Longmont Times Call Noise Polls

As the Citizens for Quiet Skies (CFQS) quest to shut down, er, reduce Mile High Skydiving airplane noise to a reasonable level, comes to a head, I thought it would be interesting to compare two Times Call noise polls. The first took place in June of 2014, and the second (during the trial) happened in April of 2015.  The results of both polls are listed below:

June 2014 Results

screenshot-www.timescall.com 2015-04-24 23-58-55

April 2015 Results

screenshot-www.timescall.com 2015-04-24 23-58-32

CFQS frequently points out that in the June 2014 poll, “skydiving planes” had far and away the most votes of any other noise source in Longmont. Interestingly enough, skydiving planes was fairly low on the list until just before the poll closed, at which time the number of votes it received skyrocketed.The results were so suspect that the Times Call originally didn’t even include skydiving planes in the final listing, but under protest from Kim Gibbs at CFQS, they were later added but further down in the list, apparently where they would have been had the numbers not been padded (and it is obvious to anyone looking at it objectively that these results were fudged somehow).

A new poll was just conducted, and this time the numbers did not appear to be padded. Voting was certainly heavier, most likely as a result of the publicity the trial has been getting, but the results are pretty close to the June 2014 results…had the June 2014 results not been padded. And those results show what has been obvious to the vast majority of people for some time now, that skydiving plane noise is really only a big issue for a very small handful of people, and pretty far down the list of most annoying noises in Longmont.

So what else can be seen in this poll?  Two things stand out to me. First, the voting was much heavier this time, and I attribute that to the timing of poll and the immense unpopularity of CFQS and its cause. Second, and this is very telling, is that the number of votes for skydiving planes was nearly cut in HALF between June 2014 and the latest poll, IN SPITE of the trial publicity and the seemingly larger number of people who might now be more aware of any airplane noise than would have been a year ago and thus more likely to vote for it.

If everything from the June 2014 poll was legit, and if the CFQS cause was really that popular, the votes for skydiving planes should have also increased proportionally to the rest of the categories, but it ended up with much fewer votes. Clearly the June 2014 poll results were padded, and the April 2015 results are much more reflective of the current attitude of the population around Longmont.

The judge will rule soon whether or not CFQS has a legitimate legal argument against Mile High Skydiving, but public sentiment in Times Call articles has overwhelmingly suggested that they don’t. Now there is an accurate poll that puts that sentiment into statistical form. I wonder if CFQS will continue to reference the latest noise poll results as it argues that “thousands of people” think the noise is a problem. My guess is…not likely.

Citizens For Quiet Skies – Diagnosed

I’ve come across a couple Facebook pages that were created for the sole purpose of opposing Kimberly Gibbs and her Citizens for Quiet Skies campaign to eradicate airplane noise.  One is Citizens Against Citizens for Quiet Skies, and the other is Citizens for Noisy Skies.  A few interesting developments have been happening with the whole situation lately.

First, a letter that has been attributed to Ms. Gibbs has been made public:

Hello Mark,

Thanks for your email – I’ll be glad to add you to our distribution list.

However, I need to ask a favor from you. I need to know the real names of the following dropzone commenters and I believe you may have the answers.

sundevil777
stratostar
skyjumpinfool
RM1
theonlyski 

We can get the information with a subpoena but that will take more time and I need them now. This is your one and only opportunity to get crossed off the list of candidates to receive a deposition subpoena for the lawsuit. In addition, I am considering legal action against you personally. 

If you choose to provide their names I’ll need to hear from you no later than tomorrow morning. Things are moving quickly and I don’t have a lot of time to make a decision.

Thanks so much,
-Kim

This was posted by Mark Cochran, and if true, I think it has the potential to undermine Ms. Gibbs’ case substantially.  Many are going so far as to call it “blackmail” and “extortion”.  The courts may or may not agree, but this is another unfortunate instance of bad behavior on Ms. Gibbs’ part.

Another development is Ms. Gibbs’ posting of Facebook profile pictures of members of one of the above mentioned opposition groups. She even credits Free Range Longmont with highlighting the employers of several of them, which all work for Mile High Skydiving.  Why it would come as a surprise to anyone that employees of MHS would belong to a group that opposes Ms. Gibbs’ lawsuit is beyond me, but it isn’t too hard to miss one of FRL’s calling cards…the online posting of pictures of those with opposing viewpoints.  I’m still not exactly sure what she is trying to accomplish by posting those.

