Letters to the Editor
Strike while the irony's hot: I have always enjoyed the wit, satire, biting humor and irony of Westword.
But with the October 26 "MyRace.com," you really outdid yourselves. I can't stop laughing! I will frame the pictures of Bob Beauprez and Bill Ritter, so whenever I need a good laugh...
Party on, dude! MyRace.com was a wonderful idea, particularly since you made Ritter and Beauprez look like the jackasses they are. If taken a bit more seriously, this could be an incredible tool for third-party candidates. I am a supporter of Dawn Winkler, and it has sickened me how little press she, or any third-party candidates, get. People need to know there is more out there than the Democrats and Republicans. If we really want to change our world, we have to get out of our "two-choice" rut. This should start with the press. People listen to what the press has to say. You have an influential newspaper. Use it to let the people know that there are more than two ways to vote this election. In my eyes, it is your responsibility to do so.
The boogie man: Derf does it again with the sendup of Cheney in the October 26 The City. I always thought they scheduled elections right after Halloween to scare people into voting Republican! Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha!
Ghost buster: Regarding the October 26 Off Limits ("A Real Ghost Story"):
Westword, I might have guessed something stupid or sarcastic would come down through your ink about the tragedy at Platte Canyon High. A "real ghost story"? Give me a break.
Jockeying for position: Regarding Adam Cayton-Holland's "What's in a Name?," in the October 26 issue:
So Genevieve Babcock-Elder denies everything but the "camel jockey" quote? Looking at the evidence, I believe quite simply that she is a liar. Exhibit A: The NACM conference, where she gave a talk about how she made it so he couldn't get a bank account due to his possible terrorist ties. Exhibit B: The bank teller who denied him admitting that Babcock-Elder's phone conversation and fax referred to terrorist connections. Not too difficult to draw the conclusion that she's a racist and a liar.
Her attorney's statement that it's telling that Qusair Mohamedbhai actually went public (gasp!) is nothing more or less than a red herring. Counselor, your client has potentially screwed up this man's life. In the future, who knows when a Homeland Security hack may decide to hassle him -- based on her stupidity? Too bad it's probably too late for her to grow a brain.
Oh, now I'm gonna be a suspect in the JonBenét Ramsey case!
Foxes in the henhouse: I must be getting old. When I was in school, we were taught that our species consisted of three races: Asian, Caucasian and African. Islam, Judaism and Christianity are religions, not races. Latinos are not a race, but an ethnic group. When someone argues against Israel, he or she is neither racist nor anti-Semitic. Israel is a country, and Jews are not alone in their claim to be Semitic. When our news media continues to mislabel the facts (once, I actually heard a news anchor label a pro-Palestinian man an anti-Semite, and it seems that every December 7, some moron thinks it is the anniversary of the beginning of WWII), we are not only misinformed, but prone to stupid actions based on that misinformation.
It is stupid and shameful what happened to Mr. Mohamedbhai, and indicative of how ignorant the people of the United States of America have become. We fear the chickens in the henhouse and elect the foxes to the White House -- and damn stupid foxes, sometimes. The news media needs to do a better job of reporting the facts, and maybe our nation will be stronger as a result.
Cure for the common cult: I love Patricia Calhoun's consistent play on words. In that vein/vain, I thought about the Colts this past weekend. Football is such a cult sport: men acting stupid and millions of people paying lots of money to watch them. Her October 26 column on Andrew Lee, "Play Bawl," was great. Wow! What an astonishing kid with an astonishing, great idea!
Thanks for all that you do.
The shame game: I read with interest Patricia Calhoun's "Tabloid Nation," her column in the October 19 issue, about what has been going on with John Mark Karr since his return to the U.S. from Thailand. What a pathetic little man he is. How embarrassing for his family.
But who should really be embarrassed? How many people tuned in to watch the debacle presented by the media? Who wasn't on the edge of their seats waiting to see what was going to happen next? I happened to drive by the Justice Center in Boulder while he was being held there. You'd have thought the Pope was visiting. There were satellite trucks from every network parked there. It was a true media circus with all the trimmings. But they were not there for Karr. They were there for us, the tabloid-news-starved people of our society.
Shame on us for making Karr a celebrity rather than letting him waste away into obscurity, where he belongs. If you don't think Karr is getting his kicks out of all of the attention, think again. He isn't a "private person," as he stated in his Larry King interview. A private person doesn't do what he has done. He is not only a liar, a child molester and a sociopath, he is someone who doesn't deserve our attention. Yet we buy the magazines. We watch the TV shows. We shouldn't, and that's as simple as it gets. There are a million other interesting things going on out there in the world. Let's see if the media can start focusing on some things that really matter. The media can inform and educate as well as entertain. We need to let them know we want something better.
True beauty: I was shocked when I opened the October 19 paper and saw Kayla Figueroa in Jessica Centers's "All Grown Up" article. I went to middle school and high school with Kayla, and we were friendly acquaintances. She is such a sweet person that I never would have guessed she had such a difficult home life. I have my own child, who looks to be about the same age as her son, and I wanted to send her all of my prayers and offer congratulations. She's a beautiful person, inside and out, and I hope she realizes that!
