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Liquor store losses
(Re: “The Business of beer,” Cover story, March 5.) Great article, Dana! Way to show many sides of this complex issue. I thought I had heard all the arguments before, but I learned some new ones after reading your article.
I was against the liquor stores on the Blue Law issue (I wanted to be able to buy full-strength beer on Sundays), but I’m with them on this 3.2 beer issue. House Bill 1192 is very complex, and both sides make good arguments, but when you consider the losses liquor stores will face if it passes versus the current losses grocery stores are complaining about, there’s no comparison. And I think grocery stores are less concerned with their minimal losses (since the Blue Law was eradicated) than about their missed profit opportunities.
If HB 1192 passes, thousands upon thousands of Coloradans will lose their jobs at liquor stores across the state and no new jobs will be created at grocery stores. I also worry that the selection and quality of full-strength beer will degrade, as I can’t foresee large grocery stores having the knowledge and/or selection of craft beer that many liquor stores currently possess. This, in turn, may cause Colorado breweries (especially the small ones) to suffer as well. Not to mention, less money will flow in state, and more money will flow out of state to large grocery store corporations.
Aubrey Laurence/Frederick, Colo.
(Re: “When cops are thieves,” Uncensored, March 5.) One unintended effect of drug prohibition has been the criminalization of law-enforcement agencies. Police are often found planting evidence, “testilying,” outright drug dealing, accepting bribes and even committing murder because of the money to be made in an outlaw drug market.
The depth of corruption among these bandits with badges is seen when these poltroons divide up confiscated property for their own private, personal use. How can such thievery be allowed in a just society?
Cops should never be allowed to confiscate property on their own “testilying” word.
Ralph Givens/Daly City, Calif.
More proof that the real criminals in America are the politicians, judges and police. The economy has tanked, and everything is based on greed and evil. It’s time to move out of this loser country. America: love it or leave it. Now I understand. Europe, here I come.
Clifton Barber/San Antonio, Texas
Christianity isn’t peaceful
(Re: “Giving God a bad name,” In Case You Missed It, March 5.) I greatly enjoyed your critique of Sens. Renfroe and Schultheis in the March 5 In Case You Missed It section, but I must call attention to the penultimate sentence: “For a couple of self-professed Christians, Renfroe and Schultheis sure spew a lot of hatred.”
This implies that it is unusual or surprising for Christians to behave in such a way. May I suggest that it is both common and expected? I find the idea that Christianity is generally peaceful and accepting to be a widespread misconception that has never been true from medieval Catholicism to modern-day evangelicalism. Instead of acting appalled at these men and pretending they are a deviation, why don’t we acknowledge the cruelty and bigotry built into the stories they call scripture and deride that?
Jesus of Nazareth may well have been a peaceful Jewish reformer, but the religion built by Paul of Tarsus posits a god so vicious that, rather than just forgiving imperfections, “He” insists upon the brutal torture and death of his “Son” to feel merciful again. Another word for sending your child to death is infanticide. With that sort of behavioral model, who needs a “Devil”? The act of communion symbolizes cannibalism, and rather than imagining a peaceful end to existence, an apocalypse is about massive destruction and violence.
If this is the conception of “ultimate goodness” for these senators, then the bar is set very low. And so long as people base their religion on such scenarios, any good they do will be fleeting, the exception to a rule of cruelty.
The only real solution
(Re: “Task Force Detroit rolls with the Rising Sun,” Danish Plan, Feb. 26.) While Paul Danish’s recent editorial was certainly entertaining, I hope his suggested additions to the Obama Task Force on the Auto Industry were not taken seriously by readers. First of all, it is naive to think that just because some folks are car experts (Richard Petty and the Brothers Magliozzi) they are also experts in the business of running car companies. Does Mr. Danish seriously think Detroit is lacking in knowledgeable people? That decades of inferior products, from three major corporations, is due to a dearth of good ideas?
