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From the week of March 3, 2005

At least Denver tries to help. Proud to say I'm from there.

Herb Greasham
Phoenix, Arizona

Shame is the name of the game: If you're going to put names in "Payday," why don't you also put the name of the companies? Maybe, just maybe, if these companies had their names and phone numbers in Westword, some of your readers could help with a simple phone call.

Robert Romero
Denver


CU in the Crosshairs

It's academic:Regarding Michael Robert's "Mash-Up," his Message in the February 24 issue:

Isaiah Lechowit, president of the CU College Republicans, having missed out on the glorious heyday of McCarthyism, must be channeling former CU Regent Joe Coors, circa 1952, if Michael Roberts quotes him accurately. "Communist-oozing faculty" -- how unfortunate for the College Republicans that we no longer have the pre-1956 sedition laws so that "controversial" professors can quickly be purged. Lechowit's media-craving cries of "We want him (Churchill) out!" were quickly picked up by the Rocky Mountain News's David Kopel, inexplicably enjoying sacred-cow status as an arbiter of all that is "fair and balanced" in journalism, even though he has plenty of his own baggage, such as his continual reference to "Bill Clinton, serial rapist."

Rockyeditorial-page editor Vince Carroll, Denver's very own Inspector Javert, would rather not remember his own pre-Iraq invasion columns filled with exaggerations and outright falsehoods. But he's more than willing to let professors lose their jobs over controversial passages in essays that have nothing to do with their classroom duties.

If anyone thinks that the "reformers" will be satisfied with Ward Churchill's head, they are incredibly naive. Emboldened by that triumph, they would bring out their tape recorders to monitor every targeted professor's word, pick through decades-old essays and launch more purges. I doubt that the Young Republicans would find much to disagree with in this 1953 statement by J. Edgar Hoover at the height of the anti-academic hysteria: "Some professors have aided the Communist cause by tearing down respect for agencies of government, belittling tradition and moral custom and by creating doubts in the validity of the American way of life." They would rather not acknowledge that some of those traditions included overthrowing elected governments (Iran, Guatemala, Chile), as well as segregation and widespread hunger.

Educators, if you don't stand up for academic freedom now, you may be next on the list.

Robert Ellis
Aurora

He's got your yak:In the February 17 "Road Show," Westword's media critic posthumously taking Rocky Mountain News media critic Michael Tracey to the woodshed is like closing the sty door after Napoleon and Snowball are already sleeping in the main house. Say, if Bill O'Reilly is a "professional provocateur," what does that make a guy who calls anyone to the right of Noam Chomsky big fat liars who tell big fat lies?

If I didn't agree, it'd be hard to take Michael Roberts's criticism of Tracey seriously, coming as it does on the round heels of twenty column inches of obsequious fawning over fellow media lefties that leave the reader feeling as if he's occupying a seat recently vacated by Pee-Wee Herman. Is it news that Denver's "progressive" radio is hitting respectable numbers? Sure. Is it news that another lib (gee, ya think?) is joining the Air America lineup and marking the event by appearing at and (gasp!) filling a tiny theater in Boulder? I don't recall Roberts waxing giddy over Denver's AM 710 airing syndicated conservative yakker Laura Ingram, a former White House staffer who was in Denver Valentine's Day last, or a single word about former Secretary of Education (looks better on the ol' resumé than "forced to devolve into liberalism by his bread-winner wife") Bill Bennett, who regularly visits our flyover state.

Golly, I guess all radio yakkers are equal, but some are more equal.

JM Schell
Arvada


Ban on the Run

The smoking gun:In his letter published last week, when Craig Steinmetz chastised Jason Sheehan and Dave Herrera for comments regarding the encroaching nanny-state bans on smoking in restaurants and bars, he unwittingly disproved the need for such a ban. His letter declared that Racines and the Buckhorn Exchange are among many other popular venues such as Benny's and Dulcinea's 100th Monkey that have chosen to go smoke-free -- the key point being the free choice of business owners to decide how to run their establishments. If consumers wish to frequent non-smoking businesses, more power to them; the same right of smokers to frequent businesses that allow smoking seems equally fair. The market appears to be handling the smoking issue without draconian, one-size-fits-all government mandates.

City governments have bigger issues in which to designate limited resources than enforcing health fascists' pet projects -- like keeping serial rapists off the streets.

Mark Blaising
Denver

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