Finally, someone posted a link to the definition of “Querulant”.  From Wikipedia:

querulant (from the Latin querulus – “complaining”) is a person who obsessively feels wronged, particularly about minor causes of action. In particular the term is used for those who repeatedly petition authorities or pursue legal actions based on manifestly unfounded grounds. These applications include in particular complaints about petty offenses.

Querulant behavior is to be distinguished from either the obsessive pursuit of justice regarding major injustices, or the proportionate, reasonable, pursuit of justice regarding minor grievances. According to Mullen and Lester, the life of the querulant individual becomes consumed by their personal pursuit of justice in relation to minor grievances.[1]

In psychiatry, the terms querulous paranoia (Kraepelin, 1904)[2][1] and litigious paranoia[3] have been used to describe a paranoid condition which manifested itself in querulant behavior. The terms had until recently largely disappeared from the psychiatric literature, largely because they fell out of fashion after being misused to stigmatise the behavior of people seeking the resolution of valid grievances.[4] In the DSM-IV-TR, “querulous paranoia” is a subtype of the persecutory type ofdelusional disorder.[5] It also appears in ICD-10, under its Latin name Paranoia querulans, in section F22.8, “Other persistent delusional disorders”.[6]

Nevertheless, according to Lester et al. querulous behavior remains common, as shown in petitions to the courts and complaints organizations.[7] They state that “persistent complainants’ pursuit of vindication and retribution fits badly with complaints systems established to deliver reparation and compensation [and that] [t]hese complainants damaged the financial and social fabric of their own lives and frightened those dealing with their claims.”[7]

Ms. Gibbs, if you are reading this (or if someone who knows her is reading this), THIS describes you to a tee.  I don’t know what the treatment is, but maybe you can find it and get help.  I know she is being treated very harshly by many of those opposing her, but I say with the utmost sincerity that I truly believe she is suffering from a condition that is causing her to act the way she does.  I had mentioned in a prior post that I was impressed with how she has been handling those who’ve posted some nasty comments on her page, but I’m afraid things have digressed substantially since she formally announced her lawsuit, and her responses and behaviors have frequently moved out of the “to be commended” category in my opinion. 

Ms. Gibbs, it is time to end this, but not through the courts.  Your lawsuit has a next to zero chance of succeeding, and even if you succeed in getting implemented even half of what you are seeking, it would seem very naive to think that the harassment you are having to deal with now is going to stop.  I sincerely urge you to see a professional doctor/psychologist/psychiatrist and see if they might be able to help you cope with things.  Other than the coward remark you made about my blog (which sounds like something my friend at FRL would have put you up to saying), you’ve never attacked me personally, and I’m not going to harass you personally b/c of your objectives (though I do think you are very much in the wrong).  I would love to see a peaceful ending to this whole thing, particularly for your sake.  But seriously, I think you will find that your life will be much more pleasant if you seek help to deal with the situation as it is versus trying to sue it to stop.  

Citizens For Quiet Skies

I had recently responded to a Times Call letter from Kimberly Gibbs, essentially saying that I didn’t think she would be happy with any airplane noise from Mile High Skydiving, and that she would only stop her fight if they were shut down altogether.

Well, Kimberly found my blog and responded in the “About” section.  I wanted to move the conversation to another post so as not to clutter things.

Kimberly Gibbs says:

Actually, this blog was created by cowards who don’t have the guts to put their name on their ignorant comments aimed at misleading the public. Case in point: “I think the misconception in Ms. Gibbs’ logic is that not shutting down MHS does not equate to “no progress in sight”. If she is waiting for that particular legitimate Longmont business to be shut down before she can claim progress was made, then I’m afraid she is going to be waiting quite awhile.”

  • Hi Kimberly!