This points to a bigger problem with Mr. Danish’s essay: the underlying assumption, apparently shared by the Obama folks, that what faltering companies really need to give them a good old boost in efficiency is a government oversight committee. Since when do government committees know how to run businesses? Sure, maybe such a committee could force Detroit to make politically beneficial cars. But turn a profit?
I recently had a conversation with a couple of folks, otherwise highly educated, who blamed Detroit’s failings on the executives. If poor executive quality is, indeed, where the fault lies, doesn’t it strike anybody else as odd — improbable, even — that three separate corporations have managed to recruit only incompetent managers for the past several decades?
In a way we’re lucky that Detroit has a “Big Three” rather than a single, dominant company, because it lets us do some forensic work. If we want to diagnose what went wrong in the American auto industry we need to find a pattern. In other words, what do each of the Big Three have in common (other than being located in Detroit)? Give up? Answer: the UAW.
American auto companies face a huge handicap relative to their Japanese competitors: massive financial overhang resulting from decades of unsustainably generous retirement benefits and union rules that prevent many of the factory-floor innovations that have benefited their competitors. To blame just the “greedy” executives without also blaming the greedy union is, frankly, blind.
Understanding both the constraints under which those executives worked and the demands and expectations of the public markets explains their decisions: if it is simply not feasible to squeeze a profit from capital investments in new processes, your best bet to at least staunch the money flow is to wring as many dollars as possible from old designs.
At this point the Big Three are most likely beyond salvage. Pouring money into U.S. car companies is simply charity — charity for the executives, but even more so charity for the union members, present and past. If, instead of handing out subsidies, never to be seen again, we want to actually invest in Detroit, in the long run (and even the medium run), we’d be better off doing three things:
1) Let the Big Three die whatever insolvent death they must. R.I.P.
2) Take half of whatever dollar figure we were thinking of using to bail out the companies and use it to create a re-training educational funding for anybody who loses their auto-industry job. Pick whatever useful vocations we think will actually benefit the country, and grant scholarships to learn those jobs.
3) Take the other half of the bailout fund and create a private equity (i.e. venture capital) fund with one mission: to fund start-up companies in the Detroit area. Once the car companies start dying there will be a flood of cheap manufacturing space,
state-of-the-art used robots, and armies of smart, hardworking people with wide-ranging expertise.
There are competent people in Detroit, from mechanics up to executives. Moreover those able people know who among their peers are really worth hiring. Let’s wash our hands of the stagnant morass that is Ford, GM and Chrysler and instead back the eager, ambitious entrepreneurs who know what to do and how to get it done. It may be painful in the very short term, but it is the only solution that will lead to a Detroit renaissance.
Be more accepting
(Re: “Panty raid,” ICUMI, Feb. 26.) Generally I am quite satisfied with the Boulder Weekly. Boulder tends to be a quite accepting and model city when it comes to acceptance of others and sensitivity towards minorities. I have been quite impressed with articles such as one covering the issues of AIDS and HIV in the local Hispanic population. And even the issue in question where a local mobile home park’s issues were covered.
You’ll imagine my surprise then when I turned to the ICUMI article titled “Panty raid.” Regardless of one’s opinions or politics regarding the subject of an AWOL soldier, it is hard for me to believe that in a city known for its acceptance and progressive attitudes, I saw another genderqueer person being made the laughingstock in a newspaper — Boulder’s independent newspaper no less.
What exactly compels the Boulder Weekly to think it’s OK to make fun of genderqueer people?
Regardless of whether the person in question is a crossdresser (CD), a closeted transexual, a transgender person, an androgynous person, someone with an intersex condition, or simply someone who wants to express his feminine side, what makes the Boulder Weekly think it’s OK to make fun of them?
Genderqueer people are often the butt of a joke in conservative blogs and fundamentalist religious press, but here? In Boulder’s independent newspaper?
As a genderqueer person myself, and as a former member of the Board of Directors of Boulder Pride, I would ask that you be a bit more considerate in the future to Boulder’s genderqueer people, and genderqueer people in general. We are one of the most discriminated against populations in the U.S., and it seems a bit out of place in your paper, known for its acceptance.
Sara Hotchkiss/via Internet
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