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Letters 09/24/09

Throwing shoes

Dear Editor:

It has become a common practice for outgoing U.S. presidents to junket around the world, address parliaments, and have their picture taken with world leaders at press conferences and other events. If you remember, when George W. Bush visited Baghdad, an Iraqi journalist threw his shoe at him at one of these events. To the Arabs this would be an act probably more insulting than, perhaps, heckling our president during an address to the joint Congress, and they took it so serious that the journalist was jailed for six months.

The Arabs, like orthodox Jews, have many taboos that have come up through centuries from their nomadic origins and some are related to the feet. You might recall that Jesus castigated his host for criticizing the prostitute who washed his feet with her tears because the host did not have his servant do the customary washing. Secretary of State James Baker unknowingly deeply offended Saddam Hussein by crossing his legs and thus exposing the sole of his shoe.

The journalist is free now and has written an article in the Guardian/UK explaining the reason he threw the shoe at Bush, why the president had offended him so deeply. This is not an explanation of the custom, but he describes the intense feelings he felt he had to communicate to us and the entire Arab world.

His rather short article has been reprinted and is available on the Internet. By typing in “Common Dreams” and going to the Sunday, Sept. 20, edition, you can find the article, “Why I Threw The Shoe,” by Muntazer al-Zaidi. I believe very American should read it for a little better understanding of the incident than was generally provided in our press and TV. I won’t make any comment. You need to make your own.

Henry Buslepp

Good people

Dear Editor:

What makes Pagosa Springs such a great town? Good people like John Perea — “J.P.”

I want to thank J.P. publicly for his good deed on Monday, Sept. 14.

He found my Wells Fargo cash envelope (containing over $150 in cash) at Pope John Paul II Church. He noticed the cash receipt, took it to the bank and deposited it in my account.

J.P. would not accept a monetary reward, but he will indeed be “rewarded” for the good life he leads every day!

God bless him!

Bettie Hanse


Dear Editor:

Patrick Swayze was a shining star in Hollywood and will be missed by fans from around the world. His brave, public battle with pancreatic cancer provided hope for all those afflicted with this terrible disease.

For nearly two years he beat the odds stacked against him and brought awareness to the fourth leading cause of cancer death in the United States. In fact, 76 percent of patients die within the first year of diagnosis and the five year survival rate is just 5 percent because there are no effective early detection tools or treatments for this disease. Despite these statistics, pancreatic cancer is the least funded among leading cancer killers in our country.

Many of you knew my father, Joe S. Lobato. He was employed by Archuleta County for 26 years as a heavy equipment operator; he also fought this horrible disease for 16 months.

We must take action to ensure scientific progress is made to give pancreatic cancer patients a fighting chance. We need our members of Congress to co-sponsor The Pancreatic Cancer Research and Education Act so that we will have the necessary funding to make true progress against this disease. This is critical now more than ever because the number of pancreatic cancer patients is projected to increase by 12 percent in 2009 and by 55 percent by 2030.

I am a volunteer for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. I encourage everyone to get involved in the fight against pancreatic cancer. To learn how easy it is to make a difference, please visit or call (877) 272-6226. I can also be reached at (970) 946-2288.

Together, we can make a difference.


Inez Lobato-Winter

Spank the bank

Dear Editor:

I received a check from State Farm, Sept. 2, to settle a house insurance claim. As claims go, it was small: The check was for about $3,500. I went the next morning to the local branch of a huge bank, where I have banked for many years and have an impeccable record, to deposit the check. It was important to me that the funds be available soon, because I want the repair finished before the weather turns cold. I asked when the funds would be available to be drawn on. The tellers replied that an eight day hold had been placed on the check. The money would not be available until Sept. 11, at the soonest.

However, if I wished, the bank would lend as much as $500 against the deposited check from State Farm at only ten percent per month, minimum one month (an annual compound interest rate of 313.84 percent!). By anyone’s definition that is a usurious interest rate. Think about it, they are offering to make a loan secured by good funds seven times greater than the loan amount for an annual interest rate of 314 percent. There oughta be a law! There used to be a law. The banks got rid of it.

Now, back to the eight-day hold on the check. What’s with this? Checks clear much faster than that. And besides, checks from major entities with good reputations should be regarded as good.

Here’s what really burns me: The arrogance. Banks can borrow from the Federal Reserve Bank for free. We have just pumped hundreds of billions of dollars of public money into the banking system, and this is how we get treated — with usurious interest rates and arbitrary holds on deposits, to mention only two things.

Now that re-regulating the finance and banking industry is being considered, I think the time is right to give them a good spanking! They nearly destroyed the world economy, yet feel as arrogant and entitled as ever.

Jim Milstein

No plan

Dear Editor:

An interesting summary of the various health insurance reform plans being debated in Washington was done by the Associated Press and run in the last Sunday’s edition of The Denver Post on page 25A. It described the plans currently being discussed in the House, the Senate, and President Obama’s recommendations. It also described the House Republicans outline.

Please allow me to paraphrase from the article what the Republicans “propose” to reform our badly broken, most expensive in the world, health care system. By all means, please check the Sept. 20 Denver Post for the entire article to ensure of the accuracy of my summary.