    Thanks for your feedback. I get that some people have a problem with my anonymity (there is actually just one of me here), and that’s ok. Sadly, there are people out there that have a propensity to exhibit some rather nasty behavior toward those with different opinions or those who have been critical of them. My family doesn’t need that, so I prefer to remain anonymous. If anyone feels like that disqualifies my opinions, then there really isn’t anything I can do about that, and it is their right. I imagine if I told anyone who I was, the overwhelming response would be “who?”, as I’m not much more than just a casual observer to the political scene here. :)

    For those wondering, Kimberly is referring to this letter in the Times Call:

    http://www.timescall.com/opinion/letterstotheeditor/ci_24333140/kimberly-gibbs-only-3-candidates-responded-plane-noise

    I stand by my opinion that you would like to see Mile High Skydiving shut down, and I obviously disagree with you, but that is your right to take them to court. If you feel I’ve “mislead the public”, I’m happy to hear where you think I messed up. I very well could just be misunderstanding your intent, but everything I’ve seen from you and your proposed lawsuit is that you will only be happy with no plane noise, and I don’t know how that happens unless there are no planes.

    For anyone interested, Kimberly has also created a Facebook page for “Citizens for Quiet Skies”, and for those interested in the latest developments of her efforts, it is frequently updated. While there have been a much larger percentage of people who post in there to harass her than support her efforts, I have to give giant kudos to how she handles those people. There are definitely some skydivers and pilots out there who have been pretty harsh and disrespectful on her page, but I rarely see her losing her cool about any of them. More people should respond that way even when they have every right not to. So while we disagree on the MHS issue, I completely respect the way she is arguing for her side.

    So again, thanks for your comment. It is always better to have discussions that go straight to the source. :)

———————————————————————————————-

Recently I’ve seen that the banter on her Facebook page has gotten rather interesting, as some posters there have pointed out that she is not supposed to be using a non profit organization such as CFQS for political endorsements.  Whether or not hers meets that definition, and whether or not the posts she’s made are against “the rules”, I don’t know, but someone may very well be challenging that in court.  Guess we’ll see what happens.

What was really sad to see, however, was that Kimberly called out one of the posters, a Jeff Lipton, and made this comment:

Citizens For Quiet Skies Jeff: We presented the views of all candidates who responded. You need to calm yourself down or I am going to call your daddy and have a talk with him about your conduct. As a candidate for Louisville city council, he may not appreciate your conduct and the potential negative effects on his campaign. http://www.liptonforlouisville.com/

While I’m not sure what she thought she could say regarding this issue to negatively impact Mr. Lipton’s father’s campaign, it was disappointing to see her go that route, as she had been doing a pretty good job of making appropriate responses to all the dissension.  Unfortunately, this was not one of those responses, and certainly those who seem to be the most against Ms. Gibbs’ mission are going to use it against her, as it really looks threatening and doesn’t help her cause at all.  This won’t end well.

A Response To Mr. Wray’s Recent Bruising About Giron And Morse

My blogger friend over at Free Range Longmont recently posted about the recall of state senators Giron and Morse.  I highly recommend reading it.  You see, unlike my friend Mr. Wray, I’m all about sharing the opinions of others, even if those opinion tend to be full of references  to erectile dysfunction, sex shops, jerking off, and poop.  Oh, so much poop.  Let everyone see the mindset of the opposition.  In this case, Mr. Wray does a good job of defeating his own cause.

As I’ve had the Word Press police sicked on me in the past for excessive quoting of Mr. Wray’s articles, you’ll just have to follow the above link as I correct nearly every point he makes.  Overlook the first jerking off reference and make your way down to “NRA backed”. NRA supported, sure, but hardly backed (unless you want to say Bloomberg backed the opposition, in which case I’ll give you the NRA), but even then, this effort was as grass-roots as it gets, which I thought was a good thing to those on the left.  Only if it is from the left, eh Mr. Wray?😉

Jerking off reference number 2 leads us to a phrase that made me smile, considering the source: “vengeful glee”.  Ahh, the left has certainly had their share of that recently, as the past 6 years have not been good ones for the GOP.  But locally, the last Longmont mayoral and City Council elections allowed many of the FRL crowd to display their own vengeful glee, and even two years later, the harassment continues.  Hypocrisy at its finest.   But I expect nothing less.