Building bridges: I am writing to commend Jessica Centers on her excellent "All Grown Up," about Bridging the Gap's efforts to help foster kids make lasting connections. As executive director of the Colorado Office of the Child's Representative (OCR), I was so impressed that she was able to capture the very essence of a critical problem. I especially appreciated her ability to articulate the true challenges these children face as they make the transition from foster care to their young adult life. The stories of Cabrini, Stephanie and Dannie represent many of the struggles that kids aging out of the child-welfare system must address.
Jessica showed sensitivity and courage in raising the public's awareness of a very real but rarely spoken-of issue with foster children as they struggle to become independent, responsible young adults in our society. Her article highlights how adults who form relationships with these young people can make a difference in their lives by simply believing in them. It truly represents the best ideals of good journalism -- raising the readers' awareness of important issues in our society in an honest, objective manner.
The OCR is a state agency responsible for over 250 attorneys who provide best-interest representation to children in Colorado's child-welfare system. Our attorneys, or Guardians ad Litem (GALs), are committed to connecting kids with programs like Chafee and Bridging the Gap. One of the most important ways to assist young people within the child-welfare system is to give them a voice in the court process. The OCR, along with the University of Colorado Law School, is sponsoring a two-day symposium, "Voices of Youth in the Courtroom: Is It Time for a Change?," November 9-10 at the CU Law School. As "All Grown Up" highlights so well, the system can only serve Colorado's children when it listens to them.Thank you for a pertinent and sensitive article.
Office of the Child's Representative
Coach class: In regard to Luke Turf's story on the PAL football league ("Special Teams," October 19), it has been noticed by other coaches as well as parents that there has been favoritism to the independent teams in regard to recruitment of players, and that several players as well as coaches are related to the referees -- or so it seems by the conversations, as well as the calls made by the refs.
It was also noticed that officials from PAL were at the game between the Hawks and Redskins. Coincidence?
Down and outhouse: I was driving downtown Sunday morning and witnessed two homeless folk peeing against a wall on Lawrence Street. Reading the October 12 "Mooers and Shakers" item in Off Limits concerning vandalism to downtown artwork, I was inspired to think that a solution to both situations is this: Why not place outhouses on each corner of the 16th Street Mall and let the rich and famous of our fine cowtown create masterpieces to their hearts' content? Each season would present new artistic challenges, and the walls of our fine city's buildings would be pee-free.
That's the ticket: Patrick Osborn's October 5 Drunk of the Week was fantastic. It brought back so many memories of camping out in Illinois to get good seats. I think Ticketmaster may have had competition back then. We didn't even have police to check on us. First in line got a sign-in sheet from the record-store manager and then was in charge (it was usually me!). We would do random checks throughout the night, and if you left, your name got crossed off the list. Lots of beer, food, music and good times were had back in the day. If you camped and were close to the front, you were pretty much guaranteed first ten rows.
Now you might not even get tickets. Scalpers and Ticketmaster have taken part of the fun out of concerts. Plus, they make it even more painful by charging such high fees for their "service." Ticketmaster and scalpers can suck it! (Very mature response, I know.) Thanks for writing the article.
In the original Latin: Gustavo's Arellano's October 19 column rings so true. There is certainly a lot of prejudice against Mexicans, no doubt about it, especially by the fair-skinned Hispanics and non-Hispanics of European ancestry. However, for every side of something, there is a flip side.
Consider this: I'm Italian-American and very aware and proud that Latin civilization came from Italy, yet when was the last time you saw, read or heard the term "Latin" or its masculine/feminine variations "Latino/Latina" apply to any culture other than Hispanic? We Italians rarely share in a cultural identity that came from our own land! And rarely do the other Latin-Europeans, such as French, Portuguese, Romanian.
I happen to feel very comfortable around most Hispanics. I've had many close friends who were Hispanic, including Mexican male friends and Cuban, Venezuelan, Colombian and Panamanian girlfriends, so I don't consider myself racist, but rather sort of a victim of reverse racism.
Just thought I'd put my perspective in, for what it's worth!
Riff and read: In the October 12 Ask a Mexican, Gustavo Arellano suggests that Henry Gómez of Florida is ripping him off by writing an Ask a Cuban-American column on his blog. C'mon, now. The Onion has given this concept its ironic pop-culture relevance by using it for surreal parodies for years. When I first saw Ask a Mexican, I was sure it was a riff on the Onion feature. In fact, a half-dozen pages along in the same issue of Westword, an ad uses the same shtick.
Great column, but give credit where due!
The treed amigos: In the October 5 Ask a Mexican, I wasn't too surprised to read the gentleman's view of what happened to him after getting into it with a Mexican man. But I tell ya, if I had to determine a man by his fighting skills, I'd say the man fought alone and the "boy" went to get his amigos.
Oh, by the way, the U.S. is in Iraq fighting for the rights of millions of illegal immigrants to enter this country daily, thank you very much.
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