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Valmont in perspective

The series of articles on the Valmont site are quite impressive, some of the best journalism I have read in Colorado in years. However, they do not properly consider the relative risk of the site compared to many other risks clamoring for limited public funds: street safety, fire, flood and auto exhaust, not to mention low vaccination rates, police protection and a host of others. It is now frequently discussed in the social science journals that people, particularly in groups, are not good judges of relative risks.

Could it be that all the public agency evasion is an implicit attempt at turning a blind eye to a risk that is not as serious as others clamoring for limited public funds? In which case, the evasion is providing a public service: Let’s not get too excited about a low threat. I am reminded of all the hubbub about electromagnetic radiation from power lines and GMOs. Let’s include discussion of the relative scale and probabilities of the risks from Valmont.

Good work. Congratulations to all who put it together.

Stephen Colby/Boulder

On the wrong road

Thanks for running “The Truth About Kerouac’s On the Road” (cover story, March 22). And I look forward to reading Gerald Nicosia’s One and Only: The Untold Story of On the Road, which at last presents the perspective of Lu Anne Henderson. Nicosia is an excellent critical scholar and Henderson may indeed be the “Rosebud” of the saga. However, in Lionel Rolfe’s account of Nicosia’s book, he states (about Henderson): “After Neal’s death, she went into her own terrible decline. She had already weathered Kerouac’s death, but Cassady had been her soulmate.” The trouble with that is, Cassady died on Feb. 4, 1968; Kerouac, on Oct. 21, 1969. Such a glaring mistake undermines the premise of the article’s title.

With you in Rockland, Junior Burke, The Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics, Naropa University/ Boulder Editor’s note: We agree the wording of that sentence doesn’t make sense, and we’ve asked the author for clarification.

In poor taste

As a lifetime Democrat and social liberal, I often am proud of those who share my political beliefs. However, “Another Reason Southern GOP Women Need Contraception” (ICUMI, March 15) knocked the wind out of me.

Dealing with recent polls in Alabama and Mississippi concerning President Barack Obama’s faith, the story does not provide context. Fortunately, national news organizations conducted substantive research and made it possible to interpret the polls accurately.

The headline is hateful and misogynistic, caricaturing an entire region and an entire political party. Imagine making the statement about any other group: “Another Reason Latino Women Need Contraception” or “Another Reason White Suburbanites Need Contraception.” It would be unthinkable.

The president cannot win re-election without the support of moderates and independents. Those who read Boulder Weekly expect a certain political bias, but headlines and stories such as this one undercut your credibility and justifiably inflame the opposition.

Jan Whitt/Superior

Danish’s flawed logic

(Re: “Climate change and the ingratitude of the eighth generation,” Danish Plan, March 8.) It’s tempting to think we clever apes will be able to survive and prosper on a drastically warmed planet. Paul Danish carries this to a surreal apotheosis, stating that should we succeed in slowing the runaway greenhouse effect even slightly, eventually allowing the Earth’s atmosphere to start shedding CO2 and cooling down, our descendants (who will by that time be enjoying life in a climate previously experienced only by dinosaurs) will be enraged at our actions.

By this logic, there is no reason to mitigate any catastrophe, since the survivors will adapt to conditions on the ground. But such adaptability demands gradual civilizational changes rather than frantic emergency responses. Humanity will flourish in the coming centuries only if we substitute a sustainable economy for our present consumption-based model; if we don’t start now, our descendants will be too busy struggling for survival to curse our memories.

Warren Senders/Medford, Mass.

Circumcision revisited

(Re: “Foreskin follies,” Uncensored, Feb. 16.) This is one of the most mature, insightful and intelligent pieces I have ever seen regarding circumcision.

The Colorado initiative is so misguided, I can’t even count the ways, but let me try. Medicaid was never set up to handle elective surgery, or cosmetic surgery. Circumcision is “non-theraputic,” according to the British Medical Association.

This is euphemistic. It is destructive. They are pandering to the voters, who have a fear that their “parental rights” to cut up their kids any way they please might be taken away ... or worse yet, they may have to pay for it. I didn’t hear these parents screaming when their right to circumcise their daughters was taken away by the feds in 1996, or when insurance stopped covering it in the U.S.

Tom Tobin/via Internet

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