Next we have the obligatory swipe at Senator Brophy.  Mr. Wray is certainly obsessed with him, so it stands to reason he would take his swipes here.  Believe me, Mr. Wray is watching closely, hoping for something, anything, that he can snag and use against Senator Brophy.  He’ll probably get his chance, as it isn’t hard to twist political statements to suit one’s agenda.  Stay tuned for the update from FRL.  The NSA ain’t got nothing on Mr. Wray’s tracking abilities.

We continue with a list of gun related incidents.  (By the way, I LOVED the line “two road-ragers trade hot lead and end up cold meat”.  Points for cleverness🙂  ).  The obvious response to all of those incidents is…how would recently enacted Colorado gun laws have stopped any of them?  They wouldn’t, and that is what many of those “gun nuts” have a problem with.  The anti-gun crowd seems to think that they can legislate our way to zero gun crime, but the fact is that the vast majority of gun related incidents take place in spite of strict gun laws (see Chicago for the perfect example).  So while the recall is not necessarily a win for safety (that by itself isn’t going to effect the rate of gun violence), it IS very much a win for common sense.  And the anger was already present before the NRA got involved.  

Pssst….quick tip.  When you use phrases like “orange vested hearts of rural Amurika”, you are displaying your bigotry.  THIS is why I’m happy to share your opinions, because anyone with common sense will see the true character of the source.  Like I said, you’re nuking your own cause.🙂

Mr. Wray finishes by lamenting that the recall will certainly result in more and worse gun incidents.  Guess time will tell, but any use of a firearm will be twisted into “See???  I told you so!”.  For example, a criminal committing a criminal act who is confronted (and possibly killed) by someone protecting themselves with a gun is a net win IMHO, yet Mr. Wray would add this to his list of “gun incidents that prove we need more gun control laws”.  But like I said, time will tell, and those with common sense will see the truth in the individual incidents.

Finally, no politician will be recalled without the popular support of the public.  “Conservative watchdogs” went after a couple other senators as well, but backed off because they didn’t think they had the public support they needed to succeed.  In other words, those senators arguably were doing the will of their constituents.  If those in Giron’s and Morse’s districts thought those senators were being falsely attacked, they would voted against the recall, but they didn’t.  They weren’t doing the will of the people, and the people felt strongly enough to vote them out.  And that isn’t a bad thing, regardless of how some would characterize that as “scare tactics”.  Interestingly enough, very well funded, and very outside interests were not enough to sway voters to support their people.  How often has Mr. Wray complained about outside interests buying local elections, yet no complaints about outside interests here?   

So Mr. Wray, you will certainly have your days in the sun, as the GOP has a long way to go before people start to realize that many of the democrat party solutions are not sustainable long term (or even short term in some cases).  Your side will win more elections, and those that you hate will lose elections.  But let’s be a big boy and not whine about “vengeful glee” like it is something only Republicans do.  Your complaints ring a little hollow when you, yourself, engage in that very same behavior.

Now, when do we get to hear your “has been mayor” clip again?  

 

City of Broomfield Ballot Title Language is Accurate

It appears that Our Broomfield (OB) has filed an official protest against the Broomfield City Council for the Council’s wording of the title of a proposed charter amendment.  OB proposed this:

Shall Broomfield’s Home Rule Charter be amended for five years so as to prohibit  the use of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) to extract oil, gas, or other hydrocarbons within the City and County of Broomfield and to prohibit the disposal or open pit storage of solid or liquid wastes created in connection with the hydraulic fracturing process in order to protect property, property values, public safety, welfare, and the environment?”

The City of Broomfield instead opted to go with this language:

Shall Broomfield’s Home Rule Charter be amended to prohibit the owners of property rights in oil and gas minerals from extracting their property through the use of hydraulic fracturing methods and impose additional restrictions on wastewater storage and disposal methods than existing state regulations for the next five years to address concerns about the potential dangers of hydraulic fracturing.”

Our Broomfield claims the City Council “blatantly violated state law” with this proposed title language.  And as with the language of most of the organized anti-fracking groups, it appears that emotion is again trumping reality.  Let’s analyze each proposal.

  • OB – amend the charter so as to prohibit the use of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) to extract oil, gas, or other hydrocarbons within the City and County of Broomfield.
  • CoB – amend the charter to prohibit the owners of property rights in oil and gas minerals from extracting their property through the use of hydraulic fracturing methods.

