exchange has gone smoke-free. These proprietors must take to heart the facts that prove secondhand smoke is the third leading cause of preventable death in this country, killing 53,000 non-smokers in the U.S. each year. These are restaurant owners who count on their dollars, as well as the well-being of their patrons and workers.

Herrera cites the owner of Rock Island, David Clamage, a non-smoker but a "businessman" who is fearful of the impact that smoke-free Denver would have on his business. Surely, Clamage has seen the statistics from all over the country that show sales receipts in restaurants and bars have increased after the enactment of a smoking ban. My bet would be that Rock Island will rock on through the years in a smoke-free environment. As a businessman in the entertainment industry, Clamage might be surprised to hear from the entertainers themselves who would prefer to play in a smoke-free venue.

Craig Steinmetz
Denver


Take a Letter

Critic's choice: I was very disappointed to read Richard Bom's letter in the February 10 issue bashing Jason Heller for his review of Ani DiFranco's Knuckle Down. Although I like the little I have heard from the new record -- yes, Richard, thanks to XM Radio, Ani does enjoy fairly regular rotation on the satellite these days --Jason is certainly entitled to his opinion. Mr. Bom should know that reviewers unavoidably bring their personal tastes to any critique. Over time, any intelligent reader should be able to discern whether or not a particular critic's views hold water for that reader. Any art form is subjective by its very nature.

Of course, Mr. Bom's response was not particularly surprising, as Ani's fans tend toward the fanatic --hanging on every lyric, every slap of the guitar, speculating on all aspects of her life, from her sexual orientation to the length of her armpit hair (true story!).

What was surprising, however, and wholly inappropriate in my opinion, was Bom's lampooning of "you music critics, people who lack any creative ability...." I do not know Jason personally, but I did happen to bump into him once. His band, Red Cloud, was recording in the studio next door to my session. The very creative and hauntingly honest music coming out of their room compelled me to come over and see who was responsible and pay my compliments.

In the future, I would hope that Mr. Bom would be content to enjoy Ani DiFranco's music without the need for validation from every music critic out there, and that he might refrain from slinging insults at those who do not share his enthusiasm.

Everett Moran
Denver

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