According to the Associated Press, the Republican plan outlines the following. Who is Covered: It aims to make insurance affordable and accessible to all, it does not say how they will do this or what the costs would be. How it is paid for: Reduce Medicare and Medicaid fraud. Requirements for individuals: No mandates. Employer Mandates: No mandates. Subsidies: Tax credits for “low and modest income” families and tax deductions for folks not offered insurance through their employer. Again no specifics are given. Benefit package: Children could stay on the parents plan till age 25. No public option. No new purchasing exchange to add competition. People on Medicaid would be allowed to use their benefit to buy private insurance.

This is the “No Plan” proposed by the Republican leadership. Everyone is well aware that when you have nothing to offer the best way to attack your opponent is to tear down what they propose. After all, what else can you do?

They argue we have the best health care system in the world. This is pure folly. Americans pay much more and get less quality care than any other developed country. Granted the wealthiest in this country do get fine care, they can afford it. Can you? The Republicans claim that President Obama is trying to rush reform, and not think it through well enough. Please remember that the Republicans were in control of Congress for twelve years, and until two years ago in control of both the presidency and Congress for six years. What did that kind of “leadership” get us? Nothing was accomplished on this important issue except our rates skyrocketed and our coverage shrunk. The Republicans had their chance to step up, and they failed.

The time is long overdue to make the major changes to our broken health insurance system that are needed. I strongly suggest going to and listen to President Obama spell out what he recommends to improve our health care in America. The four minute video there might just help you cut through the lies and distortions that are being made in the media. You owe it to yourself to get the facts straight.

Donovan Porterfield

Mad Dog

Dear Editor:

Just wanted ta let the “troglodyte” (Mr. Bob Dungan) know that he should earnestly entertain visiting Cuba, as it is a Caribbean tropical paradise — a sincere fact. Besides, ya need ta warm up those primeval, Before-the-Flood bones, as it’s gonna be a long, cold winter in yer Arboles cave.

The last time that I visited the U.S. Navy base at Guantanamo Bay was right before they started to build that lush terrorist GITMO Motel. You remember, the place that will soon be deserted because the POTUS (President of the United States) is gonna lock the gate and let some more “rag head terrorists” loose in the world.

BTW “Trog” … during yer sultry visit, could ya try and retrieve my leg shackles, water boards and buckets from the ocean view lanai cell, which overlooks Guantanamo Bay? They are easily identified, as “Mad-dog” is etched on my gear. I needs ‘em!


Jim Sawicki


Dear Editor:

Where is the compassion

I read the note in the Pagosa Sun about Jackie McGuire’s struggles with cancer and the fund set up to help offset the huge amount of medical bills they have incurred. This is what compassionate people do to help those in need. The problem is that there are so many in need and there is so little compassion to go around that many individuals slip through the cracks and lose everything they own in an effort to do everything possible to save their loved ones.

It is time to make the necessary governmental changes to keep this from happening over and over again. We talk a lot about too much about government control. We pay taxes on a lot of things that may never fully benefit us, but we could not survive without the conveniences we are afforded because of them.

This is healthcare reform for everyone and cannot be swept under the rug by lobbyist and those afraid of higher taxes. Let’s face it putting money in the offering plate every Sunday is not going to solve the problem and demonstrate sufficient compassion for those in need.

I am one of many underinsured people in this country. My insurance will cover only 80 percent of any medical costs. I realize that even with a fair amount of money in IRAs, properties, and the bank my wife and I still could not afford the cost of fighting a major illness such as Alzheimer’s.

Show some compassion and don’t let the health insurance lobbyist, others afraid of tax increases and still others with serious racism problems coerce our congressional body into failing to pass real healthcare reform.

Michael Schneider

Special place

Dear Editor:

We all know Pagosa Springs is an amazing place. Most often we talk about the mountains, the awe-inspiring views and our wonderful climate. Saturday night, Sept. 19, Habitat for Humanity held its Tool Belts and Tiaras Gala, its first ever communitywide fund-raiser of this type. When completed, it reminded us of another tremendous asset this community has, its people. With all the fund-raisers that go on during the year for so many worthwhile organizations, United Way, Rotary, Seeds of Learning, Soup for the Soul, the Humane Society and LASSO, just to mention a few, it’s a wonder there is time or money left for one more fund-raiser, especially in these economic times.

But indeed there was! We received broad support from Pagosa Springs businesses — about 100 persons turned out for both a fun evening and good fellowship, and to raise a little money for another worthwhile cause, Habitat for Humanity. It is that kind of spirit that weaves such a strong social fabric for our community, and makes this a special place. Thank you Pagosa Springs for your support!

Jim Vierbacher

Habitat for Humanity of Archuleta County

The rest of us

Dear Editor:

“What about the rest of us?” This was a good question asked by one of the only 18 attendees at the recent Roads Advisory Task Force meeting on Sept. 10.

It is unfortunate that I was not able to attend as I would have certainly been vocal regarding plans to re-pave some roads in the county.

This past summer there was some effort by the county to apply gravel County Road 335 (Lower Blanco). That 2.75 mile stretch of road improvement was greatly appreciated. However, further on down the road are some very bad spots that are muddy and very slippery every time it gets wet, either from melting snow or rain. How about spreading some more gravel on Lower Blanco before re-paving other parts of the county road system? When was the last time some of our county leaders took a drive down Lower Blanco after a rain or melting snow?

How about making our county roads at least passable with minimum gravel rather than spend money on expensive paving, never mind re-paving sections of road.

Indeed, “What about the rest of us?”

Ron Weissinger