OB claims that the City’s wording does not adequately represent the true intentions of the proposed amendment.  Isn’t the City’s wording EXACTLY what this amendment would do, though?  Shouldn’t voters be made aware that this amendment would in fact prohibit property owners from exercising their property rights to extract oil and gas through fracking?  Apparently petition signature gatherers explained that the point was to protect citizens from all the nastiness that OB claims will certainly happen if fracking were allowed.  Did they also clearly state that by doing so, mineral rights owners could be substantially impacted?  That may not be the “true intent” of the amendment, but it would still be the reality.

  • OB – prohibit the disposal or open pit storage of solid or liquid wastes created in connection with the hydraulic fracturing process
  • CoB – impose additional restrictions on wastewater storage and disposal methods than existing state regulations

Again, the City of Broomfield is correct.  This amendment would in fact impose restrictions above and beyond existing state regulations.  I don’t necessarily see that as a bad thing, either.  But again, were petition signers told that these restrictions were more than the state required?  I didn’t think this was really a secret, and hopefully OB doesn’t have a problem with this part of the language.

  • OB – in order to protect property, property values, public safety, welfare, and the environment
  • CoB – to address concerns about the potential dangers of hydraulic fracturing

This is where the emotional pleas from OB are most apparent.  None of the things mentioned are in imminent danger as a result of fracking.  Yes, it must be done in accordance with strict(er?) regulations, and yes, there have been accidents.  But fracking anywhere doesn’t automatically mean that property will be damaged, property values will drop, the public will be in a statistically more unsafe environment, the public’s welfare will be negatively impacted, and the environment will be damaged.  There is the POTENTIAL for all of those things, of course.  And lo and behold, the City of Broomfield describes them exactly that way…”potential dangers”.

I can see why OB is upset with the city’s wording, as it obviously puts things in a much less dramatic light, but none of the language is incorrect.  The reality is, even though the intentions of OB and other anti-frackers may be good, the consequences of what they propose reach well beyond that on which they are focused.  Those that agree with you aren’t going to change their minds b/c the wording on this amendment doesn’t focus on the areas you want it to.  It is like saying “we want to pass this amendment that will prevent childhood deaths by drowning, for the safety of children and families”, but the amendment actually bans the use of all water for recreational purposes.  You can’t ignore the other aspects of what you’re trying to do, even if they don’t necessarily help your cause.

Everyone has an opinion on this topic.  Why be afraid of more truthful wording and less emotional rhetoric, if your cause is really that black and white?

Response to Don Coulson – Times Call LTE 12/17/12

It is great that the country is trying to figure out a solution that would eliminate mass murders such as the one that just happened in Connecticut.  What is frustrating is that so many people are putting the blame in the wrong place, and that so many are shouting emotional solutions just so we can do “something”.  (Sounds very similar to the fracking debate, does it not?)  Disclaimer: I have no association to the NRA or any gun advocacy group, nor do I own a gun.

Don Coulson recently wrote to the Times Call, and his letter gives some absolutely perfect examples of the disconnect between two different schools of thought.  Let’s look at some of his points:

1 – “It is an obscenity when a country can be so influenced by money, by fear, by political manipulation, by lobbyists that it allows virtually anyone to buy a weapon meant for but one purpose: to kill another human being on a field of battle.”  He is right that it is probably too easy for the average Joe to get his hands on a gun, and there is already talk of closing the “gun show loophole” that allows guns to be purchased at gun shows without a background check.  Mr. Coulson’s flaw, though, is his statement that the only purpose of these guns is to kill another human being on a field of battle.  Were that the case, there would be millions dead now, but that is not the case.  Many (the vast majority of) people use all kinds of guns for nothing more than the thrill of shooting at targets and other sport.  I personally don’t get the excitement, but I certainly know many who do, all of whom are extremely responsible with their weapons, and more power to them if that is what they enjoy doing.  The SOLE purpose of a gun is not to kill.

