Wally world: I find it interesting that in Patricia Calhoun's "The Apes of Wrath" piece in the January 15 issue, she wrote that she had never before visited a Wal-Mart. That seems hard to believe! I always find it interesting that people condemn every Wal-Mart that is built and complain about all of the "successful" businesses in the area that will soon go out of business once the store opens.
As Calhoun saw from her "first"-ever visit to Wal-Mart, they are never hurting for customers. This after most of the neighborhood swore they would never shop there!
Yes, it would be nice if we didn't have to have so many Wal-Marts and if neighborhood retailers could give us everything we want at affordable prices, but most of us are glad to go to Wal-Mart at 2 a.m. for cough syrup or to put the kids' Christmas presents on layaway in October.
It is also true that the neighborhood on Alameda will be vastly improved by the development that will follow Wal-Mart. It sure beats the still-empty Organ Grinder eyesore!
Fair or foul? I was appalled to read Eric Dexheimer's "The Bite Stuff," his January 15 column on coyote hunting. Oscar Wilde once described fox hunting as "the inexcusable in pursuit of the inedible." His words still apply.
Dexheimer errs in describing the "mask" as the head of the animal. In fact, it is the face of the animal killed by the dogs, then cut off and awarded to the first on the scene. Such barbaric actions should have no place in our society. Fox hunting and its Western equivalent, coyote hunting, are descendants of upper-class English traditions. They should have been discarded along with the Tories when we kicked the Brits out of America. Someone once described the British upper class as having three main vices: riding to hounds, flagellation and cross-dressing. I don't mind the last two, but the first is just not acceptable.
Dexheimer writes of 130 mounted people and a pack of hounds in pursuit of a single coyote. Ever hear of fair play?
Mind over gray matter: Regarding Jason Sheehan's "Brain Drain," in the January 15 issue:
It's jackasses like Sheehan who make jokes about CJD (without even knowing what they're talking about) who get this disease. He thinks a large portion of fermented agave mash is going to cover him? He should know that the prions that cause CJD are basically immortal, meaning no matter how ill-faced he gets on his tequila, it is of no consequence to them. Radiation does not even kill them.
The link, www.ninds.nih.gov, has all kinds of information he might be interested in. Or not: Maybe Sheehan would rather just remain ignorant and keep right on eating his nice, healthy doses of gray matter. Up to him. I'm just striving for a more educated civilization.
via the Internet
Trans aim: We want to thank you for Laura Bond's "Man of the Hose," in the January 8 issue, regarding Studio Lites and the trans community here in Denver. We were expecting yet another bashing or circus-like portrayal of our community, but were pleasantly surprised. If you ever decide to follow it up and take a look at married couples in the community, we are both professional and are not your typical trans couple, as you might see from this picture. Again, thanks for your thoughtful article.
Heather and Daphne Starr
Mars attacks: Cartoonist Derf's weak attempts at satire would work better if there was an ounce of truth at its heart. His January 15 The City, about dumping uncounted Florida ballots on Mars, left me puzzled. Three recounts prior to the Supreme Court's order of "Enough already!" and several news organizations' recounts in the following months would surely have turned up all of the possible ballots, even those created by poll workers (read: hanging chads and double votes).
Then it occurred to me: Derf's missing ballots must be referring to those ballots of several thousand military service people that came via military mail from ships and the far reaches of the globe and were declared invalid by Florida Democrat precinct bosses because 1) they did not have postmarks, and 2) they were likely to vote Republican. So Derf has unwittingly found the truth to make his satire work, but it's still not funny. Even the Democratic Party house organ, the New York Times, admits that Gore lost Florida. Get over it.
Drill will: Ken Wonstolen's attack on wilderness protection in the January 15 Letters column deserves a response. Ken and the Bush administration exaggerate the natural-gas potential of public land by ignoring the financial and environmental costs of extracting the gas -- as well as the negative impacts to our quality of life and our economy. Coloradans are not interested in hunting, fishing, hiking, biking, driving or camping near drilling rigs, noisy gas compressors or smelly waste pits. Yes, Ken, some places are just too wild to drill.
While demand for natural gas has been flat, consumers have suffered from two price spikes. The government has concluded that price manipulation occurred, and the current spike in natural-gas prices is under investigation for market manipulation.
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Ken bemoans the rapid decline in gas-well productivity as justification to drill more wells, ignoring the law of diminishing marginal returns. Rather than subsidizing more low-productivity wells in search of a depleting resource, we should stretch our proven gas reserves by investing in energy conservation and efficiency and diversify our energy portfolio with renewable energy sources like wind, solar and bio-fuels. Conservation combined with competition from renewable energy reduces the demand for natural gas, resulting in lower prices for consumers. Simple efficiency measures can permanently reduce utility bills, while drilling marginal gas wells results in, at most, a temporary cost savings for consumers.
With a ten-year supply of gas in proven reserves and tens of millions of acres under lease, there is no need to expedite drilling in pristine areas. We need a better understanding of the cumulative environmental impacts on our air, water and Western landscape from the current drilling boom. We need an honest assessment of the economics, including the negative impacts of reducing environmental protection on our tourism, ranching, recreation, hunting, fishing and quality-of-life-based economy. These are not unreasonable concerns or requests.
The Wilderness Society