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Thursday, July 1,2010

Letters | Sarah Palin is not all that


The June 24 cover story, “A sobering look at Tom Carr,” quoted City of Boulder spokesperson Patrick von Keyserling as saying that a state liquor authority decides whether to grant liquor licenses. Actually, as the subsequent paragraph states, that function is performed by a city licensing authority. Liquor laws on things such as bar operating hours are set by the state, while the city attorney can influence things like where bars operate by working with City Council on zoning changes. The district attorney, not the city attorney, handles the vast majority of alcohol-related prosecutions.

Sarah Palin is not all that

(Re: “What would Sarah do?” Danish Plan, June 17.) The writer of this article makes some good points on what should have been done immediately after the explosion.

I think Obama should have done these things and still should, but I think the writer has given Sarah way, way, way too much credit. Obviously the writer has some insight as far as problems solving this crisis, but apparently, never heard her open her mouth or make an attempt to answer an intelligent question. Maybe the writer should be advising Obama, not puffing up Palin.

Andrew MacLean/Boulder

Revising Israel’s history

(Re: “Piling on Thomas,” Letters, June 17.) Mr. [Robert] Porath’s defense of Helen Thomas’s racist comments conveniently ignores historical facts, as revisionists are inclined to do today.

How far back do you want to go to determine whose land is the sliver of territory legitimately established as the nation of Israel? This land has been settled by Jews for thousands of years. It was originally part of Caanan, which the Jews conquered after escaping Egypt, but it was later subdivided and called Judea (land of the Jews — get it?).

In the second century, in response to several rebellions against Roman rule by the Jews living there, most of those Jews were either slaughtered or expelled to the far reaches of the Roman Empire. The thousands that remained were mostly enslaved initially, but still continued to live there. The angered Emperor Hadrian wanted to blot out any reference to Judea, so he renamed the area Provencia Syria Palestina, later shortened to Palestine. This word had its origins from the word Philistine, a non-Arab people possibly of Greek origin who had invaded and conquered the Jews there much earlier. The Philistines were absolutely despised by the Jews, and this name Palestine was given as punishment for the Jewish revolts.

This land was continuously settled by Jews for at least two thousand years before Christ and has always remained so. The arrival of Arabs to the area is a more recent development, relatively speaking, and those Arabs were not known as Palestinians until Israel was established in 1948. This name was added to the rallying cry for the recent claim they are making to the land. The Arabs have never had a sovereign nation there.

So who are the real denizens of this land? As usual — take our own country for instance, or the Australians, or almost any country, for that matter — one group of people immigrates and acquires the land through force or purchase, then continues to do so until they are in the majority. Israel is now forced to defend herself against those that would repeat the cycle.

Gary Gansar/Niwot

Where are CU’s priorities?

The CU administration intends to ask the state for $31.7 million over the next two years to build a fifth wing on its new biotech center.

Meanwhile: More cuts to resident instruction loom. Academic programs suffer as CU’s faculty and staff are squeezed for more work on frozen salaries. Critical thinking is eliminated from the University’s once-exceptional liberal arts core curriculum, ostensibly to save money. Several non-tenured faculty and staff positions are eliminated. Student fees now pay for academic buildings. Students attend larger classes, have fewer course choices, endure reduced services and must absorb a large tuition increase next year as available financial aid dwindles.

If the state can afford to build a new eight-figure facility for the biotech industry, it certainly can fund resident instruction. What I see happening in Colorado higher education, and at CU particularly, suggests to me that the mission of public higher education in Colorado is morphing from education and the advancement of knowledge in the classical sense to the development of inventions and intellectual property for the benefit of multinational corporations, and to the provision of a highly skilled, lightly educated, uncritical and generally compliant worker force.

I am discouraged, demoralized and disgusted at this situation. Though I am not alone in my assessment, few are willing to speak out for fear of losing their jobs. I would like to know if the Democratic Party leadership intends to question the evident hijacking of our higher ed institutions for the benefit of a narrow set of business interests and at the expense of quality undergraduate instruction, faculty and staff well-being, and those capable students who will never be able to obtain a college degree, much less the opportunities that such an education affords.

I would appreciate some reflection on this sorry state as the legislature debates whether to support resident instruction or to increasingly subsidize corporate profits by exploiting what was once a public institution dedicated to the betterment of the whole of society.

Ken Bonetti/Boulder

Don’t whine

For decades, we have rejected plans to produce energy. We blocked drilling and mining due to potential environmental risks. We blocked “wind farms,” an alleged threat to birds. We blocked solar arrays occupying too much open land. We blocked power plants, whether fueled by coal (pollution and a carbon fuel), natural gas (another carbon fuel), or nuclear (horrors!). No production yields no energy.

At the same time, we acquired evermore-energy-consuming tools, toys and gadgets. Even “energy-efficient” gizmos use energy. Even “rechargeable” devices plug into the power grid.

Do the math. Elementary economics demonstrates that the cost of anything rises when the supply diminishes or the demand increases. Foolishly, we both thwarted energy production and boosted energy consumption. The predictable result: high cost.

So don’t whine. We brought it on ourselves. Energy won’t become affordable until we act responsibly.

Peg Brady/Centennial

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