2 – Your school is probably not safe. Read those words again and then ask yourself a few questions and the answer will be clear.  Is your school completely enclosed by a high chain-link fence?  Are there armed guards monitoring metal detectors at the entrances through the fence and into the property and well away from the actual school?  If there is a breach of security can the school be alerted and all doors locked before an assailant can gain entry?  Here is the heart of the difference of opinion between several issues recently that have tended to end up being divided right/left.  Mr. Coulson says my school is probably not safe.  “Safe” is a relative word, so certainly he can make the argument that it is in fact not safe.  But what does that mean?

My kids are more likely to pick up an illness because they go to school.  Does that mean it isn’t safe?

There was a fatal car accident last weekend at 66 and Pace.  Does that mean driving isn’t safe?  Or maybe that intersection isn’t safe?

There was a mass killing at a theater in Aurora earlier this year.  Does that mean that the movies aren’t safe?

As I’ve said so many times with the fracking argument, there is an element of risk to everything in life.  In this case, Mr. Coulson’s point about schools not being safe can go one of two ways.  Either he is right, and by applying that same standard to all life activities, he should be the most skittish person in the US because everywhere he goes, death could be just around the corner, or he is using an emotional hyperbole to try to make his point.  Personally, I like the odds that my kids’ school is safe.  Could someone commit the same mass murder there as they did in Connecticut?  Of course, but I feel as secure as I could in saying that they are doing all that is REASONABLE to try to minimize the risk.  That’s good enough for me…I don’t want every kid in the US having to go to essentially a prison camp to get one tiny fraction of a percentage safer than it already is.  And the lack of the things Mr. Coulson suggests are necessary don’t equate to 100% zero risk.

 3 – So the larger question is: How long are you, as a citizen of this nation, prepared to indulge this culture of swagger and “open carry”? Guns on campus, guns in bars, guns strolling down Main Street? How long are you prepared to tolerate the NRA and the chokehold it has on reasonable gun control?  Where is this culture happening and being flaunted exactly?  The issue came up at CU recently, and I don’t blame the teacher for not wanted weapons in his classroom.  But where exactly are guns being flaunted openly by citizens?  It isn’t happening.  Many people are quick to point the finger at the NRA and blame it for the cause of all things evil that are related to guns.  I tell you, you are going after the wrong group.  It isn’t the law-abiding citizens or the NRA members that are behind the trigger in these shootings (coincidentally, nor are they done with assault weapons typically, but there is another call to ban them).  And you will never completely remove guns from society.  Just the mention of it has caused gun sales to spike this week.

I do not know what the answer is, but I do know that when the issue is an emotional one, people tend to throw out solutions that feel good but do nothing to solve the problem (and perhaps make it worse).  They are also quick to place blame on persons or entities that are not causing the problem, and so silencing/eliminating them will also not solve the problem.  I saw a tweet recently that said “perfect is the enemy of good”.  While that may very well be true, “feel good” is the enemy of effectiveness.  Let’s work toward effective solutions, and not one that makes us feel less guilty simply because we did SOMETHING.

Why So Down On Israel??

There have been several letters to the TC recently in which the authors attempt to make Israel out to be the bad guy in the middle east.  Ron Forthofer tends to write in every so often to detail the atrocities committed by Israel against the Palestinians, and recently he yet again calls for us to pressure our government to get Israel under control.   Mr. Forthofer speaks as a very educated gentleman, and his letters to the TC are usually written from a level headed perspective, but he frequently leaves out details that put Israeli responses in much better perspective.  Gary Gansar’s recent response to Forthofer did a superb job of “clarifying” all of Forthofer’s list of grievances, point by point.

More recently, Pierre Ardans wrote to the TC to rebut Mr. Gansar’s “support of the Zionists”.  Generally when one uses the Z word in a letter,  you can bet it is going to have a very anti-Jewish bent, and Mr. Ardans’ letter was no exception.  Among Ardans’ points:

“Now, Israelis occasionally fly over the concentration camp of Gaza to drop bombs, sometimes on military types, but mostly on civilian women and children.”  Really?  Does anyone in their right mind truly believe that the Israeli’s are targeting civilian women and children in any of their offensives?  Certainly there have been women and children killed, but when those launching rockets at you are using homes, schools and other civilian areas as launching grounds, is it any surprise?  Ardans makes it sound like women and children are the intended target, and nothing is farther from the truth.  The true terrorists, as he labels the Israelis, are those using women and children as shields, and that sure isn’t Isareal.

“…we don’t celebrate the deaths of 3,000 innocent Americans killed on 9/11. True, we don’t. But the spies sent by Israel to record the event who were using Urban Moving Systems as a cover for their activities certainly did.”  I hate to use the phrase “tinfoil hat”, because it is such an overused cliche so casually thrown around these days as nothing more than a name calling device, but I still can’t help but think it applies here.  If the willful targeting of women and children didn’t make Ardans lose all of his credibility, this Israeli spy comment certainly did the trick.  It amazes me that anyone still actually believes what he’s saying here.

Finally, Ira Chernus writes in with a letter about Hanukka.  I’ve seen his letters before and know where he tends to go with them, but he also appears to be very knowledgeable in such matters and I was interested to get a little history lesson from him.  He did well for about half his letter, until he mentioned that no middle eastern country could even threaten Israel and its mighty nuclear arsenal.  True, Israel could probably make any middle eastern country uninhabitable if it chose to, but to say none of them could (or is attempting to build an arsenal that could) harm Israel is hogwash.  Iran in particular comes to mind.  Never underestimate the power of crazy fanatics in large numbers.

This statement by Chernus, though, got me:  “Even the leaders of Hamas, often called the most militant Palestinian party, have been saying for years that they are ready to have a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza, living side by side in peace with Israel.”   Mr. Chernus must have misunderstood the recent statements by Hamas leader Kahled Meshaal when he said “We will never recognize the legitimacy of the Israeli occupation and therefore there is no legitimacy for Israel, no matter how long it will take.”  The leaders of Hamas certainly do not want peace with Israel, regardless of how much Palestinian sympathizers may claim so.  Israel most definitely would like to live in peace, and if given the opportunity (ie. stop lobbing bombs at them into civilian areas for starters), they are not going to go after the Palestinians simply because they want to see their destruction.

It has been sad to see all the anti-Israel rhetoric lately, although the letters stated above all come from people who have held their beliefs for quite some time.  It has been amusing, though, to see the likes of Sean McCoy tweeting recently about his unwavering support for the Palestinians.  He almost seems as out of touch and paranoid as Mr. Ardans, but I suspect he is simply trolling in this case.  The middle east situation is a ticking time bomb, and I fear one day it isn’t going to matter who was right and who was wrong, because the entire region will be trying to recover from a catastrophe that will pale in comparison to Nagasaki and Hiroshima.

Boycott ’em All!

I’ve seen a few articles recently calling for boycotts of businesses whose CEO’s made comments about scaling back hours so they wouldn’t be subjected to new healthcare laws.  Recently, Papa John’s and Applebees were in the spotlight, with one particular article almost cheerfully pointing out how business has declined at those restaurants since the election.

People have called for boycotts of these places, but if business gets so bad that stores have to be closed, is that really better for those people working there than it would be otherwise?  I’ve never understood that mentality.  It is the same with striking union workers…wonder how former Hostess employees are feeling just before the holidays?

Is there any question that when the government places more mandates on what an employer HAS to provide to employees, there will be businesses that are going to manipulate things in order to remain profitable?  Certainly there are some “good” businesses that will do all they can to create a good working environment, and that of course is the right thing to do to a point.  But everyone runs their businesses differently, and some feel the need to make sure a more comfortable level of income is attained, which is completely within their rights (or should be).

The beauty of a job is…if you don’t like it, you are free to find another job.  Doesn’t mean it is easy, but no one is holding a gun to your head saying you must work in what you consider miserable conditions.  What you consider miserable, another person may find right in line with what they want.  Employers should have a lot of flexibility to decide what they will provide, and if it isn’t competitive, they will not be in business long.  On the other side of the coin, if they are forced to make concessions that they cannot afford, they will also not be in business long.

In spite of this, I say keep boycotting.  Some of these places were getting too crowded anyway, and maybe a few self righteous activists who decide that they should stay home won’t be such a bad thing for the rest of us.  I could sure go for some breaded mozzarella sticks right now.

A Great Take on Race in This Election

I found a great article about how race plays into this election.

The article begins by telling how Stacey Dash, an actress of African American and Mexican heritage, was belittled for a tweet she made supporting Romney.  And these weren’t just the run of the mill “stupid”, “1%”, “drinking the Koolaid” kind of insults.  They included lovely terms like “traitor”, “jigaboo”, and “house nigger”.  Classy bunch, those who felt like they needed to respond to her position by using a tactic that many of those same people have no doubt accused Republicans of being…the dreaded “R” word.

Some good points are made that when blacks show pride in their race, it comes from a hard history and is used to show support and band together.  Consequently, there are many blacks who support Obama primarily because he is black.  When whites show pride in their race, it is often viewed as racist.  So how are those people, who will vote for Romney because he is white (and they certainly exist), viewed by society?  Generally they are considered racist.  A double standard?  Certainly by many counts, but when one digs deeper into the reasoning, it also seems very logical that many blacks support blacks because of a history of oppression.

A few of the more outspoken local bloggers take great pleasure in pointing out specific examples of white or Republican racism and using that to show that all whites/Republicans must be racist.  For example, a picture making the rounds that is supposedly from a Romney rally shows a man with a shirt that says “Put the white back in white house”.  A local activist responded with a tweet showing that picture and saying “And the Repugs insist they aren’t racist.  BS!”.  Is this guy racist?  Damn right he is, no doubt about it.  Is he contributing to the greater good with his shirt?  Not in the least.  Does Romney agree with his message?  Not in the least.  Are all Republicans racist?  Ummm, no.  This is an example of a racist bad apple who apparently is also Repbublican.

Former Longmont city council member Sean McCoy often likes to tweet about how Republicans “can’t stand a black man in a white house”.  If he was just talking about this guy in the above picture, then he’s got a point.  But to continue to insist that everyone against Obama is not only “immoral”, “sad”, “shit for brains” in addition to racist is just plain ridiculous and makes you look incredibly immature and uneducated.  Is it contributing to the greater good?  Not in the least.  Do statements like this from these two activists actually say more about their own character than that of those they are trying to belittle?  Absolutely, and those same statements also make any other statements they say all the less credible.

There are racist Republicans, and there are racist Democrats.  The people tweeting against Stacey Dash are no less racist than the guy with the shirt, but it is still not right to say that because of those tweets, that means that all Democrats are racist.  Those who try to incite class and racial warfare by generalizing about a few misguided souls are just as dangerous, if not more so, to the overall goal of harmony on Earth.

Jim Wilson Letter to the Editor

Jim Wilson wrote this letter to the editor of the Times Call this week.  He makes a couple of points in his letter. First, he calls out Gov Hickenlooper for saying that if each municipality had its own rules to cover fracking, that there would be chaos.  Mr. Wilson points out that other industries with localized regulations exist, yet no chaos has come with those situations.  I think he makes a good point.  I also think Gov Hickenlooper is overstating the “chaos” that would be caused with local regulation.  Companies hire people whose job is solely to interpret local regulations for their industries, and I can’t imagine it would be all that difficult to do the same when it comes to fracking. 

Mr. Wilson then goes on to call out those who work in the industry that say they live in the community as well and have kids in the community attending schools.  Unfortunately, Mr. Wilson says the following:

“Most of these folks live in exclusive neighborhoods far from the wells. I challenge any of these gas people to move to a middle-class or poor neighborhood where they will have a well in their backyard. I challenge them to take their children out of the private schools they attend and let them go to local neighborhood public schools where wells are being located. “Here” to these folks is not where most of us live.”

These are the statements I take issue with.  How, exactly, does Mr. Wilson know where “these gas people” live?  How does he know that they send their children to private schools?  Sadly, these statements further perpetuate the stereotype that liberals are interested in creating class warfare, and making the assumptions of where “these people” live and where they send their kids to school is just being presumptuous.  I’m sure his intent wasn’t to further the stereotype, but in the end, he did just that.

Mr. Wilson, you had some great points, but you didn’t quite make it through without crossing over into emotionalism and hyperbole to argue your position.  Here’s hoping that fracking can be regulated locally while still allowing “these people” to live where they choose and send their kids to the schools they